BRONCOS

Drops remain a big problem for Denver Broncos offense

Oct 12, 2022, 5:54 PM | Updated: 7:29 pm
Jerry Jeudy...
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Sometimes when a single aspect of football goes wrong, it’s the pulled thread that leads to more things going askew.

That’s the way it seems for Denver’s struggling offense after five games. And while dropped passes aren’t the first thread yanked from the body of the Broncos’ offensive cardigan, it’s part of the collective that sits on the ground in need of repair.

No team has a higher drop rate than the Broncos, per the data collected by Pro Football Focus. Denver’s pass-catchers have 13 drops in 114 catchable passes from Russell Wilson — a rate of one every 8.8 opportunities.

Last year, the Broncos’ drop rate was one every 17.9 catchable passes.

The league average is one drop every 15.5 catchable passes, making the Broncos nearly twice as likely to flub a potential reception as the average team.

Jacksonville has more drops — 14 — but on more catchable passes (127). Their rate of one drop every 9.1 opportunities is slightly better than Denver’s.

No one Bronco is culpable. Jerry Jeudy, Mike Boone, Melvin Gordon and Courtland Sutton have multiple drops. Andrew Beck, Albert Okwuegbunam, Eric Saubert and Javonte Williams have one drop apiece.

That said, Jeudy’s drop rate — one every 5.7 catchable passes — is a concern, since it calls to mind his rookie season, when he had 12 drops — a rate of one every 5.3 catchable passes.

The fact that the drops come from almost everyone in the Broncos’ collection of targets led to the inevitable question: Is there a common thread connecting the drops?

“I just look at it as it’s almost too much pressing,” Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “Everybody wants to make a play. Everybody is looking to do something a little bit more.

“In the end, it’s about fundamentals and the basics. Just securing the catch and getting the yards up the field, instead of trying to explode out on something. So the guys just have to go back to that. Their fundamentals, their basics, clear the ball and turn it up the field.

“As we start getting those drops out and get those demons out, the guys will get better.”

That said, Wilson has work to do himself. His completion percentage ranks 28th of 32 quarterbacks, at 59.4 percent — just below the 60-percent baseline.

Even when accounting for dropped passes, spikes and throwaways, his adjusted completion percentage is 71.25 percent. That places him 25th among 32 quarterbacks with at least 75 attempts.

Drops aren’t helping. But Wilson isn’t hitting enough open receivers, either. Which is why the quarterback bears a significant amount of responsibibility for the Broncos’ offensive woes.

But it’s not solely about No. 3, either.

***

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Drops remain a big problem for Denver Broncos offense