ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Without change, there will be changes.
The Broncos cannot deliver a similar performance to the Jets game without consequences. The only question will be how sweeping and permanent?
Following one of the most embarrassing games over the past two seasons -- that's saying something after last year's eight-game losing streak -- the Broncos face a sobering challenge Sunday.
Compete. Show effort and pride. And, if possible, improvement.
Broncos CEO Joe Ellis expressed support Thursday.
"There was a lot of frustration that came out of last week. Hopefully we can channel that into some positive energy on Sunday," Ellis told reporters after the Broncos allowed 512 yards to the Jets. "They know the deal. They experienced this last year. They know what needs to be done to fix it -- move forward, try and improve and get better and play some good football for the remaining 11 games."
To upset the Rams, the Broncos must play great football. The Rams are who the Broncos were under Peyton Manning. They average 34.6 points per game. The Broncos have not scored 30 points since Week 2 of last season, a streak spanning 19 games, longest in the NFL.
What is the key?
Run. Don't hide. The Broncos offense remains effective when they focus on the ground attack. They rank first in yards per carry, and third in yards per game. It can be used to set up play action. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave took blame for the play-calling against the Jets that resulted in 51 pass attempts three days after he promised to use Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay more.
The Broncos insist they abandoned the run because the Jets used eight in the box, bringing down a safety to clog lanes. Per usual, Denver refused to stay stubborn and became reactionary.
I said on radio the last two days, they fell for the banana in the tailpipe. Just because a team attempts to take away your strength, it doesn't mean you rely on your weakness. It's the equivalent of a pitcher getting beat on his third pitch. So what if the hitter can mash a fastball? You have to believe he can't hit your fastball.
As such, I want the Broncos to use heavy doses of the run. And do it out of a two-back set with fullback Andy Janovich as the lead blocker. No one sets a physical tone better than Jano. Not only does it create creases for backs, it forces linebackers to make tough choices on play action. Can they afford to cheat and drop extra yards in coverage with Jano in the game? Unlikely. But if the Broncos use a one back set, they can. And have.
To win Sunday, Denver will need to score a season-high in points. It starts with running chunk of plays with two backs, using it to set up play action and play action bootlegs.
The Broncos led the Chiefs by 10 points two minutes into the fourth quarter, and couldn't finish. That game offered a blueprint for success. Dictate rather than react. Find out who you are offensively, and let that become this team's identity moving forward.
Cornerback Adam Jones (hamstring) and right tackle Jared Veldheer (right knee) were ruled out. The Broncos are hopeful they could return next week. If Veldheer is healthy and Garett Bolles struggles again, it's fair to wonder if Veldheer will take over at left tackle where he spent the bulk of his career. ... DaeSean Hamilton takes over as the punt returner.