Broncos' 3 Big Things to look for as they take on the Buccaneers

Weather will be a factor with heat, humidity
Posted at 1:26 PM, Oct 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-02 15:54:25-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Pregame warm-ups offer a reminder football is still a kid's game.

Prior to facing Tampa Bay, the following played out before my eyes: Outside linebacker Von Miller throwing sharp passes on bootlegs and kicking 35-yard field goals (not accurately); left tackle Russell Okung playing a mean air guitar to Guns N' Roses "Sweet Child O' Mine"; defensive end Jared Crick throwing 30-yard passes at the cross bar and quarterback Paxton Lynch catching one-handed touchdown passes.

All of this is done after required work. It provides a nice distraction from the looming confrontation. The Broncos are attempting to win their ninth straight game dating to last season. They went 6-2 on the road last season. Here are the inactive players: Austin Davis, Shiloh Keo, Lorenzo Doss, Connor McGovern, Donald Stephenson, Virgil Green and DeMarcus Ware.

And as a last pregame appetizer, let's take at look at Three Big Things:

1) Run the ball, run it well

Trevor Siemian delivered a performance for the ages in his first road start. He shouldn't need a replay. The Broncos should look to establish the run. Denver averages 111 yards per game. The Bucs allow 98 per game. I would expect Tampa Bay to provide different looks for Siemian, freeing up the ground attack. For Denver to improve, however, Ty Sambrailo must play better at right tackle. A fast start would help. Denver has yet to score a first-quarter touchdown.

2) Force Winston to take chances

Jameis Winston boasts special talent. But it also creates trouble. He tries to make plays that aren't there. He has 21 interceptions in 19 career starts. It starts with pressure from Miller, Shane Ray and Derek Wolfe. The Broncos' secondary thrives on making plays, turning picks into scores. This could be a game the "No Fly Zone" takes by the nape of the neck and doesn't let go.

3) Rely on depth

Sunday's MVP might be the Port-A-Cool machine on the sideline. It's toasty. Rain is possible in the first half, adding to the humidity. The Broncos trust their kids and will need them today. Tight end Virgil Green and Donald Stephenson both worked out before the game and are hopeful of playing next week. Green is likely to, but Stephenson's status remains uncertain. In their absence, Jeff Heuerman, Sambrailo and safety Justin Simmons are among the young players required to contribute.

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 FacebookTwitter and’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at


Sign up for Denver7 email alerts to stay informed about breaking news and daily headlines.

Or, keep up-to-date by following Denver7 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.