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Published on 10/31/2012 at Wed Oct 31 13:30.
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(BroncoTalk.net)

Over the past seven games, the Denver Broncos have fumbled the football 11 times (5th-most in the NFL), losing 10 of those fumbles (2nd-most). Although the offense has been on fire in recent weeks, its Achilles’ heel has been ball security.

From quarterback, to receivers, to running backs, all of Denver’s main skill players have been plagued by the fumble bug this season. Fourth-year receiver Demaryius Thomas and veteran running back Willis McGahee have been the chief offenders, with three lost fumbles apiece.

In Week 6, Thomas vowed to correct his ball security (and boy, was it necessary) and started carrying around a football close to his body. Thomas has lived up to his pledge, at least temporarily, and he’s been fumble-free since Week 5 of the season.

The same cannot be said of McGahee, who has fumbled twice in Denver’s past three games, including a lost fumble during Denver’s 34-14 rout of New Orleans on Sunday.  Coach John Fox touched on McGahee — and the team’s — fumbling ways during Monday’s press conference.

“We’ll try to do whatever it takes,” said Fox.  ”They’ll buy in.  They’re prideful guys, too.  It’s not something they’re doing on purpose either.”

Realizing that the players are human beings that make mistakes, Fox refrained from criticizing his players but emphasized that ball security will be a hot topic moving forward.

“Anytime you turn a ball over, it concerns us.  We’ve had our share.  Every phase has contributed.  That’s something, ideally, you’d like to never turn it over but the reality is the other team gets paid and practices, too.  We’ll continue to work on those things and emphasize that.”

McGahee and his teammates will get a chance to redeem themselves this week in Cincinnati when the Broncos take on the Bengals on CBS.  Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. (MT).

Turnovers can cripple even the best of teams.  If the Broncos are going to win the AFC West and make a run deep in the postseason, eliminating frequent fumbles will be key.

  • stuckinraiderland

    I think the fumbling issue is so strange– I never played football so I obviously don’t have any experience to base it on, but I guess I just don’t understand how it’s about much more than dumb luck. I know some players seem more prone to it than others, so theoretically that suggests it isn’t just a random bit of fate. But a lot of these fumbles– most of them, really– look like something nobody could do anything about. Obviously some of them, rarely, are just drops. But for the most part it just looks (from the couch) like a player carrying the ball the same way every other guy carries it, and then someone gets a clean, hard punch on the ball, whether it’s with a hand, knee, helmet, etc. Ball pops out, but nobody could have gripped the ball hard enough to hold it in that scenario.
    This isn’t intended as a comment as much as a question for those of you out there who might actually know: apart from the mantra that it’s the ball carrier’s responsibility to hang on to it, are most of these fumbles REALLY something attributable to the ball carrier? Or is there an awful lot of luck, as I suspect? Please disabuse me of my ignorance.

  • Paradisimo

    I think that technique is extremely important when it comes to securing the ball. Coaches want to make sure that the players have a 3-point hold on the ball (fingers over the tip, side of the ball against the body, back tip buried in the arm). When a ball is properly secured it takes a great deal of force to knock it out. When one of these points of contact is missing then it takes a fraction of that force to knock it out. This is why backs that carry the ball away from their body while trying to make moves (i.e. – Adrian Peterson) have issues with fumbling. That being said AP has made a concerted effort over the last 3 years to secure the ball more properly. As a result his fumbles have gone down from 20 in his first 3 years to just 4 in his last 2.5 years. I think this is proof that fumbling is far more than luck. Granted there are times when it can be attributed to luck but if a player is securing the ball properly and covering it up with both hands when they encounter contact then the chances of fumbling go down dramatically.

  • Bryan

    When Willis carries the ball, the defense knows he has a habit of putting the rock in the dirt, they in turn go for the strip. Practically every Saint this past week tried stripping WM of the ball, and it worked once. He fumbled once vs the Pats due to a strip. One of DT’s fumbles (against Oakland) was a fluke. Flat out dropped it while trying to change hands. The one vs the Patriots was stripped. Holliday had a muffed punt, Bolden fumbled a kick off. And those are the ones I can recall off the top of my head. 5 of those 6 were because of crappy ball protection. That’s definitely something that can be fixed by not toting it around like a loaf of bread.

  • Bryan

    What I find most shocking is that some team has actually LOST more fumbles than us! I for sure thought we were top of the class in that category!.

  • http://twitter.com/TimLynch1978 Tim Lynch

    I believe that other team is 1-6 though. :)

  • stuckinraiderland

    Thanks guys– that makes sense. It’s one of those things that even a lifelong fan can’t understand if you haven’t played at least at some level, I suspect. I have no idea how much forece it might take, etc., and you just can’t gauge that by watching on TV.

  • stuckinraiderland

    Interesting, I didn’t think about that aspect of it– once a guy gets a rep as a fumbler defenders are more likely to be aggressive in going for the strip, so it’s a bit of a feedback loop. The more you fumble, the more teams pay attention to trying to force you to fumble.

  • Jim_Jebow

    my suggestion is to get some of those them there sticky towels that the Chargers use.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonmark93 Jon Broncos Heath

    Zing!

  • BroncosWin

    lol

  • BroncosWin

    we happen to have the worst fumble recovery percentage though… which is even a bigger deal if you ask me

  • BroncosWin

    itza fuuuuuuuuummmmmmbllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • Bryan

    Oh yeah..I forgot about the irrelevance that are the KC Chiefs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonmark93 Jon Broncos Heath

    BroncosWin, you will be blocked if you don’t cut out the uncalled for wise cracks. Be respectful, live and let live.

    Namely, grow up.