Broncos four downs: Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson get first “W” in orange, but is Denver still boring?

Defensive additions add up. If there’s one thing that has gone right early on this season, it’s the play of the Broncos’ two big offseason additions on defense — DL D.J. Jones and OLB Randy Gregory. The former made a spectacular open-field tackle on a third-and-short sweep from Dameon Pierce that shut down the Texans’ opening drive. And the latter got into the backfield before Pierce could even make a cut on third-and-1 on the next possession, leaving Pierce doing the splits. Throw in a tide-turning sack for Gregory in the fourth, and there’s a lot to like.

More Javonte, please. With all the injuries and inconsistency on offense, isn’t it time Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett started leveraging his talent? To be clear: Running back Javonte Williams is the talent. And that was evident in the first half when he averaged 6.6 yards a carry and gained 56 yards on 10 touches … but didn’t touch the ball once with the Broncos inside the 2-yard line twice. Rather than let Russ cook at the goal line — like, say, a play-action on third-and-goal at the 1 — Hackett needs to let Javonte run.

Scrap the gadget plays. OK, so the Montrell Washington and Courtland Sutton reverse runs weren’t awful (the first was actually pretty good). But the rest of the trickery in Hackett’s bag? Minus-two yards and a cascade of boos from the Empower Field crowd. There was the double pass that resulted in Jerry Jeudy injuring his shoulder. Then there was the Andrew Beck option play on third-and-short, which, predictably, was an utter failure — and called to mind visions of failed Noah Fant jet sweeps. Never again.

The Broncos are … boring again? Remember way back in July, when the Broncos were Super Bowl contenders and people were throwing around the “R” word — relevant — about a once-lost franchise? Now we’re back to the “B” word. Boring. With a capital B. How else do you describe a team that produced nearly as many rounds of boos (11) as points (16) in its home opener? There were Joe Flacco Era Broncos games that generated more excitement. And we all remember what that was like.

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