Broncos Offense Gets a Makeover: Staff Roundtable


Who are the Denver Broncos? They’re not the record-setting, high-flying, fast-paced offense from a year ago that won the AFC and got smacked around in the Super Bowl. This year’s Broncos are different…much different.

It all starts with Peyton Manning, who by league-wide standards is having another phenomenal season. He is less than 100 yards shy of another 4,000 yard passing season and is tied for the NFL’s lead in touchdowns. For a guy who has received a ton of criticism for his ‘struggles’ this season, those are not bad numbers. Then, ESPN’s Jeff Legwold drops this bomb on us all —

I have to say, I am a bit taken aback by that, but it makes sense given the Broncos’ new identity. Denver’s offensive line woes and lack of balance offensively forced them into some major midseason changes, and they’ve adjusted beautifully. After losing games to the Patriots and Rams, the Broncos went back to the drawing board and set out to establish themselves as a running team against the Miami Dolphins, where this all started.

Despite another average start to the Miami game, the Broncos took some momentum into the halftime locker room and dominated the second half against the Dolphins. They then came back on Sunday night football the following week and absolutely man-handled the Kansas City Chiefs. On Sunday, they took the Buffalo Bills to school. All of this without any overwhelming performances from Peyton Manning.

Of course, Manning is a great player, and the expectations on him are unfair at best. However, by even his standards, it’s been a really odd stretch of games for the reigning MVP, who snapped a 51-game streak of at least one touchdown pass against the Bills.

There seems to be a lot of doubt of whether or not Manning will return to his form of a year ago, and perhaps that’s not realistic given the Broncos’ new identity on offense, but one thing is certain — this is a team that has at least achieved the balance they craved all year long. They appear to be a team that both offensively and defensively is firing right now and despite what some people may think, I don’t think they are winning ‘ugly’ either.

I wanted to gauge the opinions of some of the staff here at Predominantly Orange in regards to this topic. Do you feel like the sky is falling? Let us talk you away from this ledge.

Ty Walden: I really like that we have a run game. It’s going to help when it comes time for the playoffs. I think it is great that the Broncos do not need to rely on Manning to win a game. I stated that in my game recap article last Monday. Having a run game will take a lot of pressure off of Manning. Regarding last night’s SNF game, the Chargers loss allows the Broncos to win the division if they beat the Chargers Sunday. I think winning the division is the first step. One game at a time. Broncos should take care of business and the rest will follow. But I think with this new running attack, they could do some damage in the playoffs no matter whom they play.

Ian St. Clair: All people have to do is look at the the Super Bowl years.

Gabe Harris: Love that we seem to have found a good O-Line configuration that can run block. It will be a huge asset. However, I’m mildly concerned with the number of throws, especially deep throws, that Manning is flat out missing on. I don’t know if it’s a rhythm thing now that we’re running it so much, but I’d like to hit on all cylinders next week at San Diego and put the Division away.

Dan Armelli: This is something I’ve been calling for since the first week of the regular season: balance. I thought it would come from Ball, Hillman, and some Anderson, but C.J. proves to be the guy I have the most confidence in. With the Broncos’ new found balance, at no point during the Bills game did I think Denver would lose, even after Manning’s picks. If Manning is off, which he has been these last few weeks, it doesn’t ruin the whole game plan. Having this kind of run game takes pressure off Manning, the offensive line, and the defense. It’s just a humungous advantage for the Broncos.

The fact is right now, Broncos fans, the Broncos don’t need MVP caliber performances from Peyton Manning because perhaps he’s no longer the only catalyst this team has. The Broncos now possess a top five defense and a running game that is capable of shattering opposing defensive gameplans.

It’s an odd thing to come to grips with, but this Broncos team has real, true balance, and it’s exciting to watch. It’s only a matter of time before Manning adjusts to it as well and the Broncos are truly firing on all cylinders.