“This Denver Broncos team is still very much capable of winning the Super Bowl, but there are some
tough realizations that have to take place for that dream to become a reality.”
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It goes without saying that the Denver Broncos need to make some adjustments before facing the Miami Dolphins. One of the surprises of 2014, the Dolphins are off to a 6-4 start, boast one of the league’s top defenses and have a top-10 rushing offense in the league to boot. A couple of weeks ago that may have seemed like a recipe to get boat-raced by Denver’s high-powered machine of a roster, but after last weekend’s snafu in St. Louis, here’s thinking that the Broncos might want to invest a little more in the gameplan this week.
So here’s an idea for you: Start Cody Latimer. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound wide receiver has barely seen action this season for the Broncos. Presumably, he’s being groomed for next year, when Emmanuel Sanders will most likely replace Wes Welker in the slot, opening up room for Latimer’s big frame on the outside.
Sanders was injured in last weekend’s game and is questionable against the Dolphins, but if he were healthy I’d recommend this anyways. Nothing against Emmanuel’s game at all; he’d still get plenty of snaps for Denver. Nothing against Andre Caldwell either, who fills the role of occasional-deep-threat- that-opponents-often-forget-to-cover quite nicely too, and at a good price.
Nope, inserting Latimer would be a cunning move by the Broncos with an eye on one simple thing: Miiami’s corners are tiny.
The combination of Cortland Finnegan (he’s a real peach), Brent Grimes, and Jamar Taylor that the Dolphins appear to be currently utilizing has surrendered the second-least passing yards per game in the NFL. But they’re also all 5-foot-10 and under 200-pounds apiece. In my book that means they’re susceptible to larger targets, so Denver should be looking to exploit that.
Sanders, Julius Thomas and Virgil Green are all banged up to different extents and even Caldwell was on the receiving end of a brutal hit on Sunday. In other words, the stable of receiving targets that the Broncos have relied on all season long has a lot of question marks this week.
Latimer might not be the most polished receiver that Denver has at its disposal, but we all heard about how he abused first round pick Bradley Roby all training camp and preseason, so the talent is clearly there. Add to that that Roby has acquitted himself nicely as a serviceable nickel corner in his rookie year and the fact that another prominent Denver receiver (Demaryius Thomas) couldn’t run a complete route tree his first three seasons in the NFL and I’d say that Latimer will do just fine in relief against the Dolphins.
But perhaps it will give the Broncos something more.
As frustrating as it has been to watch this team squander its substantial weapons at some inexplicable times this season, I’ll go ahead and name myself as someone who has been happy to see changes on the offensive line. Happy to see the team acknowledging that their lack of a running game is a problem. Happy to see John Fox and Peyton Manning get up there on the podium and admit fault and say something has to change. Sure, I know that 90-percent of it is lip service, but if you recall, we didn’t even get much of that last year.
The point of this mini-rant is that the Broncos are acknowledging that they need to change things. They need to move guys around, give new players a shot, maybe even bring someone in from outside the organization. While that can cause extreme anxiety for Broncos Country, most of you would admit that it’s still better than sending Trindon Holliday out there for the umpteenth time when you know he’s just going to fumble again.
More to the point at hand; the insertion of Latimer as a starter this week against the Dolphins would be an acknowledgment of the coaching staff that ‘staying the course’ isn’t always the best plan of action.
Sometimes you have to use those timeouts so that Peyton Manning gets another crack at it. Sometimes depending on Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware to account for all of your pass rush isn’t the wisest thing in the world. Sometimes if the defense says we’re not going to let you throw today, throwing anyways isn’t going to give you the best chance to win. Sometimes when the opposing defense has a bunch of small guys in their secondary, you go with the 6-foot-2 rookie instead of the concussed 5-foot-11 veteran.
Chances are that we were going to see Latimer in some capacity anyways this week, why not make it official and start him on the outside?
This Denver Broncos team is still very much capable of winning the Super Bowl, but there are some tough realizations that have to take place for that dream to become a reality. One of those realizations is that the team can’t win on talent alone. The gameplan has to be dictated by the coaching staff, based on the opponent, not just an extension of what we’ve seen from the team so far.
Cody Latimer doesn’t hold the key to all that ails the Broncos. But he can make a small Miami secondary look silly. Make it happen, John Fox. What’s the worst that could happen?