A lot of talk in Broncos Country has gone on this week around Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett and his various gaffes with play calling and game management, but the biggest issue might be on the players themselves to clean up. Penalties.
In my 15 years of covering the team, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Denver Broncos start their first two games with 25 penalties. They are on pace for over 200 on that rate and the NFL record for a single season is 158. They need to a sharp turn back towards the mean this week against the San Francisco 49ers.
Hackett was actually asked about the work his staff does to prepare the team for the type of officiating crew they’ll face and the answer was quite good.
“Yeah, we present that to them today,” Hackett said. “So, they get to see who the refs are, who’s going to be calling it and all that stuff. We let them know who the crew is, what their kind of record is in the past, on how they’re calling things. You let them know and let them understand that we have a lot of penalties up to this point, so those guys that are coming in here understanding that and those refs know that. Based off where they call penalties, they will be looking for that stuff. We just have to play with proper technique and not do some of those extracurricular activities.”
This is especially important as the crews they faces in the first two weeks aren’t usually known for calling a strict game, but the crew they face in Week 3 is one of the strictest in the NFL. Shawn Hochuli has a tendency to call the types of penalties the Broncos have also been committing the most of.
From Sharp Football Analysis this week, one of Hochuli’s biggest points of emphasis is false starts. That is an area the Broncos have errored a lot in to start the season. Hochuli also has a record of being hard on the home team with home teams being 26-39 against the spread. In short, the Broncos need to be pretty flawless in this game.
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