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Broncos live in a world of suck. Getting a lead could change their fortunes

Broncos chasing first win because never have leads
Posted at 3:10 PM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 17:22:09-04

ENGLEWOOD — The NFL standings are like yoga pants. They are revealing, and often times, uncomfortable. The Broncos are 0-3. There's no hiding from their reality. The players insist they will embrace this challenge -- and they should given that the AFC has 10 teams with either zero or one win -- as the Broncos attempt to snap a seven-game losing streak dating to last season.

Receiver Emmanuel Sanders described the feeling after last Sunday's loss as "living in a world of suck." His remarks took on a life of their own. He told me he had no regrets, explaining it's based in military training. The Broncos can rebound, he believes. And it would help if they had a lead. They haven't scored a touchdown in the first quarter this season, have led once -- 3-0 against the Bears -- and been outscored in the first half 37-13.

"We are living in a world of suck. I am not going to sit up here and lie to you guys, and say, 'Oh yeah, we are 0-3 and I am having the time of my life!' I am a competitor. At the same, I am very honest. We have to embrace the world of suck. You are never going to see me give up," Sanders said, before adding, "If we had a 10-point lead everybody is a little more relaxed. When you are playing from behind, you don't want to say it, but you do you play a little tight because every play can determine the outcome of the game."

The Broncos feature many defensive concerns. Paramount among them is becoming the first team since 1982 to record no sacks or takeaways in the first three games. There's no excuse for the lacking production, Von Miller admits. However, the Broncos continue to fall into the same trap. They fall behind, rarely threaten, leaving opposing offenses to tilt conservatively. Opponents have run 80 times against the Broncos, 11th most, and attempted 82 passes against them, tied for fewest in the league.

"Anytime you're playing from behind, offenses are not going to give you a chance to get after it. We have to get out to a lead. We have to have someone chase us instead of us doing the chasing," Broncos general manager John Elway said during his weekly spot on 850 KOA. "We're not going to climb out of this in one play, one practice or one game. We've dug ourselves into a little bit of a hole. ... We just have to continue to take it one step at a time."

The advantage of front running? It could spawn unpredictability on offense.

"If it turns out us, getting a fast start, getting that lead, having that confidence, not only for us, but for coach Rich (Scangarello)," receiver Courtland Sutton said. "Not feeling like our backs are up against the wall the whole game would be a good thing to have, and could open up the playbook."

Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris Jr. believes the defensive calls have been fine, citing a lack of execution, if not playmakers. He believes the Broncos are inching closer. "(Coach Vic Fangio) is aggressive. He's calling all out blitzes. He's calling man coverage. I don't know what else he can call. He's putting us in every defense possible to make plays. You have to have players -- it's the NFL. You can have great coaches, but it's a players league." ... Defensive end Derek Wolfe showed a picture of his swollen right ankle on social media. It appears it is a high ankle sprain, which is likely to keep him out at least one week, if not more. ... Harris Jr. on if he's keeping an eye on the Oct. 29 trade deadline: "Nah, I am not worried about any of that. Why would you want to trade me? I am shutting down the number one receiver every game."