The ‘easiest’ matchup for an offense
Early on in training camp, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello was quoted saying:
"“I think that easiest matchup to create in the NFL is the halfback on a linebacker. That’s what we try to do in this offense a lot, and I think he (Phillip Lindsay) has that gift and that ability and those traits. Excited to try to do that and try to force defenses to put a DB on him to open up other players.” (quotes via Broncos PR)"
Scangarello was responding to a question about Phillip Lindsay’s involvement in the passing game, but this principle is applicable to all of the running backs on the roster, especially now when you look at the unit with Devontae Booker and Theo Riddick battling it out for potentially just one spot.
The Broncos have guys who can make plays in space as receivers, and Scangarello put that theory to the test in this game a number of times.
Running backs Khalfani Muhammad and Dave Williams were targeted a total of six times in this game (Muhammad 5, Williams 1) and on two of those plays, Scangarello’s play calls were good enough the Broncos could have scored touchdowns or at least been 40-plus yard plays.
Unfortunately, both fell incomplete.
On one play, Drew Lock missed Khalfani Muhammad on a deep play, which you can see in this highlight reel.
The last play, you can also see Lock’s throw to Dave Williams being dropped.
It might be presumptuous to say one or both would have been touchdown plays, but they would have been big plays nonetheless.
We’re not highlighting the fact that the plays weren’t made here, but the way they were drawn up and executed perfectly up until the throw and catch.
Scangarello did a great job of drawing up plays in this game and there was intentionality to implement the habit of putting backs on linebackers consistently, which will ultimately free up someone else in the offense so the Broncos can — finally — become multi-faceted.
I’ll be intrigued to see the number one offense run these plays.