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For the first time since 2015, the Denver Broncos will wear all blue for their Sunday Night Football matchup against the New York Giants.

The Denver Broncos have been known for their orange jerseys and white pants since they were revived in the 2012 season. There are a few times where the team will wear the blue ones.

For the Sunday Night Football matchup against the New York Giants, the Denver Broncos will trade in orange for blue. The team announced on Monday that they will wear blue jerseys and blue pants for the game.

Denver has not worn all blue since the 2015 season. They did wear blue jerseys twice last season when they welcomed the Houston Texans and New England Patriots.

The blue jerseys remind me of the late 1990 glory years. Seeing players like John Elway, Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe, and Steve Atwater wearing those glorious jerseys was a sight to behold. However, the blue was more utilized with the white pants.

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The Denver Broncos plan to continue limiting running baxk Jamaal Charles’ workload.

Running back Jamaal Charles has been a pleasant surprise for the Denver Broncos in 2017.

When Charles signed with the Broncos in May, it was unclear what type of role the three-time All-Pro would have in Denver’s offense. After all, he was coming off another significant knee injury he suffered in 2016, and it was widely believed that his body would never again hold up to the grind of playing in the NFL.

After locking up a roster spot with his play in his only preseason appearance against the Green Bay Packers, Charles has proven in four regular season games that he still has a lot of the explosiveness that made him a star for the Kansas City Chiefs.

He has accumulated 175 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries, and he has 3 receptions for 21 yards. More importantly, Charles has been a near-perfect compliment to the bruising running style of C.J. Anderson.

When asked if the Broncos plan on continuing to limit Charles’ workload, first-year coach Vance Joseph didn’t beat around the bush.

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders certainly have been involved in the Denver Broncos‘ offense this season.

The Broncos would like for them to advance a level beyond that, however.

Thomas has been targeted 30 times and Sanders 34 times in four games. No other player on the roster has more than 16 targets.

But the Broncos’ top two receivers have combined for two touchdown receptions in four games — both by Sanders.

They have received plenty of attention from opposing defenses — so much so, that even as the Broncos pound away with the league’s No. 3 rushing attack at 143 yards per game, those defenses have continued to keep extra players in coverage, essentially deciding they’d rather take their chances against the Broncos’ running backs rather than let Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemianpick away at them with Thomas and Sanders in full flight.

Or as coach Vance Joseph has put it: “When you’re facing a lot of Cover 2 or shell coverage, No. 88 [Thomas] and No. 10 [Sanders] are really taken out of the ballgame.”

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John Elway added a lot of impact coaches and players this year, but who has made the biggest difference on the team in 2017? I vote Domata Peko.

I had an interesting question posed to me on Wednesday from our SB Nation overlords and it really got me thinking. And then it got me paralyzed by indecision.

Who actually has been the best new addition to the Denver Broncos so far this season?

Here is the list of candidates we came up with:

All seven of these coaches and players have contributed in extremely positives ways to the Broncos 3-1 start, but who has made the biggest overall impact?

My vote went to Domata Peko. Nose Tackle is responsible for so much of the positive impact either side of the defensive line has. If that position is playing at a high level, the defensive line has less to worry about on both sides of that nose position.

Peko came in here looking like a washed up old guy and has instead fortified the middle of that defense and turn it into a force to be reckoned with.

According to PFF, the Broncos have four defensive linemen in the Top 31 grades in run stopping efficiency.

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Of the four games after the bye, three straight are on the road. No matter who you are, that’s a tough stretch.

The MHR Radio Podcast is now on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher. Please subscribe to the one that fits your fancy, and also rate and review what you hear.

Blink and you miss so much.

It seems like yesterday we couldn’t wait for the season to start, and now we’re four games into the season. When the Denver Broncos start 3-1, that no doubt aids in how fast the time goes.

On the latest Mile High Report Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I hit rewind and then fast-forward on the Broncos season as the team enters its bye. Adam pushed the rewind button on Wednesday when he looked at the surprises from the first quarter of the season. I’ll take a look into the future.

Before we go any farther, Denver sent out its weekly release and an interesting note was included. As it stands right now in the NFL, the earliest teams have their bye is Week Five. This is only the fifth time in franchise history they have had their bye in Week Five or earlier. As those who listen to the show know, Adam and I occasionally go off on tangents. Anywho, back on track.

As John Fox would say, the next quarter of the season is the most crucial for Denver. Unlike Fox, hopefully this team has a plan and isn’t caught off guard. Of those four games, three straight are on the road. No matter who you are, that’s a tough stretch. When you throw in the cross-country travel, that gets even tougher. Those three road games are against the Los Angeles ChargersKansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.

For the first game out of the bye, they host the as-of-now winless New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. The Broncos need Eli Manning and New York to beat the Chargers this Sunday for no reason other than you don’t want to play an 0-5 team.

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The Denver Broncos have been simply phenomenal at defending opposing rushing attacks in 2017. One of the main reason has been the play of nose tackle Domata Peko Sr.

Peko, a 12-year NFL veteran, signed with Broncos this offseason after spending 11 seasons playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. At the time, not much was made of the signing. But in retrospect, adding Peko may have been the Broncos’ best move of the offseason.

The former Michigan State Spartan has added a dimension to Denver’s defense that wasn’t there in 2016. Peko, 6-foot-3, 325 pounds, is a true space-eater, and his ability to occupy blockers has freed up linebackers Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall to make plays.

In addition to his run-stuffing ability, Denver coach Vance Joseph is a big fan of the Peko’s intangibles.

“When you have a big guy who is engaged all the time — he’s that way every day. That doesn’t change because it’s game day,” Joseph said on Monday. “He is on fire every day. That is fun to see from a guy in his 12th year. He hasn’t missed a start in seven years. He never complains. He’s here every day in a good mood. That’s key from a leadership position.”

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The offense on Sunday was eerily similar to the 2015 game in Jokeland where we couldn’t get TDs in the redzone and eventually lost 15-12. Yes, we did score a single touchdown (unlike that game), but that doesn’t change the fact that our offense was given the chance to put the game out of reach twice in the second half and they didn’t.

We started one drive at the Faider 31 (gained 3 yards on 5 plays and kicked a 46-yd FG) and another at the Faider 15 (gained 4 yards on 7 plays and missed a 29-yd FG). After two games were were near the top of the league in red zone TD efficiency (7 TDs in 9 red zone trips). After 4 games we are middle of the league at 50% TD efficiency in the red zone with 8 TDs in 16 trips.

The good news is that we are still near the top of the league in red zone trips per game (4.0 per game is 3rd behind LAR and NE who are tied for first with 4.8). We just need to do a better job of getting TDs not FGs when we get to the red zone.

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos

Stuffing the run on first down

As we have done in the first three games, so did we in the fourth. Our front seven did a masterful job of limiting yardage on first down runs. Jokeland had 22 first down plays against us and only chose to run on seven of them gaining 18 yards (2.57 ypc). Many of their first down plays came after they were down by double digits in the second half when teams generally elect to throw so don’t read too much into the passing skew. Remember how Tyrod Taylor was 10/10 passing the ball on first down last week, well that was fixed this week as we held the Faider’s two QBs to 8/14 on first down (they did get 163 passing yards throwing on first down – the 64-yd TD was on 1st down). It’s interesting to note that 163 of their 230 passing yards against us were gained on first down (71%).

For the season we have held opponents to 102 rushing yards on 40 first down carries (2.55 ypc). If you remove the first run of the year against us, Gordon’s 21-yd carry, we have allowed 81 yards on the remaining 39 first down carries (2.08 ypc). In four games we have 4 TFLs and 6 stops for no gain on first down runs. We are currently leading the league at stopping the run on first down (CLE is a close second allowing 2.58 ypc). Conversely JAX is allowing 6.24 ypc on first down runs.

In terms of stuffing the run overall, our defense is on a historic pace. The best value in the history of the NFL (post-merger) at stuffing the run is 2.69 ypc allowed. We are currently allowing 2.42 ypc. The lowest total rushing yards allowed by a team post-merger is 970 yards. Our D is on pace to allow a total of 812. Only two teams in the history of the league (post-merger) have allowed fewer than 1000 rushing yards in a season – the 2006 Vikings (985) and the 2000 Ravens (970). The 2000 Ravens won the super bowl with a flaccid offense and a smothering defense. The 2006 Vikings finished the season 6-10.

League-wide 44.3% of all runs have gained 2 or fewer yards this season (stufft run%). Our defense currently has a league leading value of 57.9% of all runs against us gaining 2 or fewer yards. It’s nice to note that the P*ts have a league worst stufft% of 33.3%.

Comparative Performance vs first down runs

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DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 01: Dexter McDonald (23) of the Oakland Raiders and T.J. Carrie (38) tackle Jamaal Charles (28) of the Denver Broncos during the second quarter on Sunday, October 1, 2017. The Denver Broncos hosted the Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker combined for 174 yards vs. the Raiders

C.J. Anderson stood on the sideline during the first quarter Sunday and watched veteran Jamaal Charles dart up the middle of the field for an electric 16-yard run.

In the second quarter, as he grabbed another breather, Anderson saw second-year back Devontae Booker give the Broncos a lift with back-to-back 5-yard runs with his first two carries of the season.

Anderson had gained only 26 yards on 10 carries in the first quarter, but even as he struggled to make headway against the Raiders’ defense, the Denver backfield flourished as the team built a 10-0 lead. Anderson may be the “bell cow,” as coach Vance Joseph has called him, but the Broncos proved Sunday their rushing attack is anything but a one-trick pony.

“I think it’s going to go the way it’s going to go,” Anderson said. “We knew we all were going to play. We knew that when Jamaal got over here that we were all going to play. We’re all going to have our time and have our moments to make plays. We all have different roles and we use our roles and our abilities within the game in the different roles.”

Anderson’s time came during the Broncos’ first drive of the third quarter. After lowering his shoulder into the Raiders’ defense with little to show for it in the first half, he started chipping away with an 8-yard burst up the middle. On the next play, Anderson broke loose, burning through a big hole on the right side for a 40-yard run that put the Broncos in position to take a 13-7 lead.

“In the beginning, (there was) a little frustration,” said Anderson, who finished with 95 yards on 20 carries. “I kept telling myself, just keep grinding and stay with it. Keep grinding, trust your boys up front and things will happen. That’s what happened today.”

Their 16-10 victory Sunday gave the Broncos their first look at the possibilities presented by a full complement of starting-caliber running backs, and the results were encouraging. Anderson, Charles and Booker, who missed all of training camp and the first three games this season as he recovered from wrist surgery, combined for 174 total yards — 143 of which came on the ground. The three players were shuffled often in the first half by offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and running backs coach Eric Studesville, each providing a different look.

Joseph lauded the tough running of Anderson, the increasingly “explosive” playmaking of Charles (47 yards on six touches) and the pass blocking of Booker, who made a key pick-up on blitzing Raiders safety Reggie Nelson when Trevor Siemian threw a first-quarter touchdown pass to tight end A.J. Derby.

“For a young guy who hadn’t played much football this year to make that block was key for us there,” Joseph said. “I’ve been very impressed with Jamaal and C.J. Obviously, having ‘Book’ back just makes us better there.”

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Three games into whatever becomes of this season, it’s already clear that if the Denver Broncos think more than one player can do a job, then more than one player will do the job.

“Absolutely, we will use as many players as we believe it takes,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “Starters, backups, everybody knows we’re going to make the decisions we believe will help us win. If that’s rotating guys as starters, we’ll absolutely do that.”

That’s been particularly true on the offensive line, where the Broncos have rotated Allen Barbre and Max Garcia at left guard. Barbre and Garcia spent much of the preseason in the competition for the starting job until Joseph decided it was, in essence, a tie and that both players could offer the offense something.

At the moment, Barbre is considered more proficient in pass protection, while Garcia has been a more consistent presence in the run game. Barbre has played 123 snaps in the Broncos’ first three games, while Garcia has played 110. And while there were times during training camp when Joseph said he’d like to play “the best five” to build line continuity, Joseph has now come to the conclusion that splitting time between the two players is better than playing just one of them all the time.

“I think we’re satisfied with that position as both guys getting reps,” Joseph said. “It’s kept both guys fresh. Going forward, it will probably stay the same.”

The Broncos don’t want opposing defenses predicting what their offense plans to do simply by observing which guard is in the game, but ultimately it’s offensive-line coach Jeff Davidson who manages the workload.

“I think we can do both with both of those guys in there, we have all the confidence they can do what we need done,” Broncos running back C.J. Anderson said. “No matter who’s in there we think we can make plays and produce.”

“We do have be aware of how we’re using people,” Joseph said. “I don’t think we’ve tipped our hand or anything. It’s about the flow of the game and how the coaches want to move them in.”

The same is true at running back, where Anderson has logged 153 plays in three games as the team’s lead back and Jamaal Charles has played 62. The Broncos have been pleased enough — they’re No. 3 in the league in rushing — that they have largely stuck to the two-man show, with Charles getting most of his work when the Broncos are in a three-wide receiver set.

Rookie De’Angelo Henderson has one carry — on a fake punt against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 — but things will get more crowded when Devontae Booker gets back in the mix after surgery in July to repair a fracture in his wrist.

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos are closing in on a decision that would make their backfield more crowded.

Running back Devontae Booker, who was poised to work with the starters when training camp opened until surgery to repair a fracture in his wrist sidelined him in the preseason, is nearing a return to the lineup. Booker has practiced, at least on a limited basis, since the start of the regular season, but has not played in any of the Broncos’ first three games.

“Booker had a great week; he’s gotten better each day,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said after Friday’s practice. “We’ll see on Sunday.”

The Broncos’ plan has always been for Booker to be among a group of running backs sharing the workload alongside C.J. AndersonJamaal Charles and rookie De’Angelo Henderson. But Booker has been a game-day inactive in each of Denver’s three games.

So if Booker is activated Sunday against the Oakland Raiders or after next week’s bye, it would mean a player who has been in uniform for the opening three weeks will not be.

“To bring Book up, it will have a chain reaction as far as special teams and halfback reps,” Joseph said.

To this point, Anderson and Charles have split most of the carries, having taken 81 of the team’s 98 rushing attempts. Quarterback Trevor Siemian has 14 carries on scrambles while Henderson, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie and fullback Andy Janovich each have one rushing attempt.

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