The Denver Broncos offensive line has been heavily scrutinized early in the 2019 season. Holding penalties and giving up sacks have contributed to an (0-3) start for the Broncos. This Sunday, the Broncos offensive line will need to muster all of their grit and coaching against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Following last week’s Thursday night victory, Jaguars pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue stated, “Sacksonville’s back, baby! It’s back!”
Against the Tennessee Titans, the Jags sacked quarterback Marcus Mariota nine times. Jacksonville currently has a total of 13 sacks in the first three games of the year.
Colorado native and Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell is looking to wreck the Broncos offense. In his last game, Campbell totaled 3 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, and 4 tackles for losses.
“He’s a hell of a player, he always has been,” said Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio this week at UCHealth Training Center. He added, “They have two good outside rushers. They have [Marcell] Dareus inside. They have linebackers when they bring impact. They’ve got a good defense. They’ve been good on defense there for the last few years.”
NFL Writer Kevin Patra, reported that Campbell is the only player with 20-plus sacks (28.0) and 150-plus tackles (153) since 2017.
So how do the Broncos combat the Jags sack happy defensive line?
Run the ball.
The Broncos are currently ranked 14th in the NFL for rushing yards (111.3).
Last week, Phillip Lindsay carried the ball 21 times for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns. Royce Freeman also had a good day averaging 4.2 yards per carry on 15 runs for 63 yards.
Freeman should be the Broncos featured running back against the Jaguars. Using his size (6’0, 229lbs) he has the ability to withstand contact and fight to the second level of defenders.
Lindsay, is a playmaker that should be used sparingly between the tackles. Instead, the Broncos need to utilize his agility and quickness on the perimeter, and in between defensive substitutions.
If the Broncos can force the Jags to respect the run game, then the offense can exploit a mismatch in the Jags secondary unit with the absence of Pro-Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey. NFL Insider Adam Schefter stated earlier this week that he would be “surprised if Ramsey played on Sunday.”
If the Broncos offense attacks the Jaguars defensive with confidence, patience, and discipline, Denver will earn their first win in 2019.