NEWARK, N.J. -- Von Miller learned from the Kansas City loss. His leadership matters, and resonates more with extra decibels. He admittedly was more vocal in the days leading up to and on game day against the Chiefs.
The Broncos lost. However, they played well defensively until the last two series. It drove home a point to Miller to remain an audible rudder. Several players told Denver7 this week, Miller was stressing the importance of small details this week, walking in at 7 a.m. and reminding teammates it's time to post a road win.
That seems like a modest goal until unearthing the history. The Broncos are 1-10 in their last 11 road games dating to 2016. With the Los Angeles Rams waiting next week, the Broncos must start beating teams in favorable matchups.
With that, my Denver7 keys to topping the Jets:
1) Start fast
To understand why the loss to the Ravens stung, the Broncos' 14 first-half points marked their most in a road game since Oct. 2, 2016. The reason they have won once on the road since Dec. 4, 2016? Horrible starts. The Broncos have been outscored 179-62 in the first halves of their last 11 road games. So, yeah, start fast.
2) Finish the drill
There's no denying this Broncos team boasts more talent than a year ago. The next step is learning to finish. The Broncos were in position to win at Baltimore and against Kansas City and squandered their chances. Losing to a 1-3 Jets team in similar fashion could swing the season the wrong direction and raise questions about coach Vance Joseph's future.
3) Cold Case
Case Keenum ranks as one of the league's worst pocket passers this season. He looks caught in-between, like a hitter looking for a fastball and getting a curve. In the name of Idina Menzel, Keenum has to "Let it Go." Turn it loose. He's playing not to make a mistake, and it's leading to, um, mistakes, and missed opened receivers. The Jets are without defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers because of an undisclosed health condition, and cornerback Trumaine Johnson is out with a quad injury. There's no excuse for Keenum not to play well.
4) Run for it
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave admitted it's "time to take the training wheels off" running backs Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay. The Broncos are averaging 5.9 yards per carry. The Jets allow 108.3 yards per game on the ground, and while they are better than their statistics suggest, they are vulnerable to chunk runs. Those will come if the Broncos remain committed to the ground attack and wear the Jets down.
5) Von on point
Von Miller has to play better. So says Von Miller. He has no sacks in the last two games, both losses. Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has been sacked 10 times, and has more picks (five) than touchdowns (four). No one disputes his talent. However, he's the type of young player Miller should introduce himself to multiple times, including with a strip sack.
6) Play takeaway
A familiar problem exists with the Broncos defense. They don't take the ball away anymore. They haven't had a takeaway in three straight games. They own three for the season. Only Dallas is worse with two. The Broncos had 17 last season, ranking 26th in the league. They are on pace for 12 this year. When Denver had its last winning season in 2016, they produced 27 takeaways. Getting to that number is critical, and it needs to start this week.
7) Punter adventure
The Broncos special teams are much better than a year ago. The bar was set low. Like an ant in a limbo contest. Nonetheless, the Broncos are more disciplined and athletic on coverage units, and kicker Brandon McManus is 7-for-7 on field goals. Will he remain perfect with a new holder? Colby Wadman is the new punter, and did the holding in practice all week. The Broncos can ill afford not to win the field position battle. Wadman has never punted in an NFL preseason or regular season game. They need his best from jump to begin changing the road narrative.