BRONCOS

Can the Broncos get Marvin Mims Jr. the ball more?

Oct 17, 2023, 2:38 PM | Updated: 3:58 pm

Of the 202 players who have been targeted at least 10 times this season, no one averages more yards per target than Marvin Mims Jr. The Broncos gain an average of 20.5 yards each time the rookie receiver is targeted.

Mims ranks seventh on the Broncos in receiving targets. He ranks fifth among Broncos wide receivers in offensive snaps; among the six wide receivers to play so far this season, only Phillip Dorsett has fewer snaps, and he played in just one game, logging six snaps in the regular-season opener.

But Mims ranks second on the team in receiving yardage, trailing only Courtland Sutton. He’s maximized his opportunities.

“He’s doing well,” Broncos coach Sean Payton said.

And yet the Broncos can’t find chances to get him on the field often. The 12 snaps last Thursday in Kansas City were a season-low for the second-round rookie.

“We’re faced with a challenge sometimes of trying to find that balance with Sutton, [Jerry] Jeudy, Mims — the guys that we feel like can make plays in space,” Payton said.

“He’s on track, and we’re confident in how he’s handling the return duties but also his ability to make plays for us in the passing game, and we’re trying to find that balance.”

SO, WHY ISN’T MARVIN MIMS JR. PLAYING MORE?

The fascinating aspect of Payton’s explanation is that he didn’t put the onus for a lack of offensive snaps on Mims’ development to this point. Rather, Payton pointed to finding packages for Mims — which is the aspect that rests within the purview of the coaches, ultimately.

Situation and factors beyond one’s control dictates so much of a game. But ultimately, the use of players and packages — assuming good health — is an aspect that rests entirely within the grasp of the coaching staff.

“Again, that’s still a work in progress,” Payton said, “but I don’t think it’s a work in progress specifically towards Marvin as much as it is for us finding packages and touches for him both in the passing game.”

There’s more, too.

“Then also, he’s someone that can handle the speed sweeps, the (end-)arounds, and those types of things,” Payton said. “He’s really good with the ball in his hands.”

Indeed, he is. But the Broncos need to get him the ball more often — even if it’s not on the vertical-stretch plays that defined his breakthrough in Weeks 2 and 3. Mims’ explosiveness translates to opportunities in space closer to the line of scrimmage, too — the kind of openings coverages can sometimes concede.

The chances are there. Payton and the Broncos simply need to take them — even if it means taking snaps from a more experienced player. Because on a per-opportunity basis, Mims appears more than ready for the work.

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