Trevor Siemian was never asked to do anything too risky in 2016 and the Denver Broncos offense finished with the most three and outs, but Siemian had 3400 yards with an 18-10 touchdown to interception ratio. That conservative mentality changed in 2017 and more pressure was put on Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch who all then became a turnover machines. The Broncos didn’t lead the league in three and outs, but the turnovers were leading to blowout losses.
That is the delicate balancing act new Broncos starter Case Keenum must follow heading into this season. You can’t win games if you don’t score points and you can’t score points in the NFL if you don’t take some risks.
Keenum seems to understand that. He noted the importance of taking care of the football, but also the need for points in this league.
“It’s different every week depending on the gameplan and depending on what the points of emphasis are from V.J. (Vance Joseph) and Billy (Bill Musgrave) and those guys,” Keenum said of game planning. “Obviously, taking care of the football and staying on the field. Getting first downs and getting touchdowns. You’ve got to score points in this league to win and you’ve got to take care of the football, especially against a team like Seattle.”
The best way a quarterback can be successful is to have a strong rushing attack behind him. That is one area the Broncos seemed to have gotten a heck of a lot better at in just a single draft with the addition of third-round pick Royce Freeman and undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay.
Freeman has already been named the starter and there is near universal praise for what Lindsay is going to be able to do to opposing defenses in space.
“We’ve got coaches coming up with a great gameplan as far as running and passing,” Keenum said. “They’ve always, historically, been a really good defense against the run—very stingy. They like to play a lot of guys down low and stop the run. They do a good job getting in their spots that they drop to or if they play man. Zone or man, they are good at covering the pass. It’s going to be tough. We have to establish the run and be able to throw the ball too.”
How the Broncos rushing attack performs in Week 1 will go a long way in determining how successful this offense will be this season. Keenum sees it that way too, because picking up a first down on a third and two is a lot different than trying to do it from a third and eight.