Pat Shurmur should take inspiration from the glory days
As the Denver Broncos continue to go through the trials and tribulations of training camp, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur should potentially consider another way of leading the offense, one that has proven successful in consecutive Super Bowl years. Broncos: use the back position.
Denver’s offense tried to do too much last year, as Shurmur liked to use the three sets of wide receivers to push the ball into the field. The problem with this was that Drew Lock was asked to do the wrong things and regularly found himself catching up, all the while making costly mistakes that took their toll on team games.
Go back to the 1997-98 season when the Denver Broncos were exiting their first World Championship in franchise history under the direction of Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway and workaholic Terrell Davis.
Davis became the fourth member of the exclusive 2,000-yard club when he rushed for 2,008 yards and 21 touchdowns. While his season alone has been impressive, it wouldn’t have been so easy with the contributions of teammate Howard Griffith.
Although Griffith didn’t have many rushing attempts during his time in Denver, he was primarily a blockage in the offense for Davis, becoming known as “The Human Plow” and was a reliable target out of the field. back for Elway.
This little-known duo was a big contributor to the effectiveness of the offense for head coach Mike Shanahan, where they were able to relieve a fair amount of pressure for Elway. If Shurmur can adapt the same concept and turn it into today’s game, it could prove beneficial for Lock’s further development.
When Shurmur was added to the coaching staff midway through the 2020 season, he looked to improve Denver’s stagnant offense and try to open the pitch with more receivers and tight ends.
While Lock has the ability to throw the ball deep, his pocket presence and timing still need time to develop, and now that Melvin Gordon will take on the starting role for this season, that could provide the opportunity to develop. a solid racing game without becoming a dimension.
Fangio and Shurmur don’t necessarily need to go out and get a traditional full-back to execute the ground and attack, but rather find the right combination that will generate the best results. The most recent additions Mike Boone and second-round pick Javonte Williams have a strong edge that draws Denver in.
In order to get away from sloppy play and constant turnovers, Shurmur could use someone like Boone, who has the background and experience to work as a makeshift full-back, to block for Gordon or Williams, who are not against the struggle for more yardage, which could produce runs of 15 to 20 yards, thus forcing the opposing defense to reevaluate its strategy.
Where Lock seemed to be most comfortable was on bootlegs and shotgun formations, but would still be locked into his first read before the snap. Add the backfield option with solid blocking, then he can continue to work on his pocket footwork and become a more rounded signal caller.
Shurmur appears to be leading the outer zone when it comes to rushed attempts which usually gravitate towards the heavy power spread pattern which, if caught by defense, will only produce a few yards which will ultimately lead to a third and long type situation.
The Denver Broncos can’t afford to be put in the place that will force Lock to think quickly and settle for his first reading. He will need to have the ability to use control when needed and Williams and Boone would fill that role, once again giving the feeling of having a full back.
Where Davis succeeded during his MVP season was that the defenses had to choose their poison with the Denver Broncos offense, whether that was one of the many receiving weapons Elway had at his disposal, or try their luck with Davis, who could find the hole and get great footage.
It would be in the best interests of both Shurmur and Fangio, who could both be seen in the hot seat, to change positions and try something they might not be comfortable with. Fangio has the chance to prove he has a top 5 defense, while Shurmur can prove the skeptics wrong by developing a system we haven’t seen in almost 25 years.
It will only be a matter of time before the same old song and dance becomes predictable and we see three and outs, turnovers and other questions looming over the future of the franchise. Hopefully it doesn’t get to this point.
Bring back Pat. You will be glad you did.