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Denver Broncos “quarter”-season snap count review with some extra stats - offense

Because, uh-huh, uh-huh, you like it...

Denver Broncos v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

At this point in the season the Denver Broncos are currently without WR2, WR3, TE2, one of our starting ILBs and one of our starting OLBs. That’s quite a bit of lost production to replace with backups. I’m going to break it down by position group starting with the offense.

The offensive line has been stable at tackle and center but our starting guards have both missed time with injuries.

Both Netane Muti and Quinn Meinerz have started at least one game during the first five.

Our pass protection has been terrible according to pro-football-reference.com. Their advanced passing stats show that Teddy Bridgewater has been pressured the second most often among starting quarterbacks in the league - on 32.1 percent of his dropbacks.

Rk Player Tm Cmp Att Yds Sk PktTime Bltz Hrry Hits Prss Prss% Scrm Yds/Scr
1 Russell Wilson SEA 90 125 1196 13 2.2 30 22 13 48 32.40% 10 7.4
2 Teddy Bridgewater DEN 104 149 1180 11 2.4 55 27 16 54 32.10% 8 7.1
3 Kirk Cousins MIN 133 191 1396 9 2.3 65 34 20 63 30.90% 4 10.0
4 Trey Lance SFO 25 48 354 3 2.6 15 9 6 18 30.00% 9 9.0
5 Tyrod Taylor HOU 31 44 416 1 2.1 14 7 6 14 28.60% 4 14.0
6 Sam Darnold CAR 120 183 1366 14 2.4 48 22 21 57 28.10% 6 7.0
7 Davis Mills HOU 59 96 669 11 2.2 29 10 9 30 27.80% 1 2.0
8 Jacoby Brissett MIA 103 158 858 12 2.4 39 22 14 48 26.50% 11 4.9
9 Jared Goff DET 131 196 1303 14 2.4 46 21 22 57 26.30% 7 7.0
10 Carson Wentz IND 113 173 1322 12 2 43 13 25 50 25.80% 9 7.1
11 Justin Fields CHI 37 72 458 14 1.9 22 4 6 24 25.80% 7 7.1
12 Zach Wilson NYJ 98 171 1117 18 1.9 45 23 8 49 25.30% 5 4.4
13 Josh Allen BUF 114 183 1370 5 1.9 25 22 21 48 24.50% 8 6.8
14 Mac Jones NWE 135 190 1243 11 2.3 63 10 27 48 23.50% 3 7.0
15 Justin Herbert LAC 139 207 1576 9 2.3 50 18 25 52 23.20% 8 7.4
16 Jalen Hurts PHI 118 182 1365 10 2.4 57 27 12 49 23.10% 20 7.7
17 Jameis Winston NOR 70 116 892 9 2 31 9 12 30 22.40% 9 9.1
18 Derek Carr LVR 131 205 1605 15 1.9 54 20 15 50 22.10% 6 3.8
19 Ryan Tannehill TEN 110 173 1251 20 2.3 52 3 21 44 21.90% 8 14.4
20 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 124 195 1286 11 2.1 39 15 19 45 21.60% 2 6.5
21 Jimmy Garoppolo SFO 78 118 925 6 2.2 31 9 12 27 21.10% 4 4.0
22 Trevor Lawrence JAX 104 175 1146 8 2.4 38 20 12 40 20.70% 10 6.9
23 Kyler Murray ARI 124 165 1512 10 2.3 30 24 4 38 20.50% 10 7.8
24 Aaron Rodgers GNB 107 163 1241 10 1.8 24 11 14 35 19.80% 4 2.8
25 Lamar Jackson BAL 112 167 1519 13 2 47 15 11 39 19.50% 20 9.4
26 Daniel Jones NYG 101 157 1282 8 2 49 15 12 35 19.30% 16 6.9
27 Patrick Mahomes KAN 135 195 1490 7 1.7 27 19 14 40 18.10% 19 8.2
28 Baker Mayfield CLE 97 145 1240 13 2.4 38 15 3 31 18.10% 13 5.0
29 Joe Burrow CIN 104 145 1269 14 1.8 30 7 8 29 17.90% 3 6.7
30 Matt Ryan ATL 141 204 1332 8 1.9 45 9 20 37 17.20% 3 9.3
31 Taylor Heinicke WAS 102 159 1208 5 1.9 26 13 10 28 15.30% 19 6.5
32 Matthew Stafford LAR 117 172 1587 4 2.4 45 8 13 25 14.00% 3 5.7
33 Tom Brady TAM 149 225 1767 9 2.3 47 13 11 33 13.80% 5 7.6
34 Andy Dalton CHI 37 50 270 4 1.5 17 3 1 8 13.80% 4 9.5
35 Dak Prescott DAL 122 165 1368 8 1.7 57 6 10 24 13.30% 7 6.1

Given the amount of pressure he has been under from opposing defenses, his performance has been quite amazing. For comparison, Dak Prescott has only been pressured on 13.3 percent of his dropbacks.

The playing time has been pretty evenly split for our two starting running backs.

Damarea Crockett has only seen offensive snaps in our one blowout win. The running game has been fairly solid through the first five games. The Broncos are currently eight in yards per carry and that is not as buoyed by the 70 touchdown run as it once was (still the longest run of the season by any team). If you remove every teams longest run, the Broncos only fall to twelfth.

Rk Tm Att Yds TD Lng Y/A YDS-LNG AVG-LNG
1 Cleveland Browns 175 938 12 52 5.36 886 5.09
2 Dallas Cowboys 163 864 6 47 5.30 817 5.04
3 Philadelphia Eagles 113 582 5 27 5.15 555 4.96
4 Kansas City Chiefs 126 641 3 24 5.09 617 4.94
5 Jacksonville Jaguars 122 647 6 58 5.30 589 4.87
6 Baltimore Ravens 152 744 6 35 4.89 709 4.70
7 Tennessee Titans 172 839 8 60 4.88 779 4.56
8 Seattle Seahawks 116 520 5 33 4.48 487 4.23
9 Buffalo Bills 156 702 7 46 4.50 656 4.23
10 Detroit Lions 119 515 4 26 4.33 489 4.14
11 Los Angeles Chargers 127 542 5 21 4.27 521 4.13
12 Denver Broncos 130 593 3 70 4.56 523 4.05
13 Indianapolis Colts 133 571 3 38 4.29 533 4.04
14 Chicago Bears 149 634 6 41 4.26 593 4.01
15 San Francisco 49ers 144 610 6 38 4.24 572 4.00
16 Minnesota Vikings 134 569 1 48 4.25 521 3.92
17 New Orleans Saints 156 629 5 23 4.03 606 3.91
18 Arizona Cardinals 151 640 8 54 4.24 586 3.91
19 Washington Football Team 135 544 5 27 4.03 517 3.86
20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 103 410 4 21 3.98 389 3.81
21 Cincinnati Bengals 126 495 3 27 3.93 468 3.74
22 New York Giants 120 479 5 46 3.99 433 3.64
23 Los Angeles Rams 128 490 4 29 3.83 461 3.63
24 Atlanta Falcons 123 455 2 17 3.70 438 3.59
25 Green Bay Packers 126 503 3 57 3.99 446 3.57
26 Carolina Panthers 147 539 7 26 3.67 513 3.51
27 Miami Dolphins 95 352 3 24 3.71 328 3.49
28 Pittsburgh Steelers 101 368 3 25 3.64 343 3.43
29 New York Jets 104 370 3 17 3.56 353 3.43
30 New England Patriots 109 400 3 35 3.67 365 3.38
31 Las Vegas Raiders 121 393 4 31 3.25 362 3.02
32 Houston Texans 128 399 3 29 3.12 370 2.91
Avg Team 131.4 561.8 4.7 36 4.28

The Broncos are currently the worst team in the league at converting on third down. They have converted on only 18 of 63 attempts - 28.6 percent. In terms of total third down conversions, they are tied with three other teams at 18, but have more chances hence the worst conversion rate. Conversely the Chiefs are converting at a sick rate of 58.8 percent on their third down attempts.

One reason the Broncos have been so bad at converting on third down is that we have the second longest average yardage needed on third down at 8.0 yards. Only the Vikings have been worse.

Twenty-four of the Broncos 63 3rd downs have been 10 or more yards needed (38%). On the flipside the Broncos have only had 13 third and short (3 or fewer yards needed) situations. One positive note is that nine of the Broncos eighteen third down conversions have come on third and long (7 or more needed).

The tight end group has seen an increased usage of Noah Fant after the loss of Albert Okweugbunam.

Unfortunately we have not really used any of our tight ends as receivers in the red zone where they all should be weapons. I would have liked to see Fant targeted with one of those end of the game goal-to-go passes last game. A fade to 5’8” Diontae Spencer was exactly what the Steelers wanted us to do. With three taller receivers on the field (Sutton, Patrick and Fant are all 6-4), why would we be throwing to the smallest receiver we have in the endzone with the game on the line?

Losing Albert O. has also meant significantly less two and three tight end formations from our offense. During the past two games, Pat Shurmur has reverted to what we did in 2020, which was three WR sets as our “base” offense. If you count Andrew Beck as a TE, our TEs combined to play 123 offensive snaps in week three. The team only had 67 offensive snaps, meaning that our normal formation was two TE. Compare that to the 78 total TE snaps on offense that we saw against the Steelers where the offense ran 60 plays.

The Broncos currently rank 29th in red zone touchdown percentage with a TD rate of 42.1%. Only the Giants, Patriots and Colts have been worse. The Saints are scoring touchdowns on a crazy pace of 92.9 percent of the time when they reach the red zone (13 of 14).

Our WR group has been plagued by injuries and currently only has one healthy guy who the league valued coming out of college - Courtland Sutton. The rest of the healthy group is either seventh round picks (David Moore and Tyrie Cleveland) or undrafted guys (Tim Patrick, Kendall Hinton and Diontae Spencer).

With the loss of both Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, Kendall Hinton has become WR3. I love Hinton’s story, but he’s not a threat to opposing defenses the way that either Jeudy or Hamler are. The only speed threats that we currently have at WR are Spencer, who has not proven he can catch deep passes in the NFL, and Moore, who is still learning the playbook after we grabbed him from the Las Vegas Raiders practice squad. I expect either Spencer or Moore to be released once Jeudy is healthy. Hinton has proven he can handle the punt return duties and frankly he has proven he is a more reliable target in the passing game that Spencer.

It would appear that both Spencer (game three) and Moore (game four) got shots at being WR3 until Jeudy is back, but Hinton won the job.