5 major problems the Denver Broncos must fix or they’ll miss the playoffs

Denver Broncos, Nathaniel Hackett (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Nathaniel Hackett (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos, Russell Wilson – Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos problem no. 2: Red zone offensive (in)efficiency

Everyone can see right now that the Denver Broncos are struggling in the red zone. Given the fact the team moved on from offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, hired Nathaniel Hackett, and traded for Russell Wilson, I think it’s safe to say we all assumed this area was going to be cleaned up in a big way in 2022. It hasn’t been.

The sample size is small — just two games — but the Broncos rank tied for dead last in the NFL right now with a red zone percentage of 0.0. As in, 0 touchdowns in six red zone attempts. That’s not what any of us signed up for, is it?

Head coach Nathaniel Hackett took accountability for the lack of red zone success at his Monday press conference, stating that red zone success starts with his play calling. While that’s noble of him to do and certainly right, at least partially, Hackett isn’t entirely to blame here. The Broncos had multiple fumbles on the one-yard line against the Seahawks by each of their top two running backs. Could Hackett have called plays from under center? Yes.

Should the Broncos’ backs still have held onto the ball and even scored? Yes.

Then you have multiple close calls in the red zone:

  • Andrew Beck shovel pass touchdown called back because of a penalty vs. Seattle
  • Inches away from an Eric Tomlinson touchdown vs. Seattle
  • Eric Saubert just missed a TD catch vs. Seattle
  • Courtland Sutton’s foot inches away from a TD vs. Texans

The opportunities have been there, but the Broncos have to find a way to convert these close calls into guaranteed touchdowns. The offense is simply too good with Russell Wilson at the helm (#1 in the NFL in yards per possession) to stall in the red zone when moving the ball matters most.