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Why Albert Okwuegbunam has not been playing much in recent weeks

A few numbers that explain a move that the coaches have made at tight end with Albert Okwuegbunam.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have 562 yards rushing on 132 carries so far this season. allows you to see how effective different lineup combinations have been so far this season. The Bronco offense has used 116 unique groupings of 11 so far this year, but the vast majority (81) of those lineup combos have only been used once or twice. The useful thing about this this is that it allows us to see inside the play of various player groupings similar to how it is done in the NBA.

According to that site, Albert Okwuegbunam has been on the field 23 times when we have run the ball this season. His other 99 offensive snaps have been passing plays. Overall he has been in on 36 percent of the offensive snaps so far this year. The Broncos have run 318 offensive plays (including kneel-downs) and 132 of those plays have been run plays. So be extension, 186 have been plays on which the ball was thrown. 10 of those 132 runs were scrambles by Russell Wilson.

On the 23 run plays where Albert O. has been on the field the Broncos have gained 53 yards - 2.31 ypc. I don’t know how many of those were designed runs and how many were scrambles. On the Broncos other 109 rushing attempts the team has gained 509 yards - 4.67 ypc. That means that the Broncos are gaining almost two and a half yards more on runs when Albert O. is not blocking. That explains why Albert O. has been used so little over the last four games - 44 of his 122 snaps came in game 1.

When you have a TE that is an absolute liability as a run blocker, his insertion into the game becomes a dead giveaway that you are going to pass. So you are forced to only use him in obvious passing situations. What’s really sad about this is that Albert his the physical attributes (height, size and vertical) to be be a real threat in the red zone, but because the Broncos ostensibly can’t run the ball when he is in there, the coaches have been loathe to play him in the red zone.

When he has been targeted (11 times - 8 catchable), he generally has been good as a receiver. He has seven catches on catchable targets (the other was dropped) for 50 yards and two first downs. However, his inability to run block has meant that he has lost his spot as TE1 to Eric Saubert who has played 48% of the offensive snaps so far.