Peyton Manning (18) during training camp at the Broncos training facility. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
This Broncos offense is getting prepped to move at the speed of light. It’s no secret that offensive coordinator Adam Gase and the brain of the machine, Peyton Manning, want to pick up the pace in2013.
They saw what Tom Brady and the Patriots did last year, running close to 90 plays in the Broncos’ 31-21 loss.
Many believe that Manning, now in his second year with the team, can rev up the engine, but the question is can the NFL officials keep up with the pace of the offense? The group of officials that worked the Broncos v. Patriots game in 2012 did, but that’s not always guaranteed to be the case.
The NFL has made it clear that an offense will run only as quickly as the officials can get set. Officials will often control the tempo of the game by changing balls after an incomplete pass or a play that goes out of bounds. They also allow the defense to substitute after an offensive substitution.
“We have to make sure teams understand that they don’t control the tempo; our officials do,” NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said on Monday. “We’re going through our normal ball mechanics. We aren’t going to rush (unless) it’s in the two-minute drill.”
Manning has had issues with the officials slowing the pace in the past. In 2010, he got frustrated with an official who took his time getting to his spot behind the running back.
“Sometimes it is just a matter of the mechanics of the officials, how fast they get there, whether you sub or not,” John Fox said. “It is not an exact science because you are dealing with people, whether it is officials or players. You just kind of alert them (the officials) before the game that we are going to try to go fast and they still give the defense an opportunity.”
If the Broncos can move fast throughout the game (not just during the two-minute drill), they’re going to do it.
Wide receiver Eric Decker said that running a no-huddle offense takes some conditioning of both the mind and the body.
“We are getting mentally stronger, our physical endurance is growing and we are able to last for longer periods of time,” Decker said. “That is something we have to keep working on because it can really be to our advantage in the season.”
Fellow wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was asked whether the mental aspect of an up-tempo offense is more difficult than the physical part.
“You’ve got to know what’s going on at all times and read the defenses,” Thomas said. “The [physical aspect] can kick in at the same time, but I think it’s always the mental part.”
There would appear to be a clear advantage to running an up-tempo offense at 5,280 feet above sea level, but Wes Welker said that’s not always the case.
“It can also be a disadvantage to you if you’re going three-and-out and things like that,” Welker said. “So, it’s one those deals that you want to have it in the arsenal but not make a living on it.”
Either way, the Broncos are going to be ready to run it. Let’s hope the officials will fly with it, too.