2 major fixes the Russell Wilson-led Broncos offense must make to get on track
The Denver Broncos have had an interesting start to the 2022 NFL season. What was expected by fans to be somewhat of an offensive explosion, has instead been more of an implosion. The Broncos shelled out the big bucks for a big-ticket quarterback in Russell Wilson in the offseason. And so far, the performance of the offense has left much to be desired. In week one against the Seattle Seahawks, the Broncos could not score in the red zone if their lives had depended on it. Unfortunately, that trend continued into week two as well. The Broncos are set to face a more polished team in the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. If they cannot correct their offensive mistakes, the Broncos might be heading out of week 3 with a 1-2 record. Let’s discuss some fixes the Broncos need to make on offense to get back on track.
Capitalize on red-zone opportunities
Right now, the endzone is foreign territory for the Broncos. In fact, the Broncos seem to be allergic to it at this point. In week one against the Seahawks, the Broncos had more than a few opportunities to score. Even being mere inches from the goal line. On TWO separate occasions, Broncos running backs fumbled on the goal line. If the Broncos could have scored on their multiple red zone opportunities, they would have easily won the game against the Seahawks.
The Broncos had no issue moving down the field, nor did Wilson perform poorly in week 1. They just couldn’t figure out how to move that dang ball over that cursed white line. Their ineptitude made the game quite the emotional rollercoaster. Broncos fans probably faced all five stages of grief multiple times throughout the game. The Seahawks are not a good football team, but the Broncos made them look like one.
The post-loss sadness came and went, and the Broncos were onto week 2 against the Texans. Fans had hoped that the week 1 blunders would be shaken off, but they continued. The offense found its way into the endzone once in the fourth quarter. Up until then, the team had relied solely on the leg of Brandon McManus for all their points. If the Broncos want to have any shot in the AFC West, they cannot rely on field goals. They need to start scoring touchdowns, and actually capitalize on the times they get into the red zone.
Broncos coaching, in all aspects, has to get better
The entire Broncos coaching staff is not only one of the youngest in the league but also one of the least experienced. Now just because they are inexperienced, doesn’t automatically guarantee that they will be bad coaches. But with a young coaching staff, there have been some expected growing pains, and some unexpected ones as well.
Nathaniel Hackett has had a very rough start to his first head coaching campaign. For starters, the Broncos are the most penalized team in the league. In the first two weeks, Denver has committed a total of 25 penalties for a total of 206 penalty yards. The next closest team is the Cleveland Browns, who have already completed their week 3 game (the Broncos have not.) Even though the Browns have played one more game than the Broncos, they only have 133 penalty yards as the next penalized team in the league. This is certainly not a category the Broncos want to stay leaders in.
The Broncos also seem to be unaware of the play clock. On top of having multiple delay of game penalties, they frequently snap the ball with less than five seconds left on the clock. There is no say what exactly the cause of this is yet. Is it the coaching staff struggling to get plays out quickly to Wilson? Communication issues between Wilson and the offense? Communication issues between Wilson and the coaches? Maybe all of the above? One thing is for sure, the fans are sick of the overall discombobulation of the team. During the Broncos’ home opener against the Texans, the fans resorted to audibly counting down the play clock for the offense.
Broncos fans are helpfully/mockingly shouting out the play clock on every play as Denver struggles to manage the clock. pic.twitter.com/53p339HGME
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) September 18, 2022
Again, growing pains were bound to happen. But so far it seems like Hackett is a little bit more lost than we anticipated. It’s unfair to automatically label Nathaniel Hackett a failure off of just two games in the regular season. One of the signs of a good coach is if they recognize their failures and actually make changes. And changes need to be made with the Broncos right now.