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The tight end could be a big deal in Shurmur’s offense

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Broncos Country Tonight hosts Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright broke down the Shurmur offense and its proclivity to use the tight end.

Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Ryan Edwards tried to bet Steve Atwater $100 last night on Broncos Country Tonight that Noah Fant would end up being the second most-important receiver on the Broncos’ offense in 2020.

Atwater didn’t want to take the bet, but he also wasn’t as confident as his radio host that it would turn out to be true.

But Edwards - after looking at the stats from tight ends on Shurmur’s recent teams - believes Fant may just end up being the major offensive weapon for the Broncos.

“The focal point of the tight end in this offense cannot be denied,” Edwards said, pointing to Evan Engram’s production 2018-2019 and Kyle Rudolph’s production 2016-2017 under Shurmur.

So let’s look at some of the numbers from Pro Football Reference on Engram and Rudolph:

Engram played just eight games for the Giants last year and had 44 receptions for 467 yards and three touchdowns - and as Edwards pointed out, trending toward 900 yards and leading the team as the top receiving target.

Rudolph in 2016 with Shurmur as the tight end coach had 83 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2017 with Shurmur as his interim offensive coordinator, Rudolph had 57 catches for 532 yards and eight touchdowns.

Although Fant started slow - understandable for a rookie in a position that requires learning essentially two playbooks - he ended the season with 40 catches for 562 yards and three touchdowns. These are definitely numbers that have potential to be exploited by Shurmur’s offense.

“And one of the things I’m excited to talk about is the focal point of the tight end in the red zone,” Edwards said on Broncos Country Tonight on Tuesday. “We have been pounding the table for the use of the tight end in the red zone. That happens in this offense. Tight ends get touchdowns in this offense.”

Edwards also highlighted the fact that running backs catching out of backfield is a really big deal for Shurmur - something Phillip Lindsay has definitely said he would like to do more of - but Edwards emphasized the tight ends will be a big part of what Shurmur is expect to roll with in his offense.

Benjamin Allbright added that he really doesn’t care how Shurmur does it, he just wants an offense that works.

“I’d just like to see an offense with some continuity that can move the ball however they do it,” Allbright said, adding that more tight end involvement would be great. “I’d like to see Noah Fant take a big leap in year two. I’d like see Phillip Lindsay catch passes out of the backfield like he did at CU. I don’t care how they get the yards, just that we get them.”

MHR’s Jeff Essary and Joe Rowles also touch on this in the latest episode of Cover 2 Broncos as they break down Shurmur’s offense and the impact it will have across all the different offensive position groups. Jeff said on the show that if you’re a fantasy player you may want to target Noah Fant, so I don’t think he’d take that bet from Ryan Edwards.

Poll

Would you take the $100 bet with Ryan Edwards?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    No - I agree Fant will likely be the second-highest target for our offense in 2020.
    (158 votes)
  • 21%
    Yes - Would love to see Fant be a big factor, but hoping for another speedy receiver to be the No. 2 target.
    (155 votes)
  • 56%
    I’m with Allbright - JUST GET THE BALL DOWN FIELD HOWEVER YOU CAN.
    (406 votes)
719 votes total Vote Now