Broncos believe road work will pay off this season

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The statistics widen eyes. 

As much as any time in the last 15 years, the NFL has become a passing league. Quarterbacks own 11 400 yard games through the first quarter of the season. Scoring is up. Ratings are up. Star slingers are upright.

Then there's the Broncos. They are a dial-up connection in this wireless world. Their offensive identity through four weeks remains a physical running game. They have found common ground with rookies Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The pair has combined for 486 rushing yards and four touchdowns. 

When listing reasons why this team should be better on the road, it starts with a gas-guzzling ground attack. 

"It all goes back to our offensive line doing a great job, moving people," Lindsay told Denver7. "We have to be ready to be physical and bang."

The Broncos are running because they can -- and must. The passing game continues to struggle through clumsy moments. Case Keenum has thrown 20-plus passes in three straight games without a touchdown. The last Broncos quarterback to do that was John Elway in 1986. His six interceptions rank tied for second most. 

So it's no wonder the run game remains paramount. Denver ranks top three in yards per game (148.3), yards per carry (5.59) and touchdowns (six). 

"We are built to win on the road, because we can run the ball and that's huge. We can stop the run and we can rush the passer," coach Vance Joseph said. "Rushing the passer is huge on the road. It's just a matter of when we get in tight games being detailed in our assignments."

Or as cornerback Chris Harris Jr. put it, "We are just a better team than last year, and it should pay off."

That sounds good. But validation is required in the standings, not press conferences. Denver has won only one road game in its last nine attempts. The Broncos have been outscored in their losses by an average of 13 points. That is a truth they can't run from, unless, of course, they run like hell this week against the Jets (They allow 108.3 yards per game).

"I think they're both fast, their both powerful inside and outside runners," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "Both are great receivers as well."

Footnotes

Punter Marquette King, whose job security has come into question because of lacking performance, missed practice with a thigh injury. Others out were Adam Gotsis (knee), Jared Veldheer (knee and appears unlikely to play at this point) and Todd Davis (shoulder). ... Cornerback Adam Jones was excused for personal reasons. .... Harris Jr. said he suffered a full body cramp during the Chiefs game. He received two IVs, and finished with his feet cramping. "That's the worst I have ever felt," Harris said. ... Joseph said he helped with the defensive play-calling last week, insisting it's no different than a year ago. However, he never revealed last season that he was involved with the gameday play-calling. 


Enjoy this content? Follow Denver7 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and download the Denver7 app on iOS and Android devices for continual access to breaking news, weather and sports. 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 TheDenverChannel.com’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at Troy.Renck@kmgh.com.

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