Entering their Week 2 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Denver Broncos had an advantage with their offensive line. However, the Jaguars' interior defensive line flipped that on its ear as the game progressed.
The Broncos struggled to get a push in the run game and allowed multiple pressures up the middle. It goes beyond the Broncos' interior offensive line and includes the tackles, tight ends, and even the wide receivers.
This has been an issue in both of Denver's games thus far, but the opponents have stacked the box to stop the running game. That did make life extra tricky for the O-line but the Broncos still have to figure out how to improve their blocking.
Teddy Bridgewater is playing exceptionally well under pressure, but that isn't sustainable for the rest of the season. The good news is that he has made opponents pay for stacking the box, but if he starts getting shut down, the offense is going nowhere.
Denver is in a tough spot with its offensive line and nearing the point of having to make some personnel changes if improvements don't happen. Those changes could come at positions fans might find painful and unexpected.
Let's examine how the Broncos' O-line was man-handled by the Jaguars on Sunday.
Play 1: First Quarter | 9:19
When the running back takes the hand-off, you typically want your offensive line to have at least a yard of push. But, in this play, three of them are behind the line of scrimmage still. There is so much wrong with this play and it isn't just on the offensive line.
TE Noah Fant is the outside blocker, and he seems to be doing a solid job — until it comes time to disengage and he appears to get his feet caught up with RG Netane Muti. All that does is add to the comedy of problems on this play.
Muti needed to be driving his block forward, especially while getting help from center Loyd Cushenberry III, but all they were doing was keeping it steady with the line. Off the snap, Muti got blown back severely and was never able to regain proper position. Cushenberry also failed here by not repositioning himself to help drive the defender forward.
Even if the blocking was better upfront, this is a rough play because the backside defender goes unblocked and can chase down the play. The only chance was to have Fant execute his block, with Muti and Cushenberry clearing the lane so that RB Javonte Williams didn't have to slow down. Those issues directly led to the bad run.
As for LG Dalton Risner, he also lost the rep, and it happened right away. The defender was able to keep Risner at arm's length and control his movements. Risner's failure didn't have a significant impact on the outcome overall in this instance.
Play 2: First Quarter | 4:11
It's unfortunate the blocking didn't hold up because it is a beautiful play design. Denver pulls Muti to help sell the play-fake, which causes the linebackers to pull up in coverage. This creates a lot of space for Tim Patrick on a deep crosser.
Fortunately, only one blocker failed on this one, and that would be RT Bobby Massie. It seemed like he was expecting a chip from the TE Eric Saubert because he lets the defender take the outside shoulder. If the chip came, Bridgewater wouldn't have had to scramble around the pocket to dump it off to the running back and instead find Patrick through an open window for a significant gain.
With the threat of the blitzer against TE Albert Okwuegbunam, it does make some sense that Saubert didn't help out Massie. However, a quick chip would have allowed Massie and bought the play the time to develop. Instead, it resulted in a solid gain, but the blocking left yards on the field.
Play 3: First Quarter | 3:27
Risner and Cushenberry started this rep exceptionally well. They had a well-executed double team that created a running lane in the middle. Then Cushenberry sheds the double team to attack the second level and seal the hole, and Risner doesn't hold up.
Once Cushenberry gets off the double team, which he was supposed to do, Risner is beat on the inside. His positioning never progressed during the double team, which he should have been doing with the extra help.
It doesn't help that Muti got blown off the line and just controlled by the defender. The defender set up for the outside lane but he shed Muti quickly when the running back went inside. Again, Muti's lack of length showed up on this rep as it did multiple times because it's easy for longer defenders to control him.
Play 4: Second Quarter | 13:17
This was a pure mess from the Broncos' offensive line. First, Risner and Cushenberry get caught on a double team, ending with Risner squeezed out. From there, Risner tries to block a backside defender crashing in, but it does no good.
LT Garett Bolles got carried across the line to crash in on the run play. Unfortunately, from the start, Bolles was caught in the wrong position and couldn't recover.
The worst of this play is Cushenberry and Muti. Muti gets blown off the snap, gives the inside shoulder, and then all but tossed for his defender to make the play. When Risner got squeezed out, Cushenberry got controlled to leave no hole for the back.
Play 5: Second Quarter | 8:31
Risner had one of the most infuriating blocking attempts of the day on this play. It is a double pull with Muti and Risner getting out to the left to be the lead blockers. Both of them usually do exceptionally well when moving, but not this time around.
Getting to the second level, Risner is up against a cornerback and lowers his head, lunging into the block. The corner can set up outside and shrug off the poor blocking attempt. This forced the running back to stick inside instead of getting him to the outside for maximum yardage.
As for Muti, his footwork has to get cleaned up when pulling to be a starter in the NFL. However, his more significant issue is the lack of length. He reaches to engage the defender, but he doesn't have the length to get an early connection before the defender is in position.
More to Come
This is only part one of breaking down the Broncos' blocking against the Jaguars, but it doesn't get any better. The issue isn't the scheme or even coaching, but general execution or certain player limitations.
Denver has to figure something out, and quite frankly, the easiest solution would be even more 12 and 13 personnel.
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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