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Broncos midseason snap count game-by-game positional review offense

Who has played on offense as the Broncos seek playoff relevance for the first time since in years?

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson has taken every snap at quarterback for the Denver Broncos. That’s easy. While he has not played up to his contract (yet), he has been in for every snap so far despite taking 27 (26 that counted) sacks and plenty of other big hits as he was throwing the ball. This article is not to dissect Russ’ play so far, so if that is what you are seeking you can stop reading now.

Overall offensive table is below (for those who are colorblind and/or have a hard time understanding graphs)

Player POS Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5 Game 6 Game 7 Game 8
Lloyd Cushenberry III C 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Michael Burton FB 9% 20% 11% 23% 10% 23% 20% 20%
Ben Powers G 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Quinn Meinerz G 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Russell Wilson QB 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Samaje Perine RB 45% 50% 31% 46% 60% 17% 25% 24%
Javonte Williams RB 45% 45% 42% 17% 35% 53% 63%
Jaleel McLaughlin RB 8% 5% 21% 33% 33% 40% 17% 11%
Dwayne Washington RB 1%
Garett Bolles T 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Mike McGlinchey T 100% 100% 97% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Quinn Bailey T 5% 15%
Cameron Fleming T 3%
Quinn Bailey T/G 2% 5% 6% 15%
Adam Trautman TE 72% 82% 87% 88% 90% 69% 73% 82%
Chris Manhertz TE 39% 32% 21% 44% 24% 46% 31% 55%
Greg Dulcich TE 33% 21%
Nate Adkins TE 8% 10% 12% 11% 10% 6%
Courtland Sutton WR 86% 89% 95% 83% 86% 94% 86% 79%
Lil'Jordan Humphrey WR 70% 32% 21% 21% 13% 29% 34% 31%
Brandon Johnson WR 50% 45% 60% 35% 51% 31% 37%
Marvin Mims WR 27% 24% 24% 35% 32% 23% 31% 39%
Phillip Dorsett WR 9%
Jerry Jeudy WR 68% 76% 62% 86% 65% 68% 59%
Tre'Quan Smith WR 14%

Offensive line

For the first time in what seems like forever (knocking on wood as I type this), our offensive line has been healthy for a large block of games. The only starter who has missed any snaps is Mike McGlinchey and he has missed three so far the season on offense. The plot of these guys would be very boring since they would all be at 100% save McGlinchey (who missed a few snaps in game three). Quinn Bailey has been used in four games as a sixth offensive lineman. He has played 30 offensive snaps so far this season with the most coming in the last game against KC (eleven). Sean Payton likes using six offensive linemen and would do it quite a bit while he was the head coach of the Saints.

I will not get into how the OL is playing so far other than to point out that the Broncos are allowing 25.3 percent pressure rate so far this season which is 26th in the league. Some of that has to do with how long Russ holds onto the ball. For comparison, the Dolphins OL is allowing pressure at exactly half that rate (12.6 percent) while the Jet’s OL has been the worst in the league allowing pressure on 34.1 percent of passing snaps.

Running Backs

Fullback Michael Burton has played in all games seeing between nine and twenty-three percent of the offensive snaps. Burton has almost exclusively been a blocker having only touched the ball five times on his 81 offensive snaps.

During the first four games Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine split the halfback carries about 50/50, but with the emergence of Jaleel McLaughlin, Perine’s snaps have been diminished. Perine has almost been relegated to the third down back because of his prowess as a blocker and as a receiver. Javonte Williams has been getting a greater share of the snaps over the last four games as he regains his dominant pre-injury form.

McLaughlin is second among lightly used running backs (10-50 carries so far this year) with an average of 7.1 yards per carry. De’Von Achane has the same number of carries (38) and is averaging 12.1 yards per carry; he has gouged the Broncos, Bills and Giants so far this year. The only time he didn’t gouge a defense in a game was against the Patriots and he only carried the ball once that game (for 5 yards).

Javonte Williams isn’t breaking tackles at the rate that he did as a rookie, but he is getting better. He has been credited with eight broken tackles so far this season and is getting one broken tackle for every 11.3 attempts. Williams had 33 broken tackles as a rookie and got one broken tackle on every 6.5 rushing attempts. Travis Etienne leads the league in broken tackles with 17 so far and Najee Harris has the lowest attempts per broken tackle with 7.1. Given how Pookie has run over the past few games I would expect him to creep up in broken tackles per attempts as the year progresses.

Tight Ends

The only consistent thing among the Bronco tight end group this season has been Adam Trautman. He has played between 69 and 90 percent of the offensive snaps every game this season. His contribution has mainly been as a blocker as he only has eighteen targets on the season and eleven catches. Greg Dulcich was supposed to be the receiving threat among our tight ends, but he has not been able to stay healthy, so out tight end group has largely been an afterthought in the passing game. The entire group has been targeted 30 times with 19 catches for 126 yards and one touchdown - or about what Travis Kelce averages per game during his career against the Broncos (I jest, somewhat).

Since the main contribution for our tight ends has been blocking let’s look at how they have blocked so far this season. They have been called for holding three times (two on Trautman and one on Chris Manhertz). Trautman has 107 and Manhertz has 101 run blocking snaps; both have both blown one run block and Manhertz has been stuffed once. Getting stuffed is getting driven back into the backfield and into the ball-carrier such that the play is disrupted even if the defender does not get credited with the tackle.

Manhertz has 38 pass blocking snaps and has two blown blocks. Trautman has 31 and one. Dulcich and Nate Adkins (four and three pass blocking snaps) have each been blamed for allowing a sack. All blocking data is from SISdatahub. It is possible to allow a sack without getting a blown block. A blown block is essentially a complete whiff where you barely touch the defender that you are supposed to block.

Wide Receivers

Courtland Sutton is definitely WR1 for the Broncos and his numbers indicate that. He leads the team in targets, receiving yards and touchdowns. Because of Jerry Jeudy’s injury, LJ Humphrey began the season as WR2, but Humphrey’s role was dropped to WR3 or WR4 with JJ’s return. Jeudy has been WR2 and his targets and catch numbers reflect that. Brandon Johnson has been WR3 for most of the season. Marvin Mims has been WR4.

Mims saw his heaviest usage in the last game at 39 percent. I would expect his snaps to continue to creep up as the year progresses as he is the only scary speed threat in the WR group. JJ is sneaky fast, but I don’t think his speed is scaring opposing defensive coordinator’s in the same way the Mims’ speed does. Mims ran a 4.38 forty at the combine, but he also plays fast (as does Hamler when he is healthy - which is not often). JJ ran a 4.45, but does not play as fast in pads as that 40 time would indicate.

Let me know in the comments what (if anything) surprised you in this information.

I’ll do the defense (which is much more involved) later this week.