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Broncos Player Grades For Week 7 at Browns

The Broncos put on a sloppy showing in their loss to the Browns. Were there any bright spots?

Calling this a poor performance from the Denver Broncos is a vast understatement. First, the Broncos' offense continues to be a slow starter with an emergence late in the game when the surge comes a day late and a dollar short.

The defense is struggling, giving up big plays, and displaying a frustrating inability to get off the field. The Broncos had a chance to defeat the Cleveland Browns in the fourth quarter, but their defense could not get off the field. With just over five minutes left on the clock, Cleveland protected its three-point lead by running D'Ernest Johnson down Denver's throat. 

The Broncos let the Browns literally run all over them. What was once a stampeding Broncos defense is now getting stomped on by opponents. 

There were a few bright spots for Denver, but not many, and these grades reflect the poor play on both sides of the ball, especially on defense. 

Before I get to the individual player grades, here are a few quick notes about how grading works. Each player starts with an average grade of 50.0 and with each positive play, his grade goes up. With each bad play, it drops.

Just how much a player's grade fluctuates depends on his overall impact on the snap. After all, missing a block away from the play isn’t as costly as the lead blocker completely whiffing and letting the run get stopped for a loss.

Be sure to check out the video above for Denver's MVP of Week 7 (he was eye-opening). 

The Positive

Von Miller | OLB | Grade: 81.2

Before getting hurt, Miller was one of two players on defense playing like they were leaving everything on the field. Miller did an excellent job to get pressure and was strong as a run defender, as the Browns hardly ran at him. However, it's clear he needs more consistent help in getting after the quarterback besides Dre'Mont Jones. 

Courtland Sutton | WR | Grade: 80.9

Sutton still isn't 100% as he's worked his way back from that torn ACL last year, but he is showing improvements each game. He has been a steady piece in the Broncos' passing attack and the top receiver on the team. In the loss to the Browns, Sutton showed a lot of fight after his heart was questioned over the previous few games. 

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The Negative

Justin Strnad | LB | Grade: 17.0

With Denver being down to its No. 3 and No. 6 off-ball linebacker, there was a lot of pressure on them both. Unfortunately, Strnad had an abysmal performance where he was lost in coverage and often way out of position. His run defense wasn't any better as he was hitting the wrong holes, and when blockers got ahold of him, he was done for. He also missed multiple tackles. 

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Curtis Robinson | LB | Grade: 19.7

The undrafted rookie got a lot of attention in his first significant action and not for a good reason. Robinson was terrible from the start with him missing tackles, constantly out of position, and plugging the wrong running lane. Denver needs to figure something out because the play from these linebackers wasn't good enough. 

Melvin Gordon | RB | Grade: 20.1

There doesn't seem to be much gas left in the tank for Gordon. He was a running back who won with the burst, but there isn't a burst anymore, and his vision is a complete mess. In this Browns game, he missed open rushing lanes on multiple carries only to run into the heart of the Browns' defense. 

Kareem Jackson | S | Grade: 21.4

Missed tackles have always been an issue with Jackson. He has 25 such whiffs over the last two seasons. After the Browns game, he has seven on the season as he missed four in this game. His run fills have been lackluster, and he is looking slow and lost out in coverage.

Malik Reed | OLB | Grade: 22.4

Reed is the ultimate coverage sack artist, but he won't do much as a pass rusher when the coverage can't hold up. That has been the case during the four-game losing streak where Denver's coverage hasn't been effective. Reed has picked up nine measly pressures as a starter. When you add in his lackluster run defense, you find a weak link that can be consistently targeted by opponents. 

Mike Purcell | NT | Grade: 22.6

The big man is supposed to be a stout run defender but he has just been used to open huge holes. He penetrated the Browns' backfield a reasonable bit, but they just used his momentum to clear him out and then hit the spot he left behind. There hasn't been any control to Purcell's game, and it exposes the defense to long runs, especially without their top-two linebackers behind him to fill the right holes and clean up.

Eric Saubert | TE | Grade: 24.8

The veteran tight end has been pretty consistent for the Broncos as a blocker and a reliable receiver. However, he was all over the place as a blocker against the Browns. It was a rough showing from him, and with other blocking issues, it made for a long day on the ground until OC Pat Shurmur went away from the run. 

Bobby Massie | OT | Grade: 29.6

Massie did alright against the Browns in pass protection, but he gave up his fair share of pressures. Massie's issues show up in the running game with his inability to generate any consistent push. When he has to climb to the second level, his movement is lumbered, and he will often miss his mark —time for a change at right tackle. 

Dalton Risner | OG | Grade: 35.8

While he had a solid game in pass protection, Risner's issues remain when it comes to being a run blocker. He whiffed multiple times on run blocks, especially on one play where he was pulling to the right side. With how poorly he has played throughout the season, Denver has to be considering a change. 

Noah Fant | TE | Grade: 43.9

If Denver can consistently get the Fant from the second half, he would be a big weapon again. However, he hasn't shown that consistency, and in the first half, he was so easy for defenders to bring down with minimal fight in him as a ball-carrier after the catch. As for his blocking, it continues to be a major problem for the offense, as do his penalties. 


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