Observations: OAK vs DEN (15-12)

Well. That sucked. Here are some of my observations afterwards:

  1. Broncos OL didn’t execute their assignments. All of the problems the Broncos faced also centered around the OL.
    • In the run game, the Broncos had plenty of checks (Can, Can!) to protect their running plays and attack the defense where they had numbers and leverage. Brock Osweiler also made these checks when he was supposed to.
    • Whats more important though, is that the Broncos OL needs to execute and the runner has to make the right reads in order for the play to work. Most of the former and a little bit of the latter occurred today.
    • In the passing game, there was a clear match-up issue along the edge in both the passing game and the running game. The issue to which I am referring to is the one between Michael Schofield and Khalil Mack. The Broncos partly accounted for this issue early in the game by running their quick passing game out of their bunch sets to Mack, forcing him to widen with the bunch. However, when the Broncos deviated to plays out of that alignment, there was no one to chip Mack off the edge giving him a one-on-one on Schofield. To the Broncos credit, they recognized it early on but didn’t account for him when they needed to. This cost them dearly as the game went on and it forced Brock to throw it short when he didn’t want to.
  2. Khalil Mack is also a dude
    • He was a top round draft pick for a reason. As Dan Fouts said in the broadcast, he has the same first step as an edge rusher we all know around here, #58.
    • And while he is not as fast as Von, he is stronger than Von is. It is very clear to me that he will become an elite edge player in the league for years to come, barring significant injury of course. Slow-footed Michael Schofield didn’t have much of a chance and it is easy to see why.
  3. Mental mistakes will cost anyone on offense.
    • There is a rule that most coaches follow when determining whether their offense is successful. This is what is known as the 12% Rule.
    • The 12% rule is the standard that offenses only make mistakes (penalties, turnovers, sacks, dropped balls, negative plays) on 12% or less of the plays from scrimmage. They must not make these mistakes the other 88% of the time.When teams at the Division I level follow the 12% rule, they win 95% of their games.
    • Now, I’m not going to make the calculations for this game off the bat. But, when you account for Khalil Mack’s big day, the drops made by DT, Sanders, and Davis, the loss of yards in the run game, and the two fumbles, something tells me that the Brocnos didn’t follow that rule.
    • The Raiders almost let the Broncos back into the game with their false start penalties alone.
  4. Broncos still dealing with a matchup issue outside with the TE.
    • Broncos did a better job dealing with this matchup today than in previous weeks. However, they did allow one TD when newcomer Shiloh Keo bit on the Stick-Nod and allowed the TE to get wide open in the back of the end zone and they did allow an explosive to the other TE when the Raiders shifted to empty and the TE was left alone versus Darian Stewart.
    • To the Broncos credit, I think adjusting the rule so that the safety is covering him is a better idea than having a LB out wide. This allows you to get some athleticism you didn’t have previously.
    • I have said this the previous three games now so I will stop talking about it to avoid sounding like a repeated record.
  5. Broncos D are still playing great football.
    • With the exception of a Chris Harris slip up in the open field vs a Deep Cross and an untimely Shiloh Keo bite on the stick, the Broncos D played very well today.
    • Their front four is still getting great pressure both in the interior and the edge. The Broncos have been leaving their edge players alone when their is a dead side (no WR’s to one side) of the formation and the edge players have been sealing it off. On any other team besides maybe the Chiefs, this would be an invitation to run to that side. But since Von and Barrett/Ray are playing out there really well, teams have stopped trying to run it out there.
    • In addition, the Broncos are continuing to install what seems to be the same gameplan for the most part and offenses have yet found a way to really execute against it.
    • It has become clear to me that the Broncos D will have to “carry” the team so to speak. The Broncos offense cannot be trusted right now without their starting runner in the run game.
  6. Broncos OL will need to get the T’s some help in the pass game.
    • They can do this in five ways:
      1. Bring the TE’s into the core
        • The core of the formation is the OL plus anyone who is attached to the OL. For example, if the Broncos are in a goal line set, they have a lot of players attached to the core. When the Broncos are in a spread set, they will not have as many players attached to the core.
        • This will force them to increase the distance from the edge rushers to the QB. And this will also allow the Broncos to chip their edge rushers which I will get to later.
      2. Widen the splits of the OL
        • Same as the first point, minus the chip calls.
        • If the Broncos decide to do this, they will still be able to keep their spread sets which they may want to use versus teams that have a vulnerable nickel package.
      3. “Chip” calls
        • A chip call is when either the RB or the TE decide to make contact with a defensive player before going out to their route.
        •  I am 100% certain that this is already installed into the Broncos offense. However, these chip calls are probably only tagged to slide protections in which the Broncos have to keep 7 blockers in pass pro. This results in a small problem because, if you do decide to chip, you are calling a play that will take receivers out of the pass game.
        • The Broncos could tag a chip into a 6 man protection assuming they were to slide the line. I think this would be the best solution for them because they can use their whole playbook while providing much needed help to the T’s.
      4. Quick passing game
        • If you get rid of the ball fast, they DL can’t get any sacks.
      5. Keepers
        • Kubiak loves these and for good reason.
        • Edge players, especially athletically gifted ones (aren’t they all?), want to what we call “spill” the play when it is going away from them. For example, if the Broncos call a running play to the outside, say an outside zone, and it is going to the left, the RE will spill the backside in hopes that they will catch the runner from the backside.
        • If the Broncos run the outside zone effectively, which they haven’t as of recent, this will allow them to fake the outside zone and roll away from the edge player creating a throw on the run. This also allows the passing game to get behind the LB’s creating a vertical stretch on the defense.

What are some of yours? Feel free to comment below.

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I am a former film coordinator for a FCS school. Currently serving in the Navy. I was glad to be around the game of football and had the chance to learn from a lot of great people. I wouldn't be where I am without the gracious support of my family, coaches, assistants, players, and friends. I also greatly appreciate you guys who take the time to read my stuff and show genuine appreciation. It means a ton! You guys are awesome! Twitter Handle: @FBDubs