The Dallas Cowboys head to Denver this week to take on the Denver Broncos. After looking closely at the Denver defense, let’s shift our focus to the Broncos offensive approach.
The Broncos have had a revolving door at quarterback since the retirement of Peyton Manning. They have used high draft picks to acquire Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, and recently re-acquired Brock Osweiler. The Broncos have used each of these quarterbacks over the last few seasons because none of them have shown that they can be the consistent starter for an entire season. Trevor Siemian won the starting job this offseason and played well enough to lead the Broncos to a win against the Chargers. He recorded a 60% completion rate, 219 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception on Monday Night Football.
The Dallas defense has an opportunity this week to hit Siemian hard and limit his willingness to scramble as he did six times against Los Angeles.
The Broncos feature rookie left tackle Garett Boles next to veterans Max Garcia and Matt Paradis. The right side features former Cowboy, Ronald Leary, and Menelik Watson. This group was responsible for letting Siemian get sacked four times against a strong Chargers defensive line. Dallas will have Demarcus Lawrence and company bring the heat and pressure the rookie left tackle throughout the game.
The Denver Broncos have Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders as the starting wide receivers with Virgil Green at the tight end position. Equally important, they have a combo punch with CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles in the backfield. While this group is not as talented as it was a few years back with Peyton Manning, this unit still has a favorable matchup against most defenses. Look for the Cowboys to double Thomas with safety help and utilize their nickel cornerback against the speedster Sanders. Where the Broncos are expected to succeed is passes down the field as evidenced by four completions of greater than 20 yards last week.
Dallas can hurt the Broncos attack if they are able to limit Anderson and Charles in the back field, which would force their young quarterback to throw the ball. If this happens, the Cowboys proved last week that they can stop third downs effectively and keep the ball in Dak Prescott’s hands.
Vance Joseph took over the head coaching duties in Denver this offseason. He is known for his defensive wizardry as he recently coached the Texans, Bengals and Dolphins as a defensive coordinator or secondary coach. He is coming off of a Monday Night performance where his team uncharacteristically allowed 14 points in the fourth quarter. His attention to detail and emphasis on special teams paid off when Shelby Harris made the play of the game when he blocked a game-tying field goal as time expired. His relative youth and defensive mastery is akin to Jason Garrett many years ago when he was a new coach with offensive experience and creativity.
This week, the key matchup is how the Dallas secondary handles Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders without injured Orlando Scandrick. Anthony Brown showed plenty of promise last week with his late interception but the task is more challenging this week. If Demarcus Lawrence and Charles Tapper are able to apply pressure to the quarterback and limit the time he has in the pocket, look for the Dallas Cowboys to add to their winning streak.