With the extra preparation, here are the two things Gary Kubiak and his staff absolutely must fix this week.
The playcalling needs some self-evaluation
The Broncos must get back to what they were doing earlier in the year. For whatever reason, the playcalling has looked more like the Peyton Manning offense than the Kubiak offense over the last two weeks. Too many shotgun formations, too few playaction.
Gary Kubiak, back to work on Monday, noted some of these issues when he addressed the media after practice.
“We’ve had some things happen to our team and we’ve made some adjustments that we have to take a hard look at where we’re going next, from that standpoint,” Kubiak said. “We’re doing that right now. Bottom line is you have 12 penalties and two turnovers, you’re not going to win in this league.”
Being down two scores early is not the time to panic into calling passing plays on every down. The Broncos offensive identity must be a run-first, pass-second mentality. It has proven able to put up points late in games. The coaching staff needs to self-evaluate and recognize that they have been panicking themselves into poor playcalling decisions over the last two weeks.
Back to the fundamentals for the offensive line
I said the Broncos offensive line has been playing like five guys on five different islands. That has a change and this week the Broncos coaching staff should focus entirely on the fundamentals with them. Mark Schlereth on 104.3 The Fan agrees, going on a bit of a rant about it on Friday.
“That’s how that goes. It’s not about having five great single players. It’s about having five guys become one,” Schlereth said Friday. “They did not block anybody last night. They looked like they had no continuity. They look like they don’t know what they’re doing. They looked like they’re physically getting outmatched. There are not enough bad things to say about how that group played last night.”
Harsh words from a former Super Bowl champion Bronco. Until the offensive line can work together as a cohesive unit, trusting each other every step of the way, its going to be difficult for the Broncos to sustain drives and score points.
In my opinion, Kubiak needs to find a set of plays that have worked well this season, and practice the hell out of them this week. It’s better to be perfect on a handful of plays than be below average on a slew of them. At the very least, he has promised to get back to the basics with these players and that’s a positive first step.
“It’s just detail and preparation,” Kubiak said. “I talked about three things today with the players, preparation, detail and then it time to go put forth the effort and go play. We have to focus on those things starting with me and starting with us as coaches. It needs to filter down to our guys and get a lot better with what we’re doing.”
Oh, and forget the quarterback drama
Many fans have bought into the quarterback drama, but that’s really not the problem with this offense. Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch are both mediocre. Lynch has it from the neck down and Siemian has it from the neck up. Fans will be frustrated at times no matter who is under center if the above issues go unresolved.
Instead, we should be focusing on the real problem this team has right now. The playcalling sucks and the offensive line cannot pass block or run block or keep from committing costly penalties. It would take an amazing talent at quarterback to overcome those kinds of obstacles. The Broncos do not have that and fretting over “the future” is kind of pointless in the here and now.
The Broncos coaching staff has a full week to figure it out...