Three changes the Broncos must make against the Titans
Nov 13, 2022, 9:54 AM
The Denver Broncos had a bye in Week 9 to take time away from the facility. The players get to heal their bodies and clear their minds for the second half of the season. The coaching staff gets to hopefully take a little bit of time away, but they need to self-scout and figure out what they’re doing wrong – especially on offense.
While the Broncos defense is one of the strongest in the league, the offense is arguably the worst of all 32 teams in the NFL. It’s strange the way this season has shaken out for the offense given the fact they have veteran Russell Wilson at quarterback and head coach Nathaniel Hackett has an offensive mind. In order for this team to push for the playoffs – yes, that’s a possibility – they must improve their atrocious offense.
Here are three changes on offense we must see against the Titans.
Use Tempo as a Weapon
The Broncos need to run more plays. They need sustained drives to do that, and I think they can move the ball with better ease by increasing the pace of play. At times, the Broncos should use tempo as a weapon. This takes some adjusting from the offense, and they must be comfortable with the plays they’re calling during the game. During the bye, examining which plays work best had to be a must.
When an offense quickens the pace, a defense can be caught off guard. The Broncos need to wait for an opponent to get into a defensive package they can exploit – that’s usually a heavy or base package – and then they need to turn on the gas. In order to influence a defense into the personnel they want, the Broncos must emphasize the rushing attack (more on that in a bit). Then, when the time is right, they can switch to a pass-happy mode.
Two players in particular help them when the pace is hurried. New running back Chase Edmonds is a player you want to use in space. When he’s on the field, Edmonds is a running back to the defense – and he can be counted on as a runner. However, he’s also capable of playing the slot receiver position and even running routes like a receiver. His versatility gives the Broncos an option they didn’t have in the past with Mike Boone.
Greg Dulcich is on the field to catch the ball. He’s a receiving weapon who can be a seam ripper for the Broncos offense. However, he can be an effort blocker. That means he will declare to a defense as a tight end instead of a receiver. Just like Edmonds, Dulcich provides versatility because he’s basically a super-sized wide receiver. When the Broncos go up-tempo on offense, Dulcich could be a primary target given a defense with heavier players who struggle to cover athletic tight ends.
More Than 15 Carries
We’re likely to see the Broncos continue to use a ‘hot hand’ approach at the running back position. It’s a ridiculous notion for a coaching staff to take for several reasons. I won’t go on and on in this article, but I will quickly summarize things and say it’s difficult to find the hot hand when running backs aren’t getting the ball enough.
A running back needs to get into a rhythm, and once he has enough carries to do that then we could see his production increase. Too often, the Broncos are pulling the plug on a running back as soon as he flashes for a couple of plays. Instead, the Broncos need to have the wherewithal to keep feeding the rock to the primary back.
Do you know that no Broncos running back has had over 15 carries in a game this year? That’s sad, especially when you consider a rising star like Javonte Williams was the team’s starter before his knee injury. Melvin Gordon has been the Broncos starter over the last three games, and during that time he’s compiled just 23 carries total.
That’s a number he should reach in one game! Instead of going back to the well, even when it’s working, the Broncos are quick to rotate in another back and lose all the momentum the others were building.
I think Latavius Murray should be the starter, and he should get at least 20 carries for the Broncos in each game. If not 20 carries, then how about a plan of 20 touches with most of those being carries for the capable veteran back? The plan is simple but effective. Using a back, more as a primary player, will help the Broncos influence the way a defense plays against them. When that happens; advantage Broncos.
Jump Start Sutton
There is no question that Courtland Sutton is having a disappointing season. It didn’t start that way, but over the last few weeks Sutton has barely been involved when the team goes through the air. His last good game statistically was against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5 when he was targeted 11 times, catching five passes for 74 yards. In the three games since then, Sutton has just six catches for 50 yards and zero touchdowns. In fact, he’s only got one touchdown catch this season.
The way he’s being used in this offense as of late is just wrong. Sutton is big, strong, and has a physical presence at the wide receiver position. The Broncos should be using his size as an advantage all the damn time. Instead, Sutton is running this downfield routes and struggling to gain separation – something that was never his forte. Sutton is a good route runner, so how about some in-breaking routes where he can use his frame to box out smaller defenders? That would make a ton of sense, and those type of easy pitch-and-catch scenarios could get Sutton into the groove of the offense.
The Broncos should emphasize getting Sutton the ball early in the game. They need to jump start him in the game plan similarly to the way the team used to do with Demaryius Thomas. The Broncos used to go to Thomas early, usually on his wide receiver screen, just to get him into the flow of the game. Once that happened, Thomas was able to dominate. I think the same should apply for Sutton.
The Broncos also need to emphasize Sutton in the red zone and on plays where it could either be complete or a pass interference penalty. He knows how to use his size, and his long arms make it difficult for a smaller cornerback to defend the catch point. Sutton has great chemistry with Wilson, but the team is not taking advantage of that on game day. In order to help this offense look better, that must change for the Broncos going forward.