Denver Broncos’ fans are eager for revenge against the team that gave them a serious beat down in Super Bowl 48. The Seattle Seahawks manhandled the Broncos and since I paid big money to watch it live, it still makes me sick to think about that game. All the trash talking by the Seahawk’s players since has me desperate to watch the Broncos destroy them, but this is preseason.
There may be some desire by coaches and players to seek revenge and strategize a game plan as if it were a regular season game or keep their first team in longer than usual. However, these guys are professionals and I don’t see that happening. Plus they get to play the Seahawks again in a few short weeks. A victory would be great, but it is more important for the Broncos to set the tone for the season by delivering on these four important details.
The Broncos first and second units on offense and defense must show mental and physical toughness. Both were absent in the Super Bowl. The defense must hit hard and often. No cheap shots like the Seahawks were throwing in last year’s preseason game (the hit that could have ended Derek Wolfe’s career comes to mind), just lay the wood on anything that moves. It doesn’t matter if they are in for only one series; they need to show Seattle and the other teams in the league that playing against this new defense is going to be all out war.
The Broncos offense needs to play some smash mouth. This offense typically plays a more finesse brand of football, but when the offense needs to line up and punch somebody in the mouth, they have to show the fortitude to do it. The fans need to see some of that on Thursday Broncos. Up until now the mean streak that John Elway wants on this team, especially on defense, has been all talk. Now it is time to walk the walk.
Solid offensive line play
The Broncos starting offensive line has to be solid. The Super Bowl showed how important it is to give Peyton Manning time in the pocket. The first team o-line needs to give nothing. No sacks, no pressures, no hurries. That is asking a lot for the first preseason game, but the offensive line has the most to prove. A mean streak must be present. They need to violently open holes for the running game against a tough defense. The line will be a key cog as the Broncos undertake the long fight back to the Super Bowl.
Rugged running from all the running backs
It is like beating a dead horse, but in last year’s Super Bowl the Broncos running game stunk. 27 yards rushing. 27 measly yards! Every running back from the starter to the last guy on the field must play physical and get the tough yards. If the offense needs three yards the backs have to power through for those three yards. If the Seahawks stack the line, prove that it doesn’t matter and get those yards anyway.
Seattle plays to shut down the short passing game and yards after catch. Their corners are usually up at the line playing press and jamming the receivers. The strong safety plays close to hit anything moving short across the field. That leaves them vulnerable deep. If Manning had the time to throw deep in the Super Bowl the Seahawks would’ve given the receivers more room underneath out of respect for the long pass. As we all know, that did not happen.
Manning has to prove that he can chuck the ball deep and do it more than once early in the game on Thursday. The receivers need to show they can beat press man coverage. Announce to the rest of the league while playing the champs that if you are going to crowd the line prepare to get burned deep for quick scores. Please Broncos, show a killer instinct.
The Broncos have a lot to prove and this is the game to show the fans, the league, and the Seahawks that 2013’s softness is nowhere to be found.