2019 Denver Broncos Offense Expectations
The Denver Broncos preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers was a bit of a snooze offensively for the Broncos. The 49ers edged the Broncos 24-15. Granted it is only their third preseason game, the Broncos only mustered up some field goals. However, there were a couple bright spots in the game offensively, along with some things that need to be polished up.
Flacco looked solid in his debut, he looked comfortable in the pocket and delivered some nice balls. Even on a few plays where he felt a little pressure, he stepped up and made the correct throws. Flacco looked impressive compared to the other two quarterbacks Rookie Drew Lock and Kevin Hogan, who is in his third season. Flacco completed 63.6% of his passes for 59 yards, and led a convincing drive that ended in the first field goal of the game. After the first quarter, Vic Fangio had seen what he needed to see from the majority of his first team offense. This was a good sign for Broncos fans.
Sanders looked electric and explosive in his first live game action since a brutal Achilles injury that ended his season in 2018. He took a nifty reverse where he made a strong cut upfield to the tune of 19 yards. This was encouraging for Broncos fans, since you want to see a player cut and burst after an Achilles injury.
Sanders also added a great 45 yard reception that ended up coming back due to a pesky Garrett Bolles’s holding penalty. Although, the hold wasn’t completely Bolles’s fault. The play design had the tight end chipping the end, but the tight end missed his chip. Bolles opened up as he was supposed to expecting the tight end to do his job, because of this he was beat from the start. Sanders and Flacco seem to be getting their timing down and building a connection. Bottom line, in his limited work Sanders looks ready to be the guy Flacco can lean on in the passing game.
Sutton hauled in just 2 passes in limited action for 28 yards. Broncos fans hope to see him take a step forward in 2019. He is a big body wide receiver and can be what Anquan Bolden once was for Joe Flacco. When Sutton has one on one coverage this season look for Flacco to key on him for the deep ball. Expect him to have a high yards per catch rate but not nearly as many targets as Sanders.
Hamilton like Sutton caught 2 passes but for 21 yards. Catching a much needed quick slant over the middle for a first down on third and about 4. Look for Hamilton to be a move the chains type of player in this offense. Broncos fans remember Brandon Stokely from years past. Hamilton will have a very similar role in this offense due to his quick cuts and route running ability.
The Rushing Attack
The running game looked stagnant to say the least in this game against the 49ers on Monday. Broncos fans hope that this is not a sign of what is to come. Logic would convince Broncos fans that the rushing attack could only get better not worse, right? Adding a Hall of Fame coach in Mike Munchalk and a few upgrades to a injury-riddled offensive line, you would think the line would be trending up.
Though it is preseason and the whole starting offensive line was not out there in the first quarter, the rushing attack could have looked better. For the outlook of the 2019 season, I expect the carries to be split 65/35 between Lindsay and Freeman. The rest of the running back room is uncertain, but if Theo Riddick makes the team he will be used in certain situations from time to time. Most likely in 2 minute offense and obvious passing down situations.
If this group can stay healthy there is a lot of promise here. It is uncertain right now if the Broncos will carry three or four tight ends. Noah Fant and Jeff Heuerman are locks to make the team. I like what I have seen from Troy Fumagali as well. If he stays healthy, he will most likely be penciled in as the third tight end.
Then there is Jake Butt: so much talent, such bad luck. I’m sure Broncos fans are tired of hearing how good Butt looks in practice, but entering his third year, it is a make or break year for the tight end. This group will be utilized a lot in the passing game as well as in the rushing game. If there is one thing Broncos fans have heard numerous times since Flacco got to Denver, its how much he loves his tight ends.
If the Broncos offense can finish top half in total team offense, they will be much improved. The Denver defense looks poised to take back the respect of teams, fans, and coaches. If the offense can be somewhat competent this season the Broncos could be a dark horse in 2019.
This article was written in collaboration between @peteypuddles and @joeljames15!