Converting on third down is a hot topic for the Broncos nowadays. They are 26th in the league in third down percentage (32.6%), and unless the clock is winding down, it seems like three and outs are more common than points up on the scoreboard for this offense.
“As a whole, all 11 guys have to do a better job of executing it whether we’re running the football, throwing it, route technique outside, separating from tighter coverage,” offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said. “It’s all of us. We’ve got to do a better job.”
For the Broncos it’s about staying in third and manageable situations. If they don’t opposing defenses can just drop back into coverage and play the sticks.
“You like to stay in that 2-5 (yard) category if you can,” McCoy said. “Usually you’re more effective in there. The run/pass options are better. You always want to stay out of third and long situations because now you’re playing into their hands.”
When talking about converting on fourth down, the Broncos are 31st in the league at 14.3%.
By comparison the Chargers are ranked 4th in converting on third downs and 29th on fourth downs.
It’s up to the team’s running game to establish itself early on to make third down situations more manageable. A 4-yard (or more) run is key on first down. That gives the team a large portion of their playbook to work with on second and third down.
Like McCoy said, it’s all about execution. It’s all about focus.