The flogging of Rich Scangarello as play caller was front and center Thursday when the offensive coordinator took his usual spot on the podium.
But the OC didn’t take the bait. Instead he defended Joe Flacco, defended the play calling (to a point) and agreed there are always regrets.
“I think the offense needs to do what it needs to do every week to win. I think in general, it’s hard to say ‘in general.’ Every situation is different, every opponent is different, injuries, the people you have up and all that,” Scangarello said. “I thought we were aggressive in the game, took some shots and it just didn’t go our way.”
If you read Joe Rowles’ breakdown of the now-famous “3rd-and-5” call in the second-to-last-drive that Flacco was specifically referring to, you’ll know that Scangarello could have a case for calling out his offensive line for not getting the job done to let Phillip Lindsay make a few yards so Broncos could go for it on fourth down and force the Colts to burn a timeout.
If the #Broncos really were thinking about going for it on 4th down, this call ain't that bad. Problem is it didn't work, as @JeffreyEssary alluded to.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 30, 2019
Let's look at why.
But there’s still some argument for a better design to get Lindsay the yards there, and Scangarello will have a chance to show improvement in play calling as he has a tall task on Sunday.
He’ll also show whether rumors of being a quarterback whisperer have some merit.
With a backup quarterback on deck and coming in for his first NFL start, Scangarello will have to do his job well to give Brandon Allen his best shot on Sunday.
“Right now Brandon is getting prepared to play his first start in the league. Knowing that, knowing he’s facing a very talented defense that throws a lot at you, I think it’s just a matter of us playing together, doing our best to protect him, allowing him to be at his best, be comfortable and getting him in a groove,” Scangarello said. “Then we’ll go where the ball has to go.”
Allen, the backup quarterback since Week 1, has only taken a few snaps in practices prior to this week - though the former Arkansas quarterback drafted in 2016 says Scangarello’s’ system has some similarities to Sean McVay’s offense in Los Angeles, where he was prior to joining the Broncos just before the season started.
“Again, you’ve got to put the best plan around him with the people you have that match up the best style with their play,” Scangarello said of his main job this week. “[I’ve] been through this a little bit in the last couple of years and I’m excited for Brandon. He is smart, he is on it and I can’t wait to see what he does. I think he’s going to do a great job.”
Scangarello did hint that there a few plays he can add into the offense because of Allen’s mobility.
“That’s one thing about Brandon. He does have a good feel in the pocket and he can go off schedule, so we’re excited about that element of this game,” Scangarello said, while also noting that the key will be getting Allen into rhythm for his first NFL start.
And given the Browns’ pass rush led by Myles Garrett, that won’t be so easy.
“These guys have a tremendous pass rush,” Scangarello said. “They have one of the better players in the league, they have a really good scheme, they have a really good third-down package of pressures, so they’re going to challenge us in a lot of ways.”
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