Indianapolis Colts Week 15 Scouting Report: Broncos Defense

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 10: Outside linebacker Von Miller
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 10: Outside linebacker Von Miller /

The Denver Broncos’ defense has been historically great over the past few seasons, but they’ve taken a bit of a step back in 2017.

According to Football Outsiders, Denver had ranked in the top five in total defense over the last three years including finishing number one overall in defensive efficiency in 2015 and 2016. They inexplicably replaced Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator during the offseason, and their defensive numbers have taken a hit despite returning most of the same personnel.

The Broncos haven’t fallen too far from the ranks of the NFL’s elite as Denver is currently seventh in Football Outsiders’ defensive efficiency.

Run Defense

The Broncos ranked 21st in run defense last season, so they made it a priority to beef up the interior of the defensive line this offseason. They brought in Domata Peko and changed up their scheme a bit to improve to the league’s second-ranked rushing defense this season.

With Denver’s stout run defense, it will be tough for Frank Gore to repeat his 36-carry 130-yard rushing day he enjoyed last week.

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Pass Defense

Denver ranked number one in pass defense in 2015 and 2016, but they’ve fallen to 13th in that category this season. New head coach Vance Joseph brought more of a zone coverage scheme with him to Denver, which doesn’t fit their personnel as well.

Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, and Bradley Roby make up one of the league’s best cornerback trios, and they should be playing much more man-to-man coverage with that elite talent.

Von Miller and the rest of the Broncos’ pass rush should still make it difficult for Jacoby Brissett to move the ball through the air on Thursday night.