Gut Reactions

Immediate analysis of NFL games and news

Gut Reaction: Week 8 - Denver vs. Washington

For as much scoring as the Broncos did in the fourth quarter, this game proved one thing:

Their defense is only getting better.

The Broncos bumped, pushed, and otherwise beat the hell out of Robert Griffin on their way to a 45-21 victory. Sacks don’t tell the story, although they did get to Griffin three times.

Jack Del Rio’s strategy of shadowing Griffin with Von Miller turned out to be just the right strategy. Griffin couldn’t put his strength—running out of the pocket—on display. And when he tried, there were orange jerseys waiting for him.

Now comes the bye week. The defense not only gets better, they get healthier too. And that should scare the rest of the league.

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Gut Reaction: Week 7 - Broncos @ Colts

The Broncos weren’t who we thought they were.

Instead of passing, they ran; instead of keeping the ball, they gave it away; instead of being aggressive, they were passive-aggressive—heavy on the passive coaching, heavy on the aggressive personal fouls.

The Colts' game plan was simple and recognizable, because it’s the same game plan the Jaguars used last week: press the Broncos at the line of scrimmage, play Cover 2 behind it, and force the Broncos into short passing gains. The Broncos took the bait. How many times did we see Manning float the ball tonight in the hopes of good things just happening downfield?

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Gut Reaction: Week 6 - Broncos vs Jaguars

The Broncos delivered an easy victory, 35-19. They held their opponent scoreless in the first and fourth quarters. They allowed fewer than a hundred rushing yards yet again.

Oh, did I mention they are 6-0?

Then why does this win feel like a loss?

I guess that’s what happens when expectations are set as high as the Rocky Mountains, when your team is setting scoring records, and finally, when fans want the sun, moon, and the Super Bowl.

We should probably get used to it.

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Gut Reaction: Week 5 - Broncos @ Cowboys

Come on, now. You didn’t expect them to walk through every game, did you?

Today’s 51-48 win was just what the Broncos needed.

They were tested, but remained undefeated. Peyton Manning stayed on pace for the record books. And the Broncos remembered they’ve got to play at least a little defense to win.

What should we remember? A team scored 48 points and they still couldn't beat your Denver Broncos.

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Gut Reaction: Week 4 - Broncos vs Eagles

During the fourth quarter of the Broncos' 52-20 beatdown of the Eagles, I caught Broncos Ring of Famer Rod Smith on KOA's radio broadcast.

What Smith said was quite incredible.

When asked if the 1998 Broncos team—you know, the Super Bowl Champions—were as good as this year’s team, Smith quite simply said, “No.”

Right now, it's hard to argue with Rod. The Broncos just set a single-game franchise scoring record.

While it remains to be seen what this team will be after Week 17, they are, through four weeks, simply the best Broncos team we've ever seen.

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Gut Reaction: Week 3 - Broncos vs Raiders

The image that I enjoyed most tonight was one you probably didn’t even notice.

Adam Gase on the sidelines, looking like a football nerd, intensity washed over his face, calling plays as fast as his brain could think and his mouth could move.

On the other end, a football cyborg named Peyton Manning: half man, half machine, calculating the defense’s moves three or four steps ahead, changing the play with the mere flick of a hand.

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Gut Reaction: Some Rivers never change

Back in the first decade of this century, Philip Rivers was a very good QB. He had a weird, semi-sidearm motion which convinced some other coaches that QB mechanics don’t really matter, and soon he could it throw a mile with accuracy.

With a younger Antonio Gates, a semi-functional Vincent Jackson, some quality veterans on the offensive line, and a good defense, they were cast yearly as the AFCW favorite. In 2009, they painfully drafted Northern Illinois University’s Larry English in the first round - he just contributed four tackles last season and 24 over the last three.

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Gut Reaction:  Browns trade Trent Richardson to Colts

Happy Thursday, friends. The Twitter world was set ablaze yesterday afternoon right as I was getting ready to attend an assessment where I was evaluated for competency to teach accounting and cost accounting to college students, as a side gig.

I did well, I think, but half the time, I was thinking about how interesting the Trent Richardson trade was, and what it said about the two teams that made it.

For the Colts, it reinforced the idea that they’re all about winning now, and that they don’t value draft picks very highly. Remember, they traded their 2013 second-rounder for Vontae Davis last year too. There are a couple of risks to this approach, and the main one exists because of the (still relatively new) CBA.

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Gut Reaction: Ryan Clady goes on IR

Happy Wednesday, friends. I wanted to weigh in briefly on the Ryan Clady news, because it’s obviously of material importance to a Broncos team that’s off to a terrific start this year.

A Lisfranc injury is serious, and it’s definitely the sort of thing that would prevent a LT from performing at a high level, or really, being able to perform at all.

I know what some of you are thinking – did a championship season just go up in smoke with one injury? I’m pretty sure the answer is no. Clady is an excellent player, but he’s not as impactful as several other players on the team. If the defense can survive the loss of both Von Miller and Champ Bailey, the offense can withstand the loss of Clady.

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Gut Reaction: Week 2 - Broncos @ Giants

Anyone can hang in the first half.

It’s how you play in the second half that matters.

Under Peyton Manning, it’s become a well-known story. The Broncos come out and see what the defense wants to do. They run, they pass, they do a little dance. They even score a few points.

In the second half, they release the Kraken.

Players, coaches, even little brothers—they all drown in the wake.

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