The Broncos’ offense looked so promising on paper, but chemistry problems are holding them back. The talent is there, but the results have not been. Something is clearly off with Russell Wilson and company. Can it be fixed? Let’s dig a little deeper and get to the bottom of it:
After NFL One, I wasn’t stressing the Broncos’ offensive struggles because of the emotion that Seattle played with that week. I still thought Denver should have won that game, but there was time to regroup and adjust. Well, in the ensuing game against Houston, they won… but barely, and not because of the offense.
I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the defensive unit by the way. Brad Chubb and Pat Surtain look great. Justin Simmons is a budding star and Ejiro Evero is proving to be a very competent DC thus far.
But this article is about the offense of Denver. ‘Broncos Country’ leader Russell Wilson has not been impressive at all, outside of one well-executed drive at the end of the 49er game last night. Winning a game 11-10 is never eye-opening, and to win the game because of the other team’s quarterback gifting you two points because he pulled a Dan Orlovsky makes it even more pathetic.
While I won’t put all of the blame on Wilson just yet, he has missed some throws that we have gotten accustomed to him making over the years. Drops, bad protection, and honestly just some bad routes have turned Russ into a mediocre type of quarterback through three weeks, but he did have some positive things to say after the game.
“We’re still all learning each other,” Wilson told reporters. “We’re so close. I’ve been a part of some good offenses, and I think we have a chance to be really, really great … I’m excited because I can feel it—everything is just that close. And once we do, with our defense, we’re going to be unstoppable, I think. We’ve got a chance.”
Reason For Optimism?
Crazily enough, he’s not completely incorrect. After the Chiefs’ shocking loss they took at the hands of Indianapolis yesterday, Denver is tied for first in the division, and the other two teams don’t look so great either. So, let’s break down why the Broncos are struggling so mightily on offense to start the season.
Well, it probably starts at the line of scrimmage, like these things so often do. Wilson was hit nine times last night and sacked four times. There was also a plethora of situations where he was trying to make plays with his legs, as he rushed six times, which is the most he’s run so far this season. It was evident that the former Super Bowl champion was trying everything at some points, especially on that last drive.
The Old Russ
The play he extended and threw a dart to Kendall Hinton, which was ultimately the drive that put Denver on top for good, was impressive. Watching that play reminded me of watching those elite Seahawk teams, where Wilson pulled magic off late in games so that certainly gave off the Russ of old vibes.
The offense needs to find a rhythm, and I think Wilson said it best. They’re still learning from each other, and after being with Pete Carroll for his entire career, constantly having trust and confidence in each other, it is harder than it looks to switch over to a completely new system and a first-year head coach.
Speaking of Nathaniel Hackett, he must use Javonte Williams more than Melvin Gordon III and give Russ more freedom offensively. Most of these plays that result in drops, incompletions, or misjudgments are little hook or comeback routes that aren’t going to result in first downs even if completed.
Need To Fix Small Problems
There were simply too many third-and-sevens yesterday that turned into fourth-and-threes because receivers wouldn’t run their routes past the sticks. With talents like Cortland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and the aforementioned Williams, this Bronco offense should be hitting on big plays, not struggling to complete passes on third down.
I think that once Wilson and the receivers create a bit more chemistry, the results will show. They’re in a very fortunate spot, as Vegas has looked abysmal, and the Chargers are struggling with the lingering rib injury of their star quarterback. Don’t give up on “Mr. Let’s Ride” just yet. I think ten or eleven wins are possible for this team, as long as they keep working and create more of an identity on offense.