Denver Broncos: Some depth chart changes after week one
The Denver Broncos made some interesting week one adjustments to their depth chart that were unknown prior to kickoff. Let’s take a look at them.
The Denver Broncos are under no obligation to play their players in the order in which they are listed on the team’s official (yet often unofficial) depth chart. They proved that on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks when certain players jumped over others somewhat unexpectedly.
Let’s take a look at both sides of the football at some of the interesting depth chart moves the Broncos made off-script against the Seahawks.
Offensively, the Broncos’ listed 11 starters did not play the majority of snaps. This is not to say depth chart should always be indicative of which players dominate snaps for a team, but the unit the Broncos send out of the tunnel is not their preferred unit over the long haul of a game.
Let’s first talk about the fact that undrafted running back Phillip Lindsay was clearly the number two running back in this game despite Devontae Booker being listed as the number two behind Royce Freeman.
Lindsay out-snapped Booker 26-19 and also had 17 touches compared to Booker’s four. The Broncos do not list Lindsay as the number two running back, but after one game (and the entire preseason) it looks like he very clearly is.
Interestingly enough, the Broncos split up the running back reps pretty fairly between Freeman and Lindsay (Freeman 29, Lindsay 26), so perhaps those two are ‘1 and 1a’ at this point in time.
The Broncos also list fullback Andy Janovich as a starter, but he was nearly tripled in snaps by tight end Jake Butt (36 snaps) and played 31 fewer offensive snaps than rookie wide receiver Courtland Sutton (44 snaps).
Both Butt and Sutton ranked in the top 11 offensively in terms of snap counts, so the Broncos clearly favor a two-tight end set (Jeff Heuerman played 60 snaps) or three-wide set.
The biggest depth chart change defensively came at the cornerback position.
As a matter of fact, the Broncos’ official depth chart now reflects the big change.
Pacman Jones is the Broncos’ number three cornerback, and comparing his snaps to those of Tramaine Brock, it’s not even particularly close. Jones played 38 total snaps defensively compared to just two snaps for Brock.
Third-round pick Isaac Yiadom did not even dress for this game so the Broncos appear to be rolling with Pacman, and rightfully so. Jones was excellent in this game against the Seahawks, allowing just one reception for six yards and picking off a desperation pass at the end of the game from Russell Wilson.
The Broncos kept their pecking order pretty clear defensively the rest of the way, rotating a lot of players in and out throughout the game like they always do.