Like much of Broncos Country, KOA hosts Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright are pretty irked about Denver’s loss on Sunday.
Actually, Allbright is just mad now. And despite the Denver radio host not being a gigantic fan of Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, his gripe is not even close to primarily with the players.
It’s with the coaching staff.
“I am angry. I am genuinely irritated because I see a coaching staff that is smarter than what they’re doing continuing to let their players down,” Allbright said, specifically pointing to the poor use of Javonte Williams.
“He is absolutely a stud at outside zone running and...’let’s fire up the ISO...you know what we need to do right here, run him up the gut again!’” Allbright said in his best impression of the Shurmur approach to the running game as Edwards noted that the minute they tossed the ball to Williams on the outside, he ran for 49 yards and an almost touchdown. “It’s weird how that works.”
MHR’s Joe Rowles disputes that Williams’ best running is in outside zone, but the fact remains that Shurmur’s use of the run and of his running backs has not been the most effective to say the least.
It’s compounded by the fact that teams have figured out Bridgewater’s limitations and have sold out on stopping the run and daring the Broncos to beat them with the pass.
And beating teams with the pass is something Bridgewater could do if the passing game also played to his strengths - intermediate passes combined with good run concepts that get the Broncos to 3rd-and-short/3rd-and-manageable rather than do-or-die fourth-down plays.
“Quit calling random deep shots early to back [defenses] off,” Allbright said. “It’s not working. ...We’ve got to find ways to get this team’s success rate on first and second downs and get the ball up to 3rd-and-2, 3rd-and-4.”
As Edwards pointed out, the Broncos operate on thin margins. Players need to be at their best, but more importantly, coaches need to be calling plays that recognize the strengths of their players.
“You have to get away from what you’re comfortable with,” Allbright said of the play-calling. “If what you’re comfortable with as a play caller, an offensive coordinator, isn’t working, then it’s time to find something that is. Play to the strengths of your team.”
I’m always a fan of a good rant, and Allbright got on one at this point as his frustration over the play calling Sunday reached its peak. Read this as if it were in all caps:
“Why is Noah Fant spending an entire game out there blocking TJ Watt? You’ve got a blocking tight end for that in Eric Saubert, who oh by the way, showed promise in the preseason. How about 12-personnel and use two tight ends? Get Noah Fant into the pass pattern instead of being used to chip TJ Watt for three-and-a-half quarters? You’re running goal-line fades for a wide receiver who is shorter than I am! Tim Patrick catches everything thrown his way. We should rename him Magneto and make the balls medal because everything sticks to him. Start hitting him on the slant!”
Allbright also threw down some stats that also require some answers from Shurmur - the Broncos’ offense on third-down conversions and in the red zone is so far 10% worse this season than last season, despite last year having a quarterback carousel of Drew Lock, Jeff Driskell, Brett Rypien and practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton.
“Being efficient on offense is all well and good, but if you’re not scoring points, you’re just finding a prettier way to lose,” Allbright added.
Edwards, who doesn’t like the “this week is a must-win game” conversation most of the time, believes this weekend at home against the Raiders is actually a must-win game for the Broncos - mostly for the fans to believe in this team.
“The Broncos have to win this game,” Edwards said. “There is no way around it.”