T-minus three days until the Denver Broncos play the New York Giants to open the 2021 season. At a glance, New York and Denver are two sides of the same coin split by distance. Both teams have decision makers facing make-or-break campaigns with questions at quarterback while neither is favored to win their division. Both rosters are built to win with their defense.
Dig beneath the surface and the differences sprout up like weeds. Where Fangio is on the hot seat in Denver, it’s Dave Gettleman sweating the axe in New York. Daniel Jones is the sixth overall pick from 2019, whereas Teddy Bridgewater is a veteran trade acquisition the Broncos brought in to compete with their own 2019 QB. While the Broncos have devoted more cap dollars to their defense than all but four teams in the league, the Giants actually devoted more of their payroll to the offense.
The differences hardly stop there, which is just one reason I reached out to USA Today and Big Blue View’s Mark Schofield to talk ball on this week’s Cover 2 Broncos. A former QB, Schofield’s comfortable working at the intersection between film and analytics. He’s also someone who thought it made sense for the Broncos to give Drew Lock a third season when I spoke with him before the 2021 Draft.
A quick list of the things we talked about:
- It looks like a slew of players that include Bradley Chubb, Evan Engram, Kenny Golladay, Adoree’ Jackson, Kyle Rudolph, and Andrew Thomas are all on the injury report. We know Engram probably won’t play. How does that impact the matchup?
- Where do the Broncos have notable advantages?
- What can Pat Shurmur do to attack the Giants’ defense?
- Are there any concepts that the Broncos should lean on to attack Patrick Graham’s defense?
- How do you expect Jason Garrett to utilize his personnel?
- Where can the Giants gain an advantage?
- How do you expect Jason Garrett to attack the Fangio defense?
- What can Fangio do to stymie Daniel Jones?
- Is Pat Shurmur “the problem” with the Broncos offense?
- How can teams better utilize motion and play action?
- Is Bridgewater too boring to be effective?
- One advantage Teddy Bridgewater had against Drew Lock in the preseason.
- If things go as hoped in Denver, which 2022 quarterbacks stand out as good fits?
During the lead up to my discussion with Schofield, I found a piece he wrote for USA Today that broke down how Teddy Bridgewater and Daniel Jones fared against pressure using Pro Football Focus’ QB grades. I suspect it will be an unsung key to the game.