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How can the Broncos beat the Ravens?

I spoke with former NFL QB Tim Jenkins to find out.

This week marks the first real test of the 2021 campaign for the Denver Broncos. The Baltimore Ravens have a supremely talented quarterback in Lamar Jackson who runs a unique offense that can isolate and humiliate any defender on the field. Their defense is coordinated Wink Martindale, a man who won’t hesitate to bring heat from anywhere.

To get a better handle on how Teddy Bridgewater and company can come out ahead, I reached out to former NFL quarterback and host of All Things QB Tim Jenkins for a special episode of Cover 2 Broncos.

The topics we discussed are below:

When the Broncos have the ball

Even before the Jeudy and Hamler injuries the Broncos were using more 12 and 13 personnel than last season. Will Shurmur go even more 12 and 13 heavy while Jeudy’s gone?

Broncos personnel breakdown through three weeks.

  • 11 (three receivers, one tight end, one back)

50% of all plays. Pass on 64% of snaps. Average 3.8 rushing YPC (35 attempts)

  • 12 (two receivers, two tight ends, one back)

30% of plays. Pass on 53% of snaps 27 rushes - 3.7 YPC

  • 13 (one receiver, three tight ends, one back)

13% of plays. Pass on 21% of snaps 22 rushes - 5.2 YPC 1 TD ( Melvin Gordon 70-yard TD in week 1)

Broncos activated Andrew Beck in week 3 and did use 21, 22, and 23.*

When the Broncos pass

  • How will Bridgewater handle the various looks Martindale will send at the Broncos via simulated pressures, blitzes, stunts.
  • What will the Ravens show the Broncos, and how will Pat Shurmur to try and attack it?
  • What is the best way for the Broncos to attack cover 0?
  • Ravens run more cover 6 than the average NFL team. Incidentally, the Broncos do as well. What are good ways to try and attack it?
  • One thing that has stood out about Denver’s offense through 3 starts is how often they’re using the heavy sets to give Bridgewater play action.
  • Are there any WR/TE vs. DB matchups that favor the Broncos?
  • How concerning is the pass protection? Could max protect help?
Baltimore’s coverage usage through 3 weeks.
Ryan Weisman / The Kneeldown
How the Ravens coverages have performed compared to the NFL average through 3 weeks.
Ryan Weisman / The Kneeldown

When the Broncos run

  • How/ Where could the Broncos find success “on the ground” vs. Baltimore?
  • Denver’s OL vs. Baltimore’s DL looks like a mismatch on the ground, especially if Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow sit.
  • Ravens currently lead the league in stuffs. Broncos have allowed more than any team outside of Carolina.
The Broncos run game breakdown through 3 weeks
Ryan Weisman / The Kneeldown
How effective the Broncos running game has been through 3 weeks.
Ryan Weisman / The Kneeldown

When the Ravens have the ball

This Ravens team is better than their score against the Lions’ suggests.

Ravens personnel breakdown through three weeks.

  • 11 (three receivers, one tight ends, one back)

36% of all plays. Pass on 67% of snaps. Average 7.4 rushing YPC, 1 TD (23 attempts)

  • 12 (two receivers, two tight ends, one back)

5% of plays. Pass on 60% of snaps 4 rushes - 8.8 YPC - 2 TD

  • 21 (two receivers, one tight end, two backs)

23% of plays. Pass on 59% of snaps. 18 rushes - 8 YPC

  • 22 (one receiver, two tight ends, two backs)

22% of plays. Pass on 21% of snaps. 33 rushes - 4.7 YPC 2 TD

  • 20 (three receivers, two backs)

11% of plays. Pass on 24% of snaps. 16 rushes - 2.4 YPC 1 TD

Lamar Jackson’s running game

  • Ravens don’t just use traditional zone read, they will isolate and read players all over the defense. What will they do against the Broncos?
  • One thing that makes the Ravens nasty is how they do a good job building their PA game off the run action looks.
Run concepts the Ravens have used through 3 weeks
Ryan Weisman / The Kneeldown
How effective each Ravens rushing concept has been through 3 weeks
Ryan Weisman / The Kneeldown

Lamar Jackson’s passing game

  • What will Greg Roman dial up against the Broncos?
  • What coverages will the Broncos use against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens?
  • What’s scary about RPOs this week.
  • Deep overs when Von Miller isn’t on the field.
  • Thoughts on WRs vs. DBs, and Mark Andrews.
  • Fangio tends to spin his safeties out of two high, but may go with more penny personnel this week.