Denver Broncos: Gameplan to beat the Kansas City Chiefs
2. Denver Broncos defense vs. Kansas City Chiefs offense
The Kansas City Chiefs look to be returning almost the entire offense from last season’s Super Bowl-winning squad and now added Le’Veon Bell to the roster.
Andy Reid has adapted to increased his rushing efforts as Patrick Mahomes has come back to earth just slightly.
Reid continues to use motion and to attack the edges before setting a defense up for shot plays. The Chiefs marry exotic looks with an athletic quarterback to increase the impact of their team speed.
Man coverage against the Cheifs is not overly successful over time, but the Raiders showed that a zone scheme could be effective against the Chiefs just a few weeks ago.
The lack of a true shut down corner in the secondary reduces the effectiveness of man coverage and should be used only when significant pressure looks are needed.
Fangio would be wise not to bring pressure consistently throughout the game, utilizing a 4-man rush as much as possible.
On defense, the Broncos need to get pressure with three or four rushers and maximize coverage on the back end. This is especially true now with the return of Dre’Mont Jones and DeMarcus Walker upfront.
Utilizing zone concepts allows the Broncos to keep the Chiefs weapons in front of them and allocate more resources to each receiver per play.
To maximize pressure, the Broncos must utilize stunt games upfront to ensure players like Jones and Shelby Harris are free one-on-one. The Chiefs’ line is in flux, so the Broncos will need to maximize their opportunities upfront.
Additionally, the edges must keep Mahomes from breaking the pocket. Malik Reed and Bradley Chubb must rush with a purpose and keep containment of Mahomes.
The Broncos can utilize a rover or a spy to keep contain Mahomes and not allow him outside of the pocket. The key is, the rush will be to impact Mahomes’ sightlines and force early throws, not just get sacks.
If they blitz, delayed rushers can be effective as Mahomes likes to break contain to one side after the initial rush and dissect the defense with the added time. A delayed rusher decreases his time to throw and could make him less accurate.
The Broncos can utilize a more read-based rush designed to keep Mahomes in front of them. This gap-focused approach identifies rush lanes by the offensive line’s movement, usually starting with the center out.
This approach takes longer and maybe a good mix to throw in, creating different rush types like changing baseball pitchers change velocity. You hope this gam plan gives Mahomes different variables to think about leading to bad throws (ala last year’s pick to Justin Simmons) or a sack-fumble (two weeks ago against the Patriots).
With A.J. Bouye coming back and the impressive play of Bryce Callahan and Michael Ojemudia, the Broncos have the secondary pieces to compete with the Chiefs weapons.
Though the task of stopping the Chiefs is nearly impossible, the Broncos must continue to shake up Mahomes.
Now, with a much-improved secondary to work with, Fangio might be able to do it.