Vance Joseph said changes are coming to the Broncos this week as they prepare for the LA Rams, but he won’t disclose what those changes are.
That leaves us no choice but to speculate, so here are some of the changes we might see on Sunday.
Vance Joseph calling shots on defense
Thursday morning on 104.3FM “The Fan”, a local Denver sports radio station, news reporter and The Fan’s “Bronco Insider” Troy Renck talked about the possibility of seeing Joseph have a larger influence on the defensive play calling this week against the Rams.
As we all witnessed last week, the Broncos consistently seemed out of place most of the day and just lost overall. It has become evident that the game is still too fast for defensive coordinator Joe Woods as he constantly struggles to make in-game adjustments.
Renck mentioned on the morning show that he heard Joseph had played a large role in the defensive scheme against the Kansas City Chiefs, which has one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses that the Broncos kept in check for the majority of the game, and will look to do the same again this week.
If it makes a big difference this week, it could be a permanent change until Woods can catch up.Embed from Getty Images
Tramaine Brock takes Bradley Roby’s starting spot
When the Broncos traded Aqib Talib during the offseason, they did so with the belief that former first-round pick Bradley Roby would be able to fill those shoes or at least perform well enough to avoid a significant drop-off.
Unfortunately, it seems each week Roby is either caught out of position or just straight-up burned. Last week we saw Roby get torched multiple times for touchdowns and completely whiff on a tackle on the Jets running back that led to another touchdown. That’s 21 points for the Jets that Roby contributed to in some way.
To be fair to Roby, he contested the second touchdown pass probably as best as he could without being called for pass interference, it was just a great throw by Sam Darnold, and nobody on the Broncos defense could tackle that day so he wasn’t the only problem.
But the Broncos may put Roby back in the position he was in when Talib was here and move Brock into Roby’s spot to see if that might help the woeful secondary.Embed from Getty Images
More touches for Freeman and Lindsay
Before last Sunday’s game against the Jets, Joseph said that Royce Freeman needed to get more carries. Then Freeman finished the game with a whopping five carries. Even with just 5five carries he still gained 31 yards on the ground — a 6.2 YPC average.
Both Freeman and Lindsay are the obvious strength to this offense and the fact that they aren’t more involved during the game is a maddening sight for Broncos fans everywhere.
If offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is the one creating the game plan and making the calls on Sunday, then this ineptitude falls squarely on his shoulders.
Case Keenum needs as much help as he can get, and the run game is the best option to keep the offense on the field and give the defense a rest.Embed from Getty Images
More play-action calls for Keenum
According to Pro Football Focus, Keenum has one of the largest quarterback rating discrepancies between non-play-action passes and play-action passes over the past three years.
When Keenum throws on a non-play-action pass, he has a quarterback rating of 88.2 — 23rd in the NFL, but when he throws on a play-action pass his quarterback rating jumps up a league-leading 29.7 points to 117.9, which is good enough to be tied for fifth best in the NFL.
Unfortunately, according to PFF Bill Musgrave called the seventh-fewest play-action attempts in his last year as Oakland’s OC and Keenum’s current quarterback rating is a lousy 78.1. Coincidence?
Just like with the running game, the Broncos need to learn to play to their strengths. If Keenum is so efficient with the play-action, why not use it regularly throughout a game?
The Broncos have the run game to make the defense play with caution and draw the linebackers or safeties in; they just need to utilize these tools more than they have been.