Coming out of training camp, Brandon Stokley said on Wednesday that a successful Denver Broncos season meant the team went back to the NFL postseason.
But through the first quarter of the 2017 campaign, the “Stokley & Zach” co-host readjusted his expectations.
“I have to say a successful season is getting to the Super Bowl,” Stokley said.
Stokley said what prompted the change was what Denver’s defense has done against the rush and the Broncos putting talent around quarterback Trevor Siemian.
“When you look at the rush defense and what they are doing, the big deficiency with this football team last year defensively was stopping the run,” Stokley said. “You can’t do better than what they’ve done the first four weeks.”
In 2016, Denver gave up 4.3 yards per attempt on the ground, putting them at 19th in the NFL. This season, however, the Broncos have given up a league-best 2.4 yards per attempt, besting last season’s top performance defense, the Seattle Seahawks, by a yard.
Stokley pointed to several factors of the Broncos offense that have improved from last season, including the development of a stronger run game.
“I need more playmakers around Trevor. How about a running game? They’ve shown the capability of running the football,” Stokley said.
The Broncos ranked toward the bottom of the NFL in rushing yards last season (27th with 1,484) and even lower in yards per attempt (29th with 3.6).
Comparatively, Denver’s put up 572 yards on the ground so far in 2017, fourth best in the league, at an average of 4.4 yards per carry (10th).
Stokley also touted the emergence of Bennie Fowler as a third wide receiver threat and the production in the passing game from the tight end position.
“You see Bennie Fowler step his game up. The tight end position, we’ve gotten better production from that group,” Stokley said.
Fowler and both tight ends A.J. Derby and Virgil Green have accounted for four of the Broncos seven receiving touchdowns this season and, aside from Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, are the top three performers in terms of receiving yards.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.
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