The Denver Broncos have the NFL’s worst offense through more than half of the season, averaging a very disappointing and embarrassing 14.6 points per game. The Broncos’ offensive ineptitude has resulted in the team with the league’s no. 1 scoring defense losing six of its first nine games, and the team has apparently decided to make a major change before taking on the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday afternoon.
The major change the Broncos are making before Sunday’s game against the Raiders? According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, they are making quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak the new offensive play-caller. Kubiak will replace head coach Nathaniel Hackett in this regard, and you have to admire Hackett’s willingness to admit that he might be part of the issue here.
Klint Kubiak taking over as Broncos’ offensive play-caller
For those wondering with all of the changes going on with Twitter lately, yes that is the real Tom Pelissero, and yes Tom Pelissero is one of the very best sources for Broncos information out there. He and George Paton have had a great relationship dating back to Paton’s days in Minneapolis with the Vikings.
So what does this change mean for the Broncos right now, exactly? Well, first and foremost, we have to acknowledge that Nathaniel Hackett is admitting he might be part of the issue offensively, and I think to a degree, he absolutely has been. The Broncos’ offensive play-calling hasn’t been overly inspired this season, although some of the play designs have been on point. Hackett isn’t responsible for going out there and executing the plays on the field, so a good amount of blame should rightfully be falling on Russell Wilson as well.
With that being said, the Broncos really can’t afford for Wilson to be the problem at this point. They have way too much invested in him for that to be the case. They have to exhaust every possible solution before admitting defeat on Wilson, who is still only nine games into his Denver Broncos career.
Still, Wilson doesn’t look like the same guy now that we all saw dominating for years in Seattle. He’s not exactly out there with the team’s projected starters on offense, either (the Broncos will go into Sunday’s game against the Raiders with an absolute shell of their starting lineup). Excuses (or reasons) aside, Wilson hasn’t played well enough, and Hackett hasn’t done a good enough job as a play-caller. If he is willing to give play calling up to Klint Kubiak, you also can’t help but think things are trending toward Hackett being one-and-done as an NFL head coach, at least in Denver.
He’s already delegated game management. He’s now delegating play-calling. Those are two major areas that a number of NFL head coaches do themselves, but as has been pointed out in the past, being a play-caller and being a head coach are essentially two different, full-time jobs. For the longest time, Hackett has maintained that there would be no major changes like this but you can’t blame him for keeping this one under wraps, either.
We’ll now get to see the Denver Broncos’ offense through the eyes of Klint Kubiak. It’s a small change on paper but it could be a massive one in the end. Kubiak has play-calling experience as recently as last year with the Minnesota Vikings. In his lone year as the offensive coordinator in Minnesota, Kubiak’s unit finished 14th in scoring, 1st in turnovers (as in the least turnovers), 26th in 3rd-down conversion rate, and 9th in red zone conversion rate.
This also begs the question as to what exactly is Justin Outten’s role with the team. Outten is the Broncos’ offensive coordinator by title, but he’s not taking over as the play-caller? It kind of confirms what a lot of Broncos fans felt when he was hired that Outten might not have been the best option, even if he was a backup option to Adam Stenavich.
The Denver Broncos have their work cut out for them to make themselves relevant in 2022. It starts with a win over the Raiders and some key players.
The Broncos’ offense is just a mess right now. It’s going to be tough to really bank on Klint Kubiak to turn the ship around but if the play-calling and play sequencing are better, good things should start to happen.