Broncos focus on stopping run, protecting quarterback to improve to 3-0

Posted at 12:42 PM, Sep 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-22 14:54:52-04

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Protect the quarterback. Score points. Stop the run. Win the game.

Welcome to the Broncos' blueprint for success at Buffalo on Sunday. The Broncos took a Friday afternoon charter to New York as coach Vance Joseph looks to become only the fourth Broncos coach to begin his career 3-0.

Remaining undefeated starts upfront. The Broncos are favored against the Bills, but boast a legitimate concern. It remains questionable whether rookie left tackle Garett Bolles will play -- replacements include Donald Stephenson and Allen Barbre -- and right tackle Menelik Watson has struggled in pass protection. Let's not get carried away. The Bills don't feature the Magnificent Seven upfront, but they are stout. They have produced seven sacks in two games and will get after quarterback Trevor Siemian.

"I am not interested in talking about it," said Watson, who could get help from a tight end this week to slow the rush. "Respect is earned on Sunday."

The Broncos figure to face a few new wrinkles. Given their early success running the ball, it will not come as a surprise if the Bills load eight men in the box. It makes the Broncos' commitment to the ground game important -- 3-yard gains become 6-yard burts in the second half -- and also should open up more play action routes. 

Nothing siphons the air out of a rowdy crowd's balloon than a stagnant offense. The Bills will look to establish the ground game with Shady McCoy. He's slippery, and can turn the field on its head with one cut. However, he can be halted behind the line of scrimmage.

"We need to stop the run, that's among the keys we have talked about all week," safety Darian Stewart told Denver7.

Added linebacker Todd Davis, "We are playing downhill. I love it. I let my hair down and go tackle. It also helps the guys upfront get more one-on-one matchups."

It doesn't hurt that the Broncos know Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and his zone blocking scheme. They saw it everyday in practice for two seasons.

"It helps," Davis said. "You have to be careful not to overpursue."


Garett Bolles went through the walk through on Friday, leaving open the possibility he could play Sunday. He told Denver7, he "felt good." However, he did not practice on Wednesday when the team installed the running game plan, so he could still sit to allow more time to rest. Stephenson and Barbre both have experience at left tackle. And Barbre is considered a strong run blocker. ... Receiver Bennie Fowler worked out on the field the last two days after practice. He is in the concussion protocol, but appears likely to be available on Sunday. .... Running back Devontae Booker's wrist held up to extended work. He is healthy and admitted his status will be a game-time decision. ... Defensive lineman Ahytba Rubin is in line to make his Broncos debut this week after a week of practice.  



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Want Broncos news? Denver7 Broncos insider Troy E. Renck is your source. He talks to the players, covers the games and reports scoops on Denver7 and the Denver7 app. He is a CU grad who has covered pro sports in Colorado since 1996, including 14 years at The Denver Post. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at