BRONCOS

Three observations from the Broncos loss to the Jets in Week 7

Oct 24, 2022, 6:45 AM
Broncos defense...
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos have now last four games in a row. On Sunday, they fell to the New York Jets by a score of 16-9. They failed to score a touchdown, and their top-notch defense couldn’t come up with a stop when they needed to late in the game.

It seems like the movie “Groundhog’s Day” with the 2022 Broncos. Every day seems to repeat itself, and every loss is looking the same. The Broncos are boring and bad – the worst possible combination for a team in sports.
After the game, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett seemed disgusted with the broken record the 2022 season has become.

“I’m sick of being up here saying the same thing over and over again. The opportunities are there. At some point we have to take it, there’s no excuses. We’ve been in every single game. We have to win these games. As a team, as an offense, defense, everybody. We’ve had these opportunities, we have been in these situations. It’s frustrating being up here having to say the same thing because like I said, those opportunities are there. We have to make them. It’s that simple, it’s the NFL. It’s going to be hard. Especially close games which we’ve been in, you have to come through and win those games,” Hackett said.

Here are my three biggest observations from the loss to the Jets.

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Rypien Report Card

We saw Brett Rypien get the start for the Broncos on Sunday. I know some in the fan base were super excited about Rypien getting the nod over the injured Russell Wilson, but I was not one of those people. I felt Rypien should start because Wilson is injured – likely more than he’s letting on – which ended up being the case as it was revealed he’s dealing with a partially torn hamstring. Even though I wanted Rypien to start, I know he’s not a great starting option.

Rypien is smart, and I think he’ll be a coach when his playing days are over. However, he’s got below average arm talent. Rypien will run the plays as designed, but I seriously question Hackett’s offensive design. We see it on a weekly basis; Hackett’s offense does not look good.

If I were to grade Rypien’s performance against the Jets, I would give it a “C-minus.” He is a below average backup quarterback, so it’s no surprise that he played a below average game. The Jets have a good defense, and they had no problem keeping the Broncos offense in check.

Hackett, also known as a player’s coach, seemed to take it easy on Rypien’s below average performance.

“He did good. He went in there and he stepped up. He hasn’t had a lot of practice, and I think he wasn’t fazed. He wanted to keep grinding and keep working. Obviously, the two picks are unfortunate. That’s always a very big stat in how you win and lose games. But that does happen at times, and I thought he did a good job,” Hackett said.

With a partially torn hamstring for Wilson, I think it’s best if we see Rypien next week too. The Broncos have a bye in Week 9, but before that they have a game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rypien should start that game, and hopefully the Broncos can get a much-needed win before they take a break.

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Seeing Ghosts

It doesn’t take much to rattle Jets starting quarterback Zach Wilson. Dating back to his days in college at BYU, Wilson has always been a player who does not handle pressure well. Yes, pressure makes all quarterbacks look mortal but with Wilson it’s especially bad for him.

Wilson does what scouts call “sees ghosts.” When the game goes on, Wilson will feel pressure even when it’s not there. He sees ghosts when there is early and constant pressure. The Broncos defense seemed to have the right plan, holding Wilson without a touchdown pass.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh had some good things to say about this Broncos defense and the pressure they put on his young quarterback.

“First of all, this defense is ridiculous that they’ve got. They’ve got a really, really good defense, credit to them. Obviously, Zach (Wilson) is going to want things that he can’t have back but he did a great job, he didn’t turn the ball over, he kept the ball where it needed to be and we’re still able to generate a couple of scoring drives in the second half. Was it the cleanest game? No. Was it something that sounded the alarm off? Absolutely not. Credit goes to Denver and how good they are,” Saleh said.

Not everything is going smoothly for the Broncos, but their pass rush is one of the best in the league. They were able to pressure Wilson, and hopefully the team can continue to generate pressure as their defense deals with more injuries. More on that next.

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Injuries Suck

I love Broncos outside linebacker Baron Browning. He was my No. 50 prospect in the 2021 NFL draft, and the Broncos were able to get a tremendous value when fell to the No. 105 pick. Of all the pass-rushers this year, Browning was the player I was most excited to see. I said as much on the air, and Browning has looked like a young playmaker on the field for the Broncos this year.

He was generating pressure again in Week 7, but Browning had to miss time against the Jets with a sprained hip. An MRI is going to be done Monday, and if Browning has to miss time that will be a blow to the Broncos defense.
In addition to Browning getting banged up, the Broncos lost running back Mike Boone to an ankle injury. While Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray averaged a mere 3.0 yards per carry against the Jets, Boone looked good at 5.8 yards per carry. He had the longest carry of the day (15 yards) for the Broncos, and Boone is a good receiver out of the backfield. The Broncos are going to continue using a running back by committee, and Boone is an important part of that – even though he’s the smallest part of the rotation.

Hackett didn’t have much to say about the injured players after the game.

“We had Mike Boone, he has an ankle. Baron Browning with a hip and Cam Fleming with a quad. So more guys getting banged up. We have to stay healthy,” Hackett said.

The Broncos are leaving for London on Monday. They’re going to get used to their time difference in the United Kingdom, and we’ll see how many of these injured players will be ready for the game against Jacksonville on Sunday.

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