MILE HIGH MONDAY

Mile High Monday: The Denver Broncos turn their season around, for now

Oct 30, 2022, 9:40 PM
K'Waun Williams...
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos showed some signs of life on Sunday. In Week 8 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Broncos came out on top by a score of 21-17. It’s been over a month since the Broncos won, so it felt good for them to get in the “W” column.

I like when the Broncos get a win. This victory doesn’t solve everything or mean their season is completely turning around, but it is a small step in the right direction.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Best Recipe For Success

Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett needs to keep things simple on offense. Often times, Hackett likes to get too cute with the ball and the offense struggles because of it. Hackett tries to show off his offense, but instead it just shows how he doesn’t know how to call a game. The system is good – it’s a Shanahan-type system after all – but it all starts with running the ball. That’s something Hackett hasn’t fully committed to yet, although we did get a more balanced approach on Sunday.

Against the Jaguars, the Broncos had 30 passing attempts and 28 rushing attempts. The Broncos have been in close games all season long, but rarely do they try to run as much as they did in this victory performance in Week 8. That’s not a coincidence – it’s the right plan for the team to follow if Hackett can adjust. Running the ball sets up play-action passing, and it keeps an opponent on their toes.

When you run the ball, it uses up the time of possession and it sets up the defense to play better. There is no doubt the defense is the best part of the team, but at times they will get gassed because the offense isn’t spending enough time on the field. If the Broncos had a better commitment to running the ball, they would give the defense the breather they need. A rested defense like the Broncos can be a dangerous defense, and that can lead to more wins.

Coming out of the bye, I trust the Broncos will continue this balanced approach. The defense should keep them in most games they play, and that means they never have to go away from the run unless it’s by choice. Instead, the choice should be simple – become a balanced team and maybe even lean run heavy coming out of the bye.

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Feeling Like Kylo Ren

It’s fun watching Broncos rookie tight end Greg Dulcich. Not only does he have great hair, but Dulcich has the type of game that could make him one of the best in the league at his position. He’s spent much of the offseason banged up with a hamstring injury, but over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen the Broncos utilize him on the field. In fact, I think we could even see more from Dulcich so long as he can stay healthy.

Simply put, Dulcich is a receiving weapon who creates mismatches no matter who he lines up against on game day. He’s too big for safeties to cover, and he’s too fast for linebackers to cover in the open field. Dulcich is built like a modern tight end, and he can be used as such. No longer are tight ends just extra blockers, but they are super-sized receivers who can attack defenses. Against the Jaguars, Dulcich led the team in receiving with four catches for 87 yards – most of that coming on a 38-yard catch and run.

He needs to get better as a blocker to be used more often. Right now, Dulcich is rough as a blocker. He’s what scouts call an “effort” blocker. It means he will try, and he will attempt to get in the way, but his technique is not as sound as it could be. Dulcich is great as a receiving threat, but to truly be a danger like Travis Kelce or George Kittle, he needs to have a well-rounded game.

As the passing game continues to grow, I believe Dulcich can continue getting worked into the game plan more and more. He’s a great asset for the Broncos on offense, and I look forward to having more fun watching him as his pro career develops.

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Time to Get Greedy

I love the heart you see from Broncos wide receiver K.J. Hamler. A second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Hamler missed most of last season due to a major knee/hip injury that required multiple surgeries to repair. He’s been on the road to recovery since the middle of last season, and now Hamler is getting worked into the offense a little more each week.

As his snap count increases, I’d like to see more targets for Hamler. The play of the game against the Jaguars was when Russell Wilson took a deep shot to Hamler that connected for 47 yards. One play flipped the field for the Broncos, and that’s the kind of play this lackluster offense needs to showcase at the right time.

It’s time for the Broncos to get greedy when it comes to Hamler. He does it all, and he has a ton of heart that is displayed every time he’s on the field. Hamler is not a big receiver, but he will dig you out as a blocker. He’s a feisty player who understands that in order to get on the field he must be more than just a speed guy. When the ball doesn’t go to him, Hamler doesn’t pout but instead still runs routes at full speed. He’s so fast, that you still see Wilson underthrow him at times. The timing is a little off right now, but imagine what things will look like when Wilson and Hamler are more on the same page!

If you run the ball, that sets up the deep shots to Hamler. If he’s healthy, Hamler can take the top off the defense and at least be a decoy. However, with his effort on targets and as a blocker, I think the Broncos should reward him by making him a bigger part of the passing game.

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Halloween Memories

I love Halloween. It’s not my favorite holiday, that’s Christmas, but the day is up there when it comes to the calendar year. Over the years, I’ve had some great times on Halloween. So, as I reflect on the day once again this season, I decided to share some of those with you here today in this article.

As a kid, I always dressed like a cowboy – because I am. I didn’t have a pair of tennis shoes until seventh grade basketball, which means I didn’t know how to tie my shoes until I was an adolescent because I wore boots all the time. When I was little, dressing up like the Lone Ranger or Zorro was not reserved exclusively for Halloween. I did try to change it up one year and my mom made me a Warlord costume. He is an obscure DC comics character even back then, and nobody knew who I was, so I had to explain that to everyone.

Years later, I made the same mistake by dressing up like Aaron Kaufman from the TV show “Fast and Loud.” While I looked cool with a fake beard and a Gas Monkey Garage shirt, most people had no clue what I was going for. As you’re partying and having fun on Halloween, it’s not fun to keep saying, “It’s from a show on the Discovery Channel!” It reminds me of the time I went to a Halloween party at my sister Marletta’s house and dressed as The Crow – when a lot of people thought I was going for the wrestler Sting. It makes me laugh looking back on old Halloween pictures.

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Follow Cecil Lammey on Twitter and Instagram: @cecillammey

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