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Published on 10/03/2008 at Fri Oct 03 12:30.
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Larry Johnson (AP Photo)
Was the rush defense exposed against Kansas City? (AP Photo)

The BroncoTalk Staff is grading the Denver Broncos through the first four games of the 2008 season. Here’s our take on the rush defense. We invite you to give your grade at the bottom of each post as well. Enjoy!

Rush Defense – Staff Grade – C

Jonathan (C-) – What? A ‘C-‘ is too high, you say? Well, the truth of the matter is: They do very good against the run on 95% of the plays… then they get burnt for +60 yards on a single broken play and it looks like they suck. We need to stop the dreaded Big Play. If we can do that we’ll be on track to have a solid B- defense. And a B- defense is plenty if our A+ offense can score 40 points per game.

Josh (B-) -   This is the one facet of our defense I’ve been pretty happy with so far.  For the most part they’ve stopped teams from turning us into swiss cheese.  Larry Johnson did have a good game against us, but other than, not too bad.  L.T. wasn’t able to do much but either was the speedy Sproles in his place.  Most of the big plays/gains by running backs have been made by dump off passes and screens.  You can hardly fault the line for that, right?  Marcus Thomas has been show flashed and gives us some real hope on the line.  He has been able to burst into the backfield and completely break down plays on occasion.  If we see more of that, we can expect a better unit as a whole.

E. Halsey Miles (B) – Rush Defense gets a B, but it’s coming at the expense of the pass defense.

Ian (C+) – Here’s an interesting note, the Broncos are undefeated this season when Dewayne Robertson plays. Prior to this, the rush defense was kind of difficult for me to grade, because the passing defense is so atrocious- I felt like teams didn’t really need to run on Denver. However, teams have ran on the Broncos 106 times this season, only 11 other teams have been rushed at more this season. Denver is giving up an average of five yards per carry and an average of 132.8 yards per game. However, if you take away two very large runs (Larry Johnson’s 65-yard run and Justin Fargas’s 42-yard run, in garbage time) Denver’s run defense is 16th in the NFL as opposed to 26th. One more interesting stat is that Denver is in a four-way tie for first in fumble recoveries. There’s no denying that Denver’s run defense was one of the main reasons that the Broncos were able beat the New Orleans Saints.

Kyle (D) – Jonathan said it perfectly. We’re solid most of the time, but giving up big plays. That’s a big problem, though, and cost us a football game against the Chiefs. Ian’s note about Dewayne Robertson was perfect as well. But being ‘F minus minus’ on two or three plays a game is completely unacceptable. D.J. Williams is playing exceptionally well, though, and that’s the reason I don’t give them a flat-out F.

Grade the Broncos rush defense through the first quarter of the season.

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  • BroncoFan18

    Nicely said…just stop the big plays. They have changed the momentum in each game the past couple of weeks, which makes a huge difference. Remember Larry Johnson’s big run at the beginning of last week’s game?

  • jeff

    2 Random Questions:
    – #1) Is Marcus Thomas any good? I have trouble telling just how good DT’s are unless they are not playing and you can tell they aren’t playing because the defense is getting gashed (i.e. Robertsons absence last week) I have high hopes for Thomas, but well I just cant tell if hes going to be any good or not.

    -#2) Would bringing in Marvin Lewis to run the defense once he gets fired in Cincinnati be a terrible idea? I have been trying to talk to myself into this as a good idea for a little while now, and I almost have. Slowik has been terrible so far and I know we need to stick with one d coordinator for more than a year but Lewis was a pretty good DC back in the day, I dunno maybe im just tired of this d taking years off my life.

    Tell me what you think

  • Mike In El Paso

    The only reason our run D look half-way decent in the few 3 games is we got big leads early forcing teams to pass. Last week against KC was more like how our run D.

  • flbronc

    C. tempted to go lower with this one after the larry johnson debacle. but i stuck with the c to give them the benefit of the doubt over a dismal run defense last year. they were decent in the first three and did a pretty good job vs bush in wk 3. so i guess three out of four games isnt that bad.

  • mikebirty

    c minus.

    Only gets the slightly better grade than the pass d because of the stands they’ve made when called upon at the end of games.

    The comments i made about the d line in the pass d post are relevant here. Starts with the d line.

    Although i wonder how easy it is to split the two types of defense. It just looks to me like even though there are lots of new players the defense is lacking confidence from last years beat down and doesn’t seem to think it can do anything. One good game changes everything – there will be more aggression, more chances taken and more production.

  • BradenM

    No this Rush defense gets an F for failure. If our opponents have more rushing yards than our rushing offense when we are usuually playing with the lead you know there is something wrong. This defense as a whole isnt average, nor below average. Its horrendos. Because of this defense we might not make the playoffs and no chance this season of making the superbowl. No where near a passing grade for this defense.