MILE HIGH MONDAY

It’s time the Broncos made a change at the running back position

Dec 18, 2023, 6:21 AM

The Denver Broncos ruined my Saturday night. Not only did they lose to the Detroit Lions, but they got trounced by the score 42-17. It was the second worst beatdown of the 2023 season, and many questions remain for this team.

I like when the Broncos win, and I do not like when they lose. It’s made even worse when it looks like they don’t even has a chance to win (as they did against the Lions).

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

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

***

Out of Your Control

With the loss, the Broncos are still “in the hunt” when it comes to a playoff berth, but most importantly, they now do not control their destiny. With a 7-7 record, the Broncos will need to win their next three games and get to 10 wins. Even then, their playoff hopes will require some help along the way.

Right now, the Broncos are behind teams in the hunt like the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7), Buffalo Bills (8-6), and the Indianapolis Colts (8-6). The Broncos are going to have to win out and hope that the Steelers, Bills, or Colts lose a game or two. These are just the “bubble” teams because if the playoffs began today, the Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) and Houston Texans (8-6) would be the sixth and seventh seeds, respectively. It’s easy to see how the Broncos could win 10 games and miss the postseason.

Not only do they have to concern themselves with the teams ahead of them, they have a division rival on their heels. The Las Vegas Raiders have a 6-8 record, but they are coming off a big win in Week 15 on Thursday night. Like the Broncos, the Raiders need to win out and have some work done for them by other teams. These teams face each other in Week 18 in the season finale, and there might be playoff implications in that game – if other teams ahead of them lose some contests.

The season is not over! I’ve said on air that this team could surprise if they get to the postseason. I don’t think they’re going to the Super Bowl (they might not even make the playoffs), but only teams like the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC could give them trouble. I have hope they’ll make the playoffs, but after the way this season started (1-5), they have no room for error.

***

Getting Pushed Around

The Broncos were pushed around by the Lions on Saturday night. One of the main reasons the Broncos lost is the fact they could not get off the field defensively. The Lions had their way with the Broncos’ defense, and they used a balanced attack to move the ball regularly against Vance Joseph’s group.

The Lions have a backfield with David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs. Montgomery has power to his game, and he’s got an instinctive style where he wastes little motion as a runner. Gibbs is a lightning bolt with a pair of cleats, and he can hurt a defense as both a runner and receiver out of the backfield. It seemed like Montgomery would get the carry behind the line of scrimmage, and he’d make it to the second level before getting any sort of contact from the Broncos front seven. Gibbs would get the ball, and he would flash to top speed in a hurry – leaving Broncos’ defenders looking silly in his wake.

These talented backs were able to gash Denver’s defense because their offensive line was healthy. This was only the fifth game of the year where the Lions had all five regular starters on the line. The Broncos did not make many plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage, and they had trouble keeping up with all the speedy weapons the Lions offense had at their disposal.

The Broncos rush defense is a problem. To win in December, and into the postseason, teams must run the ball and stop the run. The Broncos didn’t do either one of those in the game on Saturday night.

***

Perine Should Start

They need to make a change at the running back position. Javonte Williams just doesn’t look like himself. He’s averaging 3.5 yards per carry this year, and that’s almost a full yard less than he did as a rookie in 2021. Against the Lions, Williams could barely get anything going as a runner and averaged 2.3 yards per carry. Even as a receiver, Williams was stumbling and failing to do much with opportunities – in a desperate situation where the team was trying to play “catch up” football.

Samaje Perine is the best option for the Broncos right now. Against the Lions, Perine averaged a healthy 6.2 yards per carry. He led the team with 37 yards on the ground, but he only got half (six) of the carries that Williams got (12) in Week 15. Football is a results-based business, and Williams is not getting results. It’s time to switch to Perine as the lead back, while Williams can provide valuable depth as a reserve runner.

Everyone should give Williams credit for battling back from a major injury. We shouldn’t be surprised that he doesn’t look like himself just about 14 months removed from his 2022 surgery on his multi-ligament knee injury. However, with the playoffs on the line the team does not need to keep feeding Williams when it’s clearly not working.

Perine can help get this team back on track. Williams can still get work but reverse the roles that he and Perine currently have. Add in some more work in space for rookie Jaleel McLaughlin, and I believe these three running backs can help Denver get back in the “W” column.

***

Arkham in the DCU

James Gunn is bringing Arkham Asylum to the DCU. Gunn has taken over the DC universe on the cinematic side, and he’s prepared to work as DC’s version of Marvel’s Kevin Feige. While Feige has enjoyed great success with the Infinity Saga in the MCU, DC movies have failed to establish a cinematic universe.

DC’s best movies have all been out of universe films like “The Joker” or “The Batman.” These are great movies, but they are not connected to the DCU that Gunn is currently putting together. We are going to see a sequel to Joker and Batman in the near future, and those should be interesting films – but they are not connected to upcoming films like “Superman: Legacy” by Gunn. Matt Reeves has done a great job with “The Batman” but Gunn recently revealed that he would be bringing Arkham to the DCU.

Arkham Asylum is where Batman puts the criminals of Gotham that he catches. It’s a haunting and chilling place where the worst criminals stay in between plots to take down Batman. Using Arkham to introduce Batman and his rogue’s gallery is a perfect idea. There is a ton of mythology around Batman, and using Arkham as a springboard should help generate more interest and give Reeves time to properly introduce these complex and tortured characters.

How excited are you about more Batman, and Arkham in the DCU? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

Mile High Monday

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