Gameplan: How the Denver Broncos can beat the Atlanta Falcons
Denver Broncos defensive gameplan vs. Atlanta Falcons offense
Stop Julio Jones, and the Broncos have a good chance to stop the Atlanta Falcons offense.
Though this offense has an abundance of talent, they seem to have lapsed and lulled themselves into focusing on feeding Jones more than winning.
With their complementary wide receiver Calvin Ridley down (out this week), the Falcons will need to get Jones the ball more often.
The Broncos should be able to continue their ability to get pressure on Matt Ryan, even without Shelby Harris. Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed continue to rack up sacks, and this week should be a good week for them to keep their hot streak going.
Fangio has found a wonderful (chef’s kiss) mixture of pressure blitzes and zone looks.
One way the Broncos can continue to get pressure while utilizing a zone designed to take away one player is a matchup concept. The Broncos used this look a lot with Wade Phillips and have seemed to utilize it more often this year than Fangio’s first year in Denver.
The matchup zone concept calls for the defenders to read the releases of the offensive receivers. The coverage defenders must decipher the route combination the offense utilizes to ensure they do not leave a player open in an area that is their responsibility.
Focusing on Jones, the outside corner can plan on manning-up to ensure Jones is accounted for. Most often, Jones will run a go, dig, curl, or screen route to get him the ball on the move.
Covering Jones is easier said than done, regardless of how many defenders you have on him.
As the Falcons will most likely assume the Broncos will be in the zone, they’ll try to utilize dummy routes or runoffs to get Jones open.
With good study, the Broncos should continue to recognize these concepts just as they did last week, leading to two interceptions against the Chargers.
The continuity of the Denver secondary and limited pass options for the Falcons should give the defense the advantage and result in forced turnovers, which Ryan does have a propensity to provide.
When the corners are not threatened deep, they peel off and can jump early routs, or they can hand off crossers to matchup with deeper routes. Which defender covering a particular route is dependent on great communication and recognition of the concepts and can change from play to play.
Look for the Broncos to focus on taking away Ryan’s options by tightening windows and providing zone-to-man looks, which should confuse the quarterback long enough for the rush to get home.
If the pressure gets there, Ryan will throw the ball instead of taking a sack, leading to turnover opportunities.
Additionally, if the Broncos execute these aspects of their gameplan successfully, they should come out with another win and back to .500 since the middle of the 2018 season.