BRONCOS

Three quick-and-easy fixes for the Broncos to end their woes

Sep 20, 2022, 6:38 AM
Nathaniel hackett...
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos are not playing good football. Yes, they won in Week 2 against the Houston Texans, but if felt like a loss after the way the team played. Broncos fans in attendance certainly let Nathaniel Hackett know they were upset, as boos rang down in the first half and didn’t let up much throughout the game.

On Monday, the Broncos head coach addressed the media. He was asked some tough questions, and he provided some insightful answers. At a certain point in his press conference, Hackett did talk about what he thought of the fans booing (and counting down the play clock after multiple false start penalties).

“When it comes to the fans, they were awesome. I mean they are loud. It’s great for the defense. It was great. The countdown, all that kind of stuff, they are smart. There were some issues that were going on and it was a great warning for us. I love that environment. That place is just… it’s awesome. I think it’s going to be hard for people to come in here, and we want to continually win at home,” Hackett said.

So, how do the Broncos get better? Here are three quick fixes that should be easy for the Broncos to implement as they strive to improve.

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Get Plays in Faster

The easiest thing for the coaching staff to fix is the number of delay of games penalties they’ve gotten over the last two games. It’s on them to get the plays in faster to quarterback Russell Wilson. The offense needs a chance to see the defense alignment at the line of scrimmage, and they can’t do that if the play comes in late. Wilson is great at barking his cadence and drawing the defense offsides. He can’t do that if the team is rushing to the line of scrimmage in order to snap the ball before the play clock is out.

Hackett needs to make his language simpler or give Wilson more control over the offense. It’s like when Peyton Manning was here, and he was the de facto offensive coordinator. Wilson is a seasoned veteran, and the team needs to lean on his experience. If Wilson called his own plays, I wouldn’t object.

Not only does Hackett’s team get delay of game penalties on offense, but the special teams have been plagued by this problem as well. It’s a bad look when the team is taken out of field goal range because they can’t get the players on the field and the play in fast enough. Hackett’s team needs more discipline, and that direction comes from his guidance.

“When it comes to the operations, that’s something that we’re talking about quite a bit. We have to make sure the communication is clear and concise. I need to do better at making decisions faster and quicker and getting that information to the quarterback and being on the same page with him. That’s stuff that we talked about this morning, and all the way to this evening. It has to improve,” Hackett said.

All Broncos fans should have faith that Hackett will clean this part up. It’s the easiest thing for Hackett to do in order to play better football.

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Asking For Help is a Strength

Hackett is under a lot of pressure as the head coach of the Broncos, and it’s okay if he asks for some help when it comes to running things on game day. The head coach has a ton of responsibility during the game, and Hackett is trying to call offensive plays while overseeing the defense and special teams as well. That’s been a problem for him, and it’s led to issues coming up in the game like the aforementioned delay of game penalties.

On Monday’s edition of “Orange and Blue Today,” my co-host – DenverFan.com’s senior Broncos writer, Andrew Mason – suggested Hackett could look at his own staff for help from a former head coach. On the defensive side of the ball, Dom Capers is working with the Broncos as a senior defensive assistant. Capers has been a head coach in this league with two different teams (Panthers, Texans), and he could certainly help Hackett with the game day problems.

I would like for Hackett to ask for help. This league is called “Not For Long” for a reason, and it’s not just for the players, but for the coaches as well. Hackett grew up in the coaching world, so he should know the most successful have good people around him to trust. Asking Capers for guidance only makes sense. Either that, or Hackett needs to hand over play-calling duties on offense to offensive coordinator Justin Outten. Either way, Hackett needs help and I hope he realizes that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but instead a sign of strength.

“Right now, I’m very confident in our staff and everybody that we have. I think everything is always open in the air. But for us, everybody is good. We just have to work things out together, we have to communicate better. It starts with me and getting the proper information that I need. I get excited, and I’m a little aggressive at times. Sometimes, that might not be the right decision. I just need to be sure that all the right information is given to me at the right times so we can make the right decision for those. That just has to be better.” Hackett said.

It sounds like Hackett is not planning on making the (possibly) necessary changes at this time. Since he’s unlikely to ask for help, Hackett puts more pressure on himself. The results must be different as the season goes on, and Hackett must look more prepared for the uncertain situations each game brings.

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Run the Damn Ball

The Broncos should have their rushing attack lead the way for the team this season. It’s fun to think about “Let Russ Cook,” but things need to get started with the ground game. Wilson can’t cook properly or thoroughly unless he’s set up by the dynamic duo of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon. The nature of this offense is constructed off the wide zone attack. That means Wilson should be somewhat limited as a passer.

In the season opener, Wilson threw the ball 42 times. That’s too much, especially in a close game that was a loss for the Broncos in Seattle. Against the Texans in Week 2, Wilson threw the ball only 31 times, and that’s about the right amount of passing attempts he should have in one game. I say getting Wilson 25-30 passing attempts per game is the best plan.

If Wilson throws around 30 times a game, it means the Broncos are going to be running 30 times or more. By running the ball, the Broncos help themselves in multiple ways. First, they use the time of possession. Second, they will punish an opponent which helps them get stronger at the end of the game. Finally, the Broncos set up the play-action passing game by running the ball effectively.

“When it comes to Javonte (Williams), both he and Melvin (Gordon) have been unbelievably efficient. They have made some very good plays. The run game is doing really well right now. We need to continue that, and we need to keep giving them the ball,” Hackett said.

I don’t like the way the Broncos are using their running backs, but so long as they use them more, I’ll be happy. I think Broncos fans would be happy with the results as well.

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Three quick-and-easy fixes for the Broncos to end their woes