Mike Shanahan is Answer to Broncos Run Game
Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) carries the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Denver 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Peyton Manning insists the Denver Broncos have to get more balanced on offense.
John Fox and Adam Gase insist on running the football when everyone knows they will run the football … and fail in miserable fashion when they do. Yet they still do it over and over. When you repeatedly hit your head against a wall eventually you figure out it hurts and you stop.
The Broncos offensive line insists on making it look as if it has no clue how to run block and has never done so. Ever.
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There’s no doubt the Broncos need to be able run the football and run it effectively. Through the first three games of this season, Denver can’t run it any worse – even when tight end Virgil Green is healthy.
The offensive line needs time, as we have heard, to gel and hope it gets it figured it out. Denver doesn’t have the time to “hope.” The time has come to think outside the box and take some initiative.
If Manning, Fox and Gase really want to get that balance, here’s what needs to happen.
John Elway has to hire former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan as a consultant to fix the miss that is Denver’s running game. Shanahan still lives in Denver and he’s not exactly doing anything at the moment. It’s also perfect because it’s the bye week and the team will have time to listen and learn from a guy who knows offense before its next game against the Arizona Cardinals.
There is still some bad blood in Broncos Country for Shanahan, but since Fox and Gase are so hellbent on running the ball, this is the most viable option out there.
Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cassius Marsh (91) tackles Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Over the next two weeks the only thing this offense should do, after Shanahan is on board, is practice running the football. Nothing else. According to Vic Lombardi and former Denver tight end Joel Dreessen, the Broncos don’t put a focus on the running game in practice. Yet they want more balance? How do they expect that to happen, magic?
Once Denver does those two things, give Juwan Thompson a chance. Please. Yes, what he did in the preseason was against second and third stringers. Take that out of the equation for the moment. This is about the eye test. What Thompson showed in the time he played none of the Broncos running backs listed above him on the depth chart have shown or can do. Thompson has great vision, first-step cut ability, quickness, speed and size. He can run around or through defenders. He can block. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. Who does that sound like?
The combination of Thompson and Shanahan together? Thompson is the kind of back who thrives in Shanahan’s system.
Yes, the offensive line must get better. It has to look as if it has a clue that it knows what it’s doing. No running back, save for Barry Sanders, can have success when four guys meet them in the backfield as soon as they get the ball.
That’s why this needs to happen and now. Shanahan can get with the offensive line, show the guys what they’re doing wrong and then show them how to change it.
It’s the last viable option to make this pathetic running game not only decent but a legitimate threat.
It also takes “hope” out of the equation.
Sep 14, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) runs the ball during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports