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Payton’s direction for the offense confirmed

Within just hours of “legal tampering” opening for the NFL, Sean Payton’s Broncos were busy signing players to obviously help the run game and Russell Wilson.

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

We are still more than 24 hours away from Free Agency officially opening, and the Broncos have already revealed their hand.

A hand full of cash, that is.

They are not being chintzy about spending nor coy about the planned direction.

And it is lovely.

Throwing major money toward long-term contracts with former San Francisco right tackle Mike McGlinchey and former Baltimore guard Ben Powers, plus money for a run-blocking tight-end and an intriguing backup QB, it’s evident the Sean Payton Playbook has arrived in Denver...

Broncos will be pounding the rock.

According to ESPN’s run block win rate stat, Powers and McGlinchey are among the best run-blockers in the league. Last year, Powers (79%) was second among guards while McGlinchey (81%) was fifth among tackles.

In pass protection, Powers ranked 10th among all NFL guards for his 94% win rate, and McGlinchey ranked 12th overall.

And as if two top OL prospects weren’t enough, Payton’s Broncos went after a run-blocking tight end in Chris Manhertz.

Payton has had future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees most of his head coaching career, so it may get lost in translation that he values a strong running game.

As a Bill Walsh West Coast Offense disciple, Payton believes in the quick passing game but is not averse to adding an aggressive vertical passing game into the mix. In fact he seems to relish such a chess move.

An interesting analysis on Payton’s offense from Zane Brown in 2013 highlights this wrinkle:

“Numerous modern offenses purport to utilize “every inch of the field,” but Payton’s offense comes closer than most to actually accomplishing this. His steady exertion of pressure on opposing safeties gives Payton’s version of the West Coast an even greater degree of balance than Walsh’s original.

Another distinction, Brown notes, is the heavy use of running backs and tight ends in the downfield passing game.

Many NFL offenses constantly strive for balance between the run and pass. The Saints, meanwhile, achieve balance within the passing game by mixing in screens and short out routes. These pass plays often force the same reactions from defenses that a strong rushing attack would. That being said, when the running game is rolling, the Saints passing offense instantly goes from merely effective to unstoppable.

In fact, a 2009 review of the Saints’ offense between 2006-2009, showed an obvious jump in offensive performance when the coach moved to a more balanced offensive attack:

The Saints’ pass/run ratio between those years corresponded almost directly to their win-loss record. The seasons that boasted a closer balance in pass-to-run plays also boasted a greater win record:

2006: 56/44 (10-6)

2007: 63/37 (7-9)

2008: 62/38 (8-8)

2009: 48.7/51.3 (5-0 through six weeks)

The same was true for points per game:

2006: 25.8 (5th in the NFL)

2007: 23.7 (10th)

2008: 28.9 (1st)

2009: 38.4 (1st - through six weeks)

When it comes to new backup quarterback Jarred Stidham, Raiders beat reporter Vinny Bonsignore says Broncos Country will like his talent but love his demeanor in the locker room

“You’re going to love dealing with him; he’s a character,” Bonsignore told Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright on Broncos Country Tonight. “When he gets on the field you’re going to like him. In the locker room, you’re going to love him.”

“He was surprisingly good. He’s a better athlete than people think,” Bonsignore added. “He has a nice arm, has a good way about him. His teammates really like him. He would have come back to the Raiders if there had been a path to a starting position.”

The moment Sean Payton was hired, it was clear he would make moves to ensure Russell Wilson would have the best chance possible for success.

Monday’s confirmation of that - even before free agency actually started - proves the Broncos are finally headed on a coherent path for offense.

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