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Mile High Morning: CB Pat Surtain II underscores communication, consistency as keys to continued improvement

The Lead

The Broncos' defense has demonstrated marked improvement over the course of the season, holding opponents under 20 points in five of their last seven contests, generating takeaways at league-high rates and taking significant strides in the pass rush and run defense.

According to the unit's All-Pro corner, Denver's defense can still get even better.

"We [are] not even close to our best, I believe," cornerback Pat Surtain II said after practice on Thursday. "There's still a lot to improve on, a lot to work on as a defense and we all know that. We all know there's a little bit left in the tank and when we've got that mentality and that mindset, a lot of great things can happen going forward."

Though the Broncos will be without their sack leader this season, outside linebacker Nik Bonitto, when they take on the 9-4 Detroit Lions on Saturday, Denver has a high standard for its performance against the high-powered Lions offense.

The Broncos allowed a season-low seven points to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 14 and tallied a season-best six sacks, along with winning the turnover battle against their AFC West rival.

Heading into Saturday's prime-time contest, Surtain said communication and consistency are his two priorities for the Broncos' defense.

"Just finishing all four quarters, being a dominant defense until the whistle blows [is important]," Surtain said. "Just having that same tenacity from the start to the finish, I think that's what's key."

Even with room for improvement, Surtain is adamant that the Broncos have the pieces in place to be a great defense. That assessment will be put to the test in this upcoming four-game stretch to close out the regular season, starting with one of the NFL's best and most balanced offensive attacks in Detroit.

"We're very physical at the point of contact," Surtain said. "Our main thing is disrupting the line of scrimmage and just being disruptive in the run game and the pass game. I just think when … all that jells together, it creates a great defense. I believe we've got that."

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