Full disclosure: When the Denver Broncos drafted Andy Janovich instead of Dan Vitale, I was a bit shocked. Vitale was such a polished player. After the draft, in watching film on all our guys, it became apparent that John Elway and Gary Kubiak picked fast and brutal guys over the finesse players. My thought was, oh, we have a team of rugby thumpers. Kickers and Screamers. I was hooked. Janovich was the right choice.
While doing research on another topic, I noticed some stats that lit a light on my marble head. When Andy Janovich plays, Trevor Siemian does better. The team does better. They win with Janovich, lose without. This last part is underrated because it's not something most people look for.
The second best player we have at the combo of run/pass block? Janovich. Curiously, of the 76 snaps he's played, the last two weeks he had 17, combined. While he's done quite well at run blocking, plus getting crucial third and fourth downs, it's his pass protection abilities that is overlooked.
He has a 80.5 Rating for Run Block and 75.6 for Pass Block. To put this in perspective, Matt Paradis is 85.4 and 82.4, Michael Schofield, 71.8 and 75.0, Max Garcia, 49.4 and 72.5, Russell Okung, 84.3 and 43.0, Donald Stephenson, 72.3 and 37.2. Must add that flags will detract from a player's grade. Giving a shout out to Virgil Green, his pass protection is 67.2 run is 84.2.
Janovich is better at pass protection than every OL player we have (don't even ask about Ty) except Paradis. Realizing that in our losses and poor QB play in our losses, using him only 17 times, begs the question: why?
The Broncos have underused TEs, a weakness in OL depth, struggles in the run and a 28th ranked passing game. They drafted a FB to help, who just happens to be ranked as an elite FB at #1. Then barely use him in games that highlighted these issues. What gives? Anyone know a source inside Dove Valley? It's a good question to ask him.
If Gary Kubiak being unable to play call in the two losses is why, our back-up guys in Rick Dennison, Greg Knapp and maybe Joe DeCamillis, need to make a note and keep him/put him in. Why he wasn't used more to protect Paxton Lynch in his debut start is even stranger. 12 snaps? Seems more (any) protection might’ve been a good call. Janovich hasn't shown up on any injury report, so that's not why.
Against the San Diego Chargers, he was in for just 5 snaps. Siemian was clearly struggling with 29 completions of 9 yards or less, most under five yards. Those short passes were either designed to protect him from getting hit or he couldn't see beyond 10 yards because of tunnel vision from pain or he himself pulled the trigger quickly to avoid getting hit. No matter the reason or reasons, some extra pass protection would've come in handy. I doubt Trevor would disagree.
In six games, he had three hand-offs. These were on third and fourth downs. They were money. The Broncos are 37.66% on 3rd down conversions. Another, hmm. Why aren't they using him more on key downs?
The Broncos are ranked 28th for passing, 19th for rushing. One thing I noticed is that our RBs aren't cohesively working with Janovich. When he makes a hole, the RB should be behind him; however, there has been a couple occasions where the RBs either didn't trust him or a lack of communication, but they swung out and into defenders. Loss on the play.
This issue needs to be addressed to improve the run consistently. At 6'1" the RBs aren't going to be able to see behind Janovich but need to trust the rookie. Maybe, it could be as simple as that. He's a rookie and as the season goes on, he'll earn their trust. From all the coaches and his backs.
He's a secret jewel in the Super Bowl crown they're trying to build, hopefully Kubes is taking him out of his velvet case and he gets to shine against the Texans. Our offense needs every carat it can get.