Denver Broncos: 5 ideas to get the team on track in 2019
1. Utilize more play-action/naked boot plays
The Broncos are moving the ball offensively.
That may surprise you, but they are. They are not only moving the ball offensively, but they are among the best teams in the league at keeping the ball in their possession when they have it.
Through three games, they’ve averaged 7.6 plays per drive (best in the NFL). The average time of possession for a Broncos drive is 3:25 (second-best in the NFL). They are moving the ball — on average — 36.6 yards per drive.
Despite all of these statistics ranking the Broncos at or near the top of the NFL, they are 24th in scoring. Why?
I think one reason is a clear lack of one of the staples of the Shanahan/West Coast offense and that is the play-action/naked bootleg.
The Broncos are not implementing this enough, especially considering how often they are running the ball.
Denver has the lowest percentage of first-down pass plays in the NFL.
Throwing on first-down is not mandatory, but based on the fact that the Broncos’ clear goal on most drives is to establish the run, why are we not seeing more play-action?
Why are we not seeing the pocket moved more?
One area the team is struggling is keeping Flacco clean on third downs. He was just sacked six times against the Packers, granted a couple were in desperation play.
Flacco is not the most fleet of foot, but he has the ability to roll out and run play-action bootleg plays. He has to for this type of offense, right?
The Broncos ran plays like this in the preseason, but we haven’t seen anything like this that I can recall so far in the regular season.
The play I’ve just linked right there gets three receivers open with relative ease. The Broncos are not using enough of this type of concept and are seemingly lucky to get one receiver open on plays where Flacco is having to hang in the pocket longer than anyone is comfortable with.
The fact that Flacco is also dumping the ball off to the running backs at a high rate is both unsurprising and disappointing from the standpoint that the top two backs on the Broncos’ roster should both be getting featured in the pass game, not just as outlets.
I’m not saying they always are, and I’m also not saying the Broncos never run play-action, but I would like to see more bootlegs to create a wide-open pocket for Flacco to be able to see the field and these receivers to get open in the intermediate-deep portions of the field.