Observations: PIT vs DEN (34-27)

That was the third straight week that the Broncos offense was shut out by the opposing defense in the second half. Lets get to it:

  1. Broncos O have a demeanor problem when adversity hits. And that is a problem that needs to get fixed.
    • When things are going good, they really are going good. Everyone’s smiling, you see the calm focus in the players, the game happens really quick, etc. But, when a couple of things don’t go the Broncos way, you can see this demeanor change on the field and on the sideline. Brock’s was visibly frustrated when he as talking with the QB coach after a three and out and Demaryius looked disappointed after a not catching a ball that went his way, and a couple of players had their heads down after they faced a fourth and ten late in the game. The only player that I saw that absolutely did not change his demeanor was one Emmanuel Sanders.
    • I also think Vernon Davis may feel the pressure late into the game. This is usually when players lose focus on the fundamentals because their mind is focused on not screwing up. Whenever players don’t focus on the process of the game they make mental mistakes and that may be whats happening with Vernon Davis.
    • To be fair though, I don’t know any of these players. Only their position coaches and family really know what is going on inside of their head. So consider this my speculation on the situation.
  2. Brock Osweiler loses composure when the game is no longer planned.
    • The first offensive drive of every game is dictated by a set of scripted plays. These plays are usually practiced during the week and then are repeated in walkthrough. The coaches have seen enough to gather which fronts they will get to certain looks, so the defense is set up during these periods too. The QB knows where they will be at, all he has to do is get it to the right spot. This is what is known as the “First 12”. Every pro team will have some format of this one way or another.
    • Every concept called up until the second quarter are practiced during the week as well. Albeit they are not scripted, the team has at least had a few reps of it against each look during the week.
    • Then, the halftime adjustments hit, and you may have to pull some plays out the playbook that you may have not practiced during the week. You may have never seen them vs the defensive looks you’re getting. You may have not reviewed them nor will the players necessarily understand why you are trying to use it. But, it puts them in the right position. And as log as you get them in the right position, maybe we can make something out of it.
    • I think Brock has a really hard time playing in unfamiliar game settings.┬áDuring the first half of every game I have seen him play, he is good with his fundamentals, gets the ball off on his clock, throws in the right spot, is really decisive with the ball, and looks really composed. Then when the second half hits, it disappears very suddenly. I think this may be a time where someone has to sit with him and just tell him, “Knowledge eliminates fear.”
    • It’s almost like Brock has troubles with post snap progression. He has this tendency where if he sees something that he likes pre-snap, he will lock onto it and lose focus from the rest of the offense. He’ll hold onto that particular receiver and it doesn’t matter if he is covered at the end of the route or if it was a bluff coverage, he is throwing it anyway. I think this is something that can be fixed, but may have to take a mindset shift from Brock in order to get accomplished. The Broncos are going to have to take that into consideration when his contract comes up for discussion.
  3. Broncos defense makes turnovers a priority, for better or worse.
    • It’s clear to me that one of the main tennants of the Broncos D is to take away the ball and give their offense a chance to score. As the Phil Simms/Jim Nantz broadcast asked earlier when they talked to Wade: If you think you can make a play, make it!
    • This comes with lots of rewards when the ball gets out of the hands of the offense, as evidenced by the Roethlisberger INTs. But, you sacrifice some yards after the catch if you cant punch the ball out, as evidenced by the Steeler WR gaining a lot of yards after the catch.
    • I think this is a good philosophy to have. We just have to accept that this a part of the Broncos D.
  4. Broncos DL are still playing well. Their talent forces offenses to adapt to it.
    • ┬áThe Steelers had to adjust to it in their set of scripted plays by getting not one, but two TE’s to Von Miller’s side to account for his talent coming off the ball. They were successful in that Von Miller did not record a single defensive statistic today which completely removed him from the game. However, Shane Ray on the other side got a sack, Derek Wolfe punctured the interior for a couple, and the Pittsburgh run was shut down all day. Hats off to them, they are still executing.
  5. Without the run, the Broncos offense is nothing.
    • This is something that the Broncos will have to accept in this style of offense. In order to the play pass and passing game to work, the run must keep the defenders up into the box so you can throw over them. The problem is though when you don’t have a functional running game, the passing game gets that much harder.
    • The Steelers were able to stop the run with seven and this forced the Broncos to have to throw the ball even when they don’t want to.
  6. Coaching philosophy holds the belief that the players should make the adjustments on the field/you only need to execute a few concepts in order to be successful. You can afford to do so when you have a lot of talent (Broncos D), but you may have to adjust a little bit when you don’t have the talent (Broncos O).
    • I love Gary and his offensive philosophy. I think there is a lot of merit to it, I still think it can be the base of any offense, and I think it helps players play really fast because there isn’t a lot to it. Anyone can run it.
    • The problem that we are seeing now is that the Broncos do not have the personnel to execute it very well. When you have a strong Baltimore OL with a rising Justin Forsett and a great deep ball thrower, you can be successful. When you have a #7 with Tony Jones, Tom Nalen, and Gary Zimmerman with a runner who just rushed for 2000 yards, a hall of fame TE, and a couple of responsible receivers you can have success. When you have a functioning Matt Schaub with another 2000 yard rusher with a fundamentally sound OL and a primetime WR in Andre Johnson you can have success. But the Broncos don’t really have that right now.
    • Their offensive unit, for whatever reason cannot be trusted right now and it is imperative that the Broncos find ways to adjust and create offense especially in the second half of the game.
    • Now, their defensive unit on the other hand, can be trusted to come up with big plays. And they have the talent to do so. They are, without a doubt, the #1 defense in the NFL and it shows with the exception of some missed tackles in the open field.

That is all. What are your observations? 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