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Jerry Jeudy’s return a potential spark for Denver’s offense

The offense took a fresh step forward with Jerry Jeudy back in the lineup this week

Denver Broncos v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

I know that the coaching staff has minimized the impact Jerry Jeudy’s injury had on this offense, but after watching the Dallas game, I’m finding myself more and more skeptical of that.

He’s not exactly lighting up the box score, but that’s to be expected given he’s only played in three games. He’s caught 16 passes on 19 targets for 180 yards and zero touchdowns (yet). Most notably, Jeudy hasn’t registered a single drop.

His advanced metrics are pretty good as well, albeit in a limited sample size. His 12.8% DVOA would rank ahead of some notable names like Michael Pittman Jr, Mike Evans, CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, Robert Woods, and JaMarr Chase. He’s posting an outstanding 84% catch rate, which would rank 3rd among all receivers. Jeudy’s averaging a respectable ADOT of 8.6, and he’s posted a rating of 106.1 when targeted. 9 of his 16 catches have gone for first down.

We all know how good Jerry Jeudy is as a route-runner. He has such a knack for easy, quick separation from defensive backs, and that skill is why he was such an excellent, first-round wide receiver prospect.

It’s his impact when he doesn’t get the ball and not on the field.

It’s a totally different offense with Jeudy in

I looked at some of the splits of the offense when Jeudy was playing versus when he was out and, while it doesn’t paint the whole picture, this stat feels like the most telling.

Teddy Bridgewater EPA/Play from Weeks 2-7: .177 (15th)
Teddy Bridgewater EPA/Play from Weeks 8-9: .232 (4th)

(Teddy’s EPA/Play in week 1 with Jeudy playing was an incredible .597, good for 2nd that week)

It seems pretty obvious that he makes a pretty significant impact when he’s on the field versus when he’s off despite the coaching staffs best intentions to suggest the opposite.

What piqued my interest was him on the field. With him pretty healthy in his second game back from injury, Shurmur put him to the test and used him often. Most notably, he used Jeudy pretty frequently in motion.

I charted the motion and results of the plays he motioned in on, and they were rather intriguing.

Jeudy was motioned 11 times (7 pass, 4 run). They went 6 of 7 for a crisp 11.7 YPA including a TD and gained 54 yards on those 4 runs for 13.5 YPC.

Denver pretty heavily motioned him out of shotgun formation, using him on some orbit motions to pull guys out of the play. He also set up Tim Patrick’s deep touchdown with some pre-snap motion, identifying the man coverage and indicating the one on one matchup.

His impact on the run game was particularly notable too. Watch how he pulls LB Leighton Vander Esch completely out of the play on one of Javonte’s big runs off motion.

Denver’s motion rates have generally been towards the bottom of the NFL. Going into the Dallas games, they were ranked in the 20s in both motion at the snap and pre-snap.

With the kind of results Denver had this week, why wouldn’t they continue to use motion moving forward? That’s the kind of impact Jerry Jeudy has on this offense. Nobody’s going to really adjust for Tim Patrick motioning across, and Courtland Sutton is demanding CB1 attention. But Jerry Jeudy? Now that’s a player they’ll be concerned about because of how dynamic of a player he is.

With Jerry Jeudy, the explosiveness of the offense comes back some. He has the ability to threaten defenses in all areas of the field whether it’s deep or after the catch. Defenses have to account for him at all times, which sets up easier matchups for their other receivers.

As long as Shurmur keeps utilizing Jeudy like this and Jeudy stays healthy, who knows how effective this offense can be? Denver has two games against teams with a top-10 DVOA against the pass, and both of those games are the Chargers (who, notably, are 21st against WR1s and 31st against TEs).

Could Jerry Jeudy be the catalyst to push the offense further into playoff contention? I know optimism is hard to come by in Broncos Country, so I won’t push it and call that just yet.

However, if we’re looking back at what changed the fortunes for this team, we know what, or rather who, to circle.