Denver Broncos: It’s all about improving the simple things

Denver Broncos offensive line. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos offensive line. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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Pat Shurmur, Denver Broncos
DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 14: Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur works on the sideline during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High on September 14, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Denver Broncos: Improving the Simple Things

2. Situational Offense

This is a big one. While the Broncos’ offense finsihed in the top 15 in week 6 for total yards per game, the play calling scheme just didn’t succeed.

There were too many chances where the Broncos had opportunities to advance down the field but decided to either play it safe or throw all the chips in the middle of the table.

Check Downs

Broncos fans began to see shades of the old Teddy Bridgewater Sunday. Bridgewater was infamous throughout his time in Carolina and New Orleans for “playing it safe” in many situations.

Instead of moving the ball down the field efficiently, Bridgewater played it safe and threw little passes for a short gain.

Much of his play against the Raiders was this exact same idea. A lot of the offense was limited because of his abilities, and as a result, the Broncos found it hard to move the ball down the field.

This is also partial blame on Pat Shurmur for poor play design and scheming. There were specific plays that were designed for “dump and go,” but were used in 3rd and long situations.

Here is a perfect example.

It was 3rd and 16 and the Broncos were backed up in their own end. Instead of taking a shot down the field for Patrick or Sutton (who had been efficient at that point in the game), Shurmur decides to play it safe to Bridgewater’s strengths.

They used a designed screen with lead blockers to try and pick up the first. It clearly didn’t work.

Why not use Sutton or Patrick? What about Fant down the middle?

The Raiders only rushed three as well on the play. Why not audible and create an opening down the stretch? Bridgewater would’ve had time to throw plus extra to grab a coffee down the street.

The play-calling needs to get better, and it’s not just this that needs improvement.

Sacks/Holding On

This one also falls on Bridgewater. Although the offensive line did perform poorly, it’s ultimately up to Bridgewater to have that awareness and get the ball out of the pocket.

In total, Teddy Bridgewater went down a total of five times against the Raiders, totaling 25 lost yards on offense.

All of these sacks were a result of Bridgewater holding on for too long in the pocket and waiting for a deep pass to appear.

Watch Bridgewater in this clip. His eyes are pointed way down the field for the isolated 1-1. However, tunnel vision sets in and he’s quickly brought down by the Raiders’ rush.

Bridgewater, on multiple occasions, was caught holding the ball for too long and was forced to throw the ball into either tight coverage or to safety screens on the outside.

Plays like these will either win you big games or in most cases, cost you immensely.

Denver’s design has been way overthought the past three games. It’s time to revert back to fundamental football and take a win vs. the fundamental Browns.