Jack Del Rio didn't want to tip his hand, but Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan probably already knows what's coming this Sunday.
The 4-1 Broncos have the league's number two offense, which includes the number two pass-offense. The high-flying Broncos, led by quarterback Jay Cutler and receivers Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, are number three in the league in points per game and Cutler has already pitched 10 touchdown passes. In the Broncos' 16-13 win over Tampa Bay last Sunday, however, the Broncos offense struggled.
Tampa Bay's cover two defense confused Cutler and provided a perfect template for the Jaguars to model their defensive strategy for this Sunday's game at Invesco Field. Cover two, anyone?
That's not a question Del Rio was willing to answer, but he couldn't deny that his defense played at a much higher level in the second half of Sunday's 26-21 loss to Pittsburgh after making the switch from an aggressive, attack-style strategy to the Jaguars' time-honored cover two defense.
"It's more of what we expect. We need to play that way more often," Del Rio said on Wednesday.
Was it the cover two (two safeties deep) strategy that made the difference?
"I think it has more to do with shedding blocks and tackling," Del Rio said.
Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams has come under scrutiny from fans for what they perceive to be the failure of his more aggressive defensive strategies.
"That's baseless discussion," Del Rio said. "That's something that's talked about only when you don't have success."
Success in Denver is likely to depend on a defensive performance similar to that of the second half against Pittsburgh, minus the late-game collapse, and an offensive performance that matches the Broncos point for point. Though the Broncos are number two on offense, they are number 29 on defense; 25th against the run and 30th against the pass.
"We have to try to take advantage of it because offensively you can see that they can score some points. We have to match that," quarterback David Garrard said.
It would help if wide receiver Jerry Porter becomes more of a factor in Denver.
"His legs are definitely better but we have to get on the same page. He missed a lot of time," Garrard said of Porter.
Del Rio said he hopes to have cornerback Drayton Florence back in the lineup on Sunday after having missed a game due to a groin injury. Defensive tackle Rob Meier sustained a knee sprain against Pittsburgh and could miss Sunday's game. Safety Reggie Nelson is likely to miss a third consecutive game with a knee injury. Del Rio said wide receiver Mike Walker is "iffy" with a knee injury he suffered late against the Steelers.