New Orleans Saints, Know your enemy: The Denver Broncos
By Ty Anania
Brace yourselves, Who Dat Nation. Vonn Miller and the Denver Broncos are coming to town. The Saints need to come ready to play if they want to advance to 5-4.
The Saints have a shot at finally getting to that winning record this week. So first, the good news: they’re hot, and at home in NO. And now the bad news: they’re playing the defending Super Bowl champs, the Denver Broncos.
But Vegas oddsmakers, somehow, favor the Saints coming into the matchup. I don’t necessarily agree, but I see where they’re coming from. The Broncos rank near the bottom of the league in run defense, and are without star CB Aqib Talib and emerging DE Derek Wolfe. So there is some reason to hope. But they still have Vonn Miller and Demarcus Ware, and a deep secondary.
So considering the Saints may be without Terron Armstead, it’s hard to feel comfortable with the matchup. Andrus Peat and Zach Streif, who missed practice today for non-injury reasons, will need to really hold it down against Miller if the Saints want a chance at this.
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So what are they keys to this matchup? Who Dat Dish has you covered. Ty Walden and the nice folks over at the Broncos blog Predominantly Orange agreed to sit down with us and talk football. A nice Ty on Ty convo.
I asked him a few questions, and he gave us the low-down. Let’s see what he thinks.
The argument is easily made that the Broncos are one of the best teams in the NFL. What would you say are the points in their favor, and what’s holding them back?
I’m glad you asked that. Honestly, the team’s best attribute is their defense. When they are clicking, they are one of the most elite defenses in the league right now. Focusing on the defense has been John Elway’s biggest thing since the devastating Super Bowl 48 loss.
When this defense is healthy, they are a force. You have names like Von Miller, Demarcus Ware, Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib, Derek Wolfe, the names go on and on.
I believe what is holding the team back is the lack of running game. If the Broncos could execute the running game well, the play action would be more successful. But that all starts with the offensive line. If they can get better all around, this offense can go places in my opinion.
The Broncos have a lot of big name talent on their roster. Who’s a player that most Saints fans won’t be familiar with, but who could make a big impact on Sunday?
Even though he has been successful, Matt Paradis has not been a name that has been thrown around in the media. He is currently the No. 1 center in the league. A guy that has gone from practice squad to that? It is quite remarkable. The offensive line starts with him. He can be a solid part as long as he continues to do his part.
Saints media is making a lot of the Broncos struggles defending the run. Do you think the numbers are an accurate representation of their performance? Is it an area of concern?
29th in the league against the run? Yikes. It was a huge reason why the Oakland Raiders were able to do well against the Broncos defense. They ran the ball down their throats and were unable to stop them. Seeing as how the Raiders ran for over 200 yards as a team last week, that is concerning.
The Broncos are going up against the 15th ranked run offense, but I feel the Saints are more of a passing team with Drew Brees. However, if the Broncos allow the Saints to run all over them, that will open up anything Drew Brees can do. The future Hall of Famer could use the run to open up the pass.
Not having Derek Wolfe is going to really hurt the team in the run defense since he was the team’s best run stopper. Hopefully Jared Crick, Sylvester Williams, and whomever replaces Derek Wolfe can do the job. Having a healthy Brandon Marshall could help too.
With Aqib Talib out, how confident are you in the Broncos cornerbacks? Does it look like Kayvon Webster will play, and if so, how important will that be for the secondary?
The loss of Aqib Talib and Kayvon Webster really showed last week against Oakland. Bradley Roby was solid when Talib was out vs. San Diego, but fell behind the eight ball against the Raiders. I believe not having Webster played an impact not only on defense, but special teams as well.
If Kayvon Webster plays, which it looks like as of Thursday he is on track to play, then I am confident in the cornerbacks. They are going to need to be on their A game against Drew Brees.
Trevor Siemian’s accuracy numbers have declined in recent weeks, as has his QB rating. Is there a reason for concern, or is that just a product of circumstance? Do you believe he can be the long-term answer at QB?
The biggest talk this week that I have noticed is the Trevor Siemian vs. Paxton Lynch debate. In no ways am I biased towards any quarterback, I want to see both succeed. With Lynch being a rookie, it would be wise to have him sit for the year (minus the Atlanta game, when he was put into action due to injury) in order to learn the playbook. I believe he has a lot of upside.
I don’t think there is any reason to be seriously concerned. I remember the first two weeks of the season where Siemian struggled, but had a solid performance against the Bengals in Week 3. I honestly think it is a product of circumstance. I would not be hitting the panic button right now.
However, a lot believe that this could be the week Siemain needs to prove himself. But we will see.
I absolutely believe that he can be the long term answer. It remains to be seen if he does, but he has led the team to a 6-2 record as a starter. (Paxton started in one of the Broncos’ loss) but it all comes down to having the ability to execute at the position.
Do you expect the Broncos to blitz Brees, or stick with three or four men rushes? How does your defense usually operate in terms of blitzes?
With the way Wade Phillips operates his defense, I would not expect a whole lot of blitzing. He does not blitz very often because of how successful the linebackers and defensive ends are at getting to the quarterback.
There will be times where T.J. Ward will blitz, but it is not seen very often. I expect the Broncos will attack the Saints offense the same way they have with every other team. But with Drew Brees behind center, I’m curious to see if Wade Phillips will want to get to him early and often.
Next: Zach Strief having all-pro season
You made it this far, but that’s only half the conversation. So check out Predominantly Orange to see what we said about the matchup.