Is it the O Line? Orton? Or McDaniels?
I say it's all three....more after the jumpAfter McD's press conference I decided to go take a look at game film of the last three games (ie: losing streak number two) to find get a greater understanding of the running game/.sack./third down conversion struggles...this is what I saw.
1. The O Line: Truth be told, the interior of the offensive line struggled last year as well. Not having Tom Nalen as center affected the team greater than any one position player loss of the last three years. Remember last year, as good as the O line was in not giving up sacks, they struggled mightily in converting third downs. Just like this year. Hamilton (confidence problems) and Wiegman (maybe too old) have been allowing a middle rush in some critical situations this year, and it has affected the running game up the gut more than anything else. Yet....it's not all the O line's faul
2. Orton: As I said in previous posts. Kyle is neither great nor terrible. He's right smack dab in the middle...maybe slightly to the "good" side. He's smart, can make most of the throws, and won't make too many mistakes. However, and this was a problem in Chicago as well....he has a tendency to panic. Big time. In fact, in the 25 years since I started watching football at the age of 6 I have NEVER seen anyone collapse to the ground without being touched as often as I have Kyle. God bless em but it's sad. Also, I'd say about a quarter of the frustrating short passes we have seen have been the result of KO checking down. Orton only exists in the context of the offense. When things go awry he has trouble "making plays". He is who he is, and quite frankly he has never pretended to be John Elway or Peyton Manning. If you are going to build your team about Kyle Orton you best have a top five D.
3 McDaniels: There's an expression. It's called trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. And for 15 weeks and four pre-season games we have seen McDaniels try and turn a small, zone blocking line into a power running line. This was doomed from the start. You can't scheme size and the line is not built for what McD wants. The frustrating aspect of this is much of the Broncos running success has come when they have zone blocked this year. The KC game was a masterpiece of zone blocking. The screen passes last week were frustrating to say the least. That's how BMarsh can have 8 catches for such a low average. I think McDaniels will be a good coach for us, but if there is one thing I'd like him to change it's the rigidity in play calling. It's seems like he's playing things too safe
It's a group problem...not just one unit. The D has struggled as well, but they have stepped up big time in certain situations and have given the O the opportunity to score points. It would be nice if we saw the O take advantage of these opportunities more often