The Loss to the St. Louis Rams Forced John Elway to Act


Oct 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos general manager John Elway during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes a loss turns into a good thing and that appears to be happening for the Denver Broncos. The unquestioned low point of the season was a 22-7 loss to the St. Louis Rams. In that game, the Broncos only ran the ball only nine times and their defense allowed the Rams to move up and down the field.

As rough as that day was for the Broncos and their fans, it may have been the best thing that could have happened to them. Why? The magnitude of that loss prompted John Elway to act and the Broncos have been a different team ever since.

In an interview with 104.3, former Colorado Buffalo and long-time NFL linebacker Chad Brown went into great detail about what he heard from Elway during a luncheon.

The first thing Brown talks about is how Elway talked with quarterback, Peyton Manning about how it would be better for Manning and the Broncos if they spread the wealth on offense. In other words, Elway was telling Manning that we need to run the football and be more balanced.

Brown also shared that Elway had a conversation with offensive coordinator, Adam Gase. The basics of that conversation involved Gase asking Elway questions about the running game, and balance. Elway told Gase don’t run the ball to make a point, run it when that’s what the defense dictates. Since the conversation, the Broncos have been a balanced football team and a tougher football team.

Brown also stated that it was Elway who was behind the changes on the offensive line. Elway’s primary contribution was to get center Will Montgomey into the lineup. While the offensive line is still far from perfect, they have been greatly improved since those changes.

A question was then asked of Elway about the emergence of running back, CJ Anderson. For those of you worried that the Broncos will go back to Montee Ball or Ronnie Hillman once they are healthy, you can relax. Elway told the room that those two backs have been “Wally Pipped.”

For those of you who don’t understand the reference, Wally Pipp was the shortstop who missed one game due to injury and never got his job back because of some guy named Lou Gehrig. Gehrig went never came out and set the record for consecutive number of games played before it was broken in 1994 by Cal Ripken Jr.

In short, Anderson is the starting running back for the remainder of the 2014 season.

Lastly Elway made a comment that was obviously directed at defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio. He said that the Broncos cornerbacks are good enough to cover one-on-one allowing Del Rio to blitz more. If the win over the Kansas City Chiefs is any indication, that message was received loud and clear. The Broncos were aggressive on defense and it’s no accident that they also played their best game of the season.

It’s rather obvious based on everything above that Elway was fuming after that loss to the Rams and felt the need to step in. He understands, better than anyone at Dove Valley, what it takes to win championships with an aging quarterback. He also understands that he built this defense to play with an aggressive approach, and he wasn’t seeing it on the field.

The performance versus the Rams was just awful enough to make Elway take some action and that action just may have saved the Broncos season.