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Tale of the Tape: Bootleg troubles from Paxton Lynch

Today we’re taking a look at what went wrong in the Jacksonville game for Paxton Lynch.

Denver Broncos v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Things didn’t go as well as we would have hoped for the Denver Broncos rookie quarterback making his second start of the season on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

While Paxton Lynch protected the ball and made the right reads for the most part, his footwork was shaky, which led to erratic accuracy.

Here’s what Gary Kubiak said about the performance:

“I just think it was just a guy who went out and played in his second start. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve seen young players. I look at the course of the game. He was really locked in to what we were doing early, on top of what we were doing early, as the game got longer, now it’s time to adjust. He’s still a young, raw player. There’s some opportunities in the game where he has to give us a better chance with the ball. It’s really just making those plays. If you have the opportunity to do them again, make them again, knowing 3rd-and-two with the game on the line and a seven-point lead, give [WR] Emmanuel [Sanders] a chance with that ball. He learned a lot from this game. He missed two big plays in the game off the bootlegs that could have been touchdowns for us. He’ll learn from that and he’ll be better because of it.”

The missed bootlegs are what we’ll specifically look at today and see just what went wrong.

Play #1

This one is from the first drive of the second half. Emmanuel Sanders is the deep target here, lined up in the slot.

The Jaguars are playing some version of man coverage (you’ll see in a minute why I say that) with a single high safety. He’s the guy to watch, circled in blue above.

Virgil Green is running the go route on the left and this draws the attention of the free safety. He’s going to bite on the route from Green and leave the deep middle wide open.

I’m not sure what the Jags corners are doing here. No one tracks Demaryius Thomas across the field even though they line up over DT and Sanders like it’s man coverage. They don’t really cover Sanders well either, even though it’s two on one.

This is right before the throw. No defenders within about ten yards of the QB, and Lynch sees the same thing everyone else does, Sanders running free behind the defense. DT is also all alone at the first down marker, but Lynch makes the right read here going for the score.

Lynch would sure like to have this one back. Everything was there for the taking. The problem, he didn’t set his feet correctly and threw falling away. He likely got nervous and antsy with how wide open Sanders was and just rushed it too much.

As a result, he short armed it and was lucky it wasn’t intercepted.

Play #2

This next play is just as painful.

This is in the first half and was one of the first plays on our eventual touchdown drive. This time it’s a bootleg to the right, run action to the left.

Once again, the guy to watch is that safety in the middle.

That FS is going to watch the tape this week and realize he’s the luckiest guy out there, because he bit hard on this one too and almost paid for it.

The coverage is pretty tight right now, but DT is going to make an amazing double move that beats his corner.

I want to just take a second and give props to our WRs. They are clearly getting frustrated out there, and I don’t blame them, because they are balling out. Hopefully our QB situation picks up sooner rather than later to take advantage of these beasts on the outside that we have.

That double move created great separation and the FS chose the wrong route to bite down on. No one is back there to cover DT. Lynch did a good job delaying he throw to bait the FS into biting down as well.

Another one Lynch would love to have back. Again, his feet weren’t fully set and he short-arms the throw.

It’s such a shame too. That route by DT was so pretty.


If Lynch sets his feet on two plays, we’re having a much different conversation this week. This could have easily been a Trevor vs. the Cincinnati Bengals kind of performance.

The good news is that this kind of stuff is common for young quarterbacks. Dak Prescott spent the first half of the season throwing off his back foot with ugly deep balls.

If Siemian isn’t able to go this week against the Tennessee Titans, hopefully we see some growth from Lynch in this area. From what I saw on tape, if he can set his feet better, it should clean up the majority of his accuracy issues.

Here’s to having better offensive plays to break down next week!