Good morning, Broncos Country!
Football analyst Warren Sharp joined Broncos Country Tonight this week to talk about his new season preview book and discuss some of his views regarding the Broncos’ upcoming season - namely that he believes the Broncos will have double-digit wins this season but will still finish third in the AFC West behind the Chiefs and Chargers.
“It’s a very difficult division and I just don’t yet know how quickly we’ll get this gelling from [head coach Nathaniel] Hackett and Russ [Wilson],” he said, noting that the good news is Denver’s easy schedule at the beginning should help get the coach and QB on the same page before the hardest games.
But the problem for Sharp when it comes to evaluating how good the Broncos will be is figuring out where to put the Chiefs and Chargers.
And whether all of us in Broncos Country like it or not, Sharp doesn’t see any other place than the top two spots for the AFC West rivals.
“If injuries aren’t a factor and coaching isn’t a factor - the Chargers are the most talented team and the team, I think, with the best shot of winning the Super Bowl,” Sharp said, “and with the Chiefs, everybody is underselling just how brilliant this offense still is.”
But Sharp still sees great things for Denver, and as Ryan Edwards pointed out, “If you get double-digit wins in this division, you’re a good team.”
And you know Sharp is legit because his first comment regarding Pat Shurmur was to say he was “the most perplexing play-caller I have evaluated over the years...I just did not understand his philosophy and how much it was hurting your offense.”
Perplexing is one word for it. Utterly &*%^$*# stupid could be a few others, but I digress...
Sharp had an interesting calculation for why he believes the Broncos will have a great season and get double-digit wins even if they end up third in the AFC West.
“We know that QBs are better when allowed to throw on first down because the defenses don’t know what’s coming yet,” Sharp explained, adding that the NFL rules are designed to help the QB and offenses score more points so coordinators should take advantage of that.
“The problem comes when you are conservative as a coach and you’re trying to run the ball on plays the defense doesn’t know what’s coming” and the offense essentially wastes a great opportunity to take advantage of the defense. “Passing the football is the most important thing when trying to win a game.”
The strategic offensive plan for Pete Carroll, Wilson’s former coach at Seattle, was always win with defense, special teams and the run game. Now that Wilson can unleash in a new offense with a passing-minded coach, Sharp expects big things in Denver.
“Pete Carroll mentions three things and none of them are passing the football, which is the most important thing when trying to win football games,” Sharp said. “Now Russ will have a higher percentage of his total passes coming on downs where the defense doesn’t automatically know what’s coming.”
The good news is Hackett seems to agree with this. During a June practice, the head coach realized the defense was bringing the pressure, so he allowed his QB to do what he does best - throw the ball.
And it was going directly to Tim Patrick and the end zone.
“It was funny. We changed the script a bit and called something different. We wanted to throw the ball a little bit because [Defensive Coordinator] Ejiro [Evero] was starting to pressure us some. It was great because it was a little check on that play. It wasn’t just the play that it was, but it was also the check that [QB] Russell [Wilson] got to. He was pretty sneaky too, so I didn’t know that it was coming. I was a little nervous and thought that he was going to [go through progressions]. Then I looked up and the ball was going and [WR] Tim [Patrick] ran a beautiful route. That was awesome.”
Adam Rank at NFL.com also believes in the Hackett/Wilson combo this season:
“For much of Russ’ tenure in Seattle, the Seahawks focused on running the ball. The Broncos, meanwhile, are building the offense around what Wilson does best. And, believe it or not, what he does best isn’t running for his life behind a bad offensive line. If the Broncos start dialing up deep shots, it could be an amazing year.”
So now I’m a little curious, Broncos Country:
How much passing v. running the ball would you like to see with this offense?
This poll is closed
Way more passing
Keep running the damn ball
It’s all about when you pass and what kind of play call for that pass...
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