If there was a consistent area of frustration this season it has been with the Denver Broncos offense. Sure, the defense gave up that 70-burger and all that, but they at least had a good stretch of dominance to highlight some measure of improvement from that season-low point for then. With the offense, it’s been generally fits and starts between a good drive and many stretches of nothing drives.
That was as evident last week as it was in Week 1. When asked about finding some offensive consistency out of the offense, Head Coach Sean Payton noted the self-inflicted wounds they would give themselves.
“You bring up a good point,” Payton said. “So many times, when we look at some of that stuff, it’s self-inflicted problems. That has to get cleaned up. That’s communication. That might be having to reduce—is there too much in? Right now, we’re average to below average in a lot of things offensively, and it’s not good enough.”
The second part of his response was also telling. He admitted the Broncos offense is average or below average in too many areas and he has to figure out how to fix that. The other is poor communication and maybe simplifying or reducing how much Russell Wilson and the other offensive players have to communicate in order for a play to be successful.
There are just too many screen plays or short passes to running backs for defenses not to be keyed in on those quickly. That’s another area of concern since so many of those calls end up with minus yards or no gain.
“Sometimes there’s a screen play and it’s man-to-man,” Payton explained”. Whether the technique we use is incorrect or the call is incorrect, you end up with a minus play. Then, there are times we’re scrambling and looking for a dump-off, and if they’re playing a match or man coverage, there’s not a lot of yards once the back catches it. I think it would start with the screens.”
The off schedule scrambling stuff is not something to worry about as much as what Payton said about poor technique or incorrect calls. I would have loved to know if those incorrect calls are coming from the sideline or via audibles.
Whatever the case, we shouldn’t expect too much change in the final two games. Denver’s offense rallied late to score a few times, but even that was something Payton noted as being unsustainable.
“It was more spontaneous,” Payton said of the offenses finish last week. “It was more spread-empty. We got to the line of scrimmage. We were in a stage of the game where we weren’t in hurry-up two-minute, but we certainly were up-tempo. A lot of it was empty with no [running] back, and we made some plays. It’s hard to say you’re going to make a living that way as your base offense.”
The offense must be able to function consistently throughout all four quarters if things are going to turn around and that, again, just doesn’t seem very likely with two games to go. The question then becomes, what will Sean Payton do to fix these issues before next season?