Analyzing How DE Adam Gotsis' Play has Kept a Healthy Walker on the Bench

Erick Trickel

Denver Broncos defensive end Adam Gotsis was benched following Week 4, but has seen action over the last two games. In that time, Gotsis has shown why he should be active and on the field for the Broncos, even if in a reserve role. 

He played well against the Cleveland Browns in Week 9, and again against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11. 

Gotsis took the fall for poor linebacker play earlier in the season and Shelby Harris' poor performance as a miscast nose tackle. Gotsis' run defense this season has actually been quite good and he's even been able to generate some push in the passing game. 

Denver has plenty of talent on the defensive line, including DeMarcus Walker and Dre’Mont Jones, who are the only defensive linemen under contract beyond this year that have played. We learned on Friday from head coach Vic Fangio that Gotsis is likely to dress again in Week 11 vs. Buffalo, which would keep a healthy Walker on the bench again. 

Gotsis' performance against the Vikings was great, and he needs to keep seeing the field for the Broncos. There were multiple plays that he made, while only receiving 18 defensive snaps. He had a high impact rating in this game as a result.

Let's examine the film. 

Play 1: 13:42 | Third Quarter | Turns a Loss into a Win

Situation: 3rd-&-1

This is a play that Gotsis initially loses, but turns it into a great play by him for the defense. Off the snap, Gotsis gets hit with a double team briefly. As a result, he ends up low and has to keep himself off the ground with his hand. It is from that position that Gotsis is able to shoot forward and wrap up the running back's legs.

The initial loss is bad from Gotsis, but he is aware of whats going on and keeps the play from being a complete loss. In fact, this play is made largely due in part to the initial loss. 

If it wasn’t for that, the center would be face-up on Gotsis and in the way of making the play. Gotsis turned a Vikings' win in the battle into a Broncos' victory in the war.

Play 2: 4:23 | Third Quarter | Winning the Leverage Battle

Situation: 1st-&-10

Here we see what Gotsis can do as a pass rusher. He isn’t the most dynamic of interior rushers, and there aren’t many ways for him to win, but he is capable when needed.

Gotsis engages the left guard, and does so by getting underneath his opponent’s pads. Pat Elflein has really struggled for the Vikings this year, and Gotsis just works him. With leverage in his favor, Gotsis just gets Elflein on his heels and walks him back into the lap of Kirk Cousins. Because of the pressure Gotsis applies, Cousins has to hop pass it to Dalvin Cook for a gain of just two yards.

Not the most dynamic of plays, but understanding leverage, getting that advantage, and having the strength to exploit are facets a defensive lineman like Gotsis must employ. He does exactly that here. Gotsis also gets his hands up to try and bat the pass down. Speaking of which...

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Play 3: 10:56 | Fourth Quarter | Getting Those Mitts Up

Situation: 1st-&-10

Here we have another good pass rush rep from Gotsis, but this time he manages to finish the play, but not with a sack. Gotsis is the left defensive end lined up in the B-gap between the right guard and right tackle. On the snap, he initially pressures the outside shoulder of the guard, only to quickly change to the inside. This switch gives Gotsis the inside lane to the quarterback.

Cousins sees Gotsis coming and has to get the ball out of there. Gotsis won’t get to Cousins in time, so he gets his hand up, as D-Line Coach Bill Kollar instructs him to do, and ends up with a batted pass. It was a great play from Gotsis where he set up the guard, only to get his opponent to fall into his trap, only to spring it.

The Takeaway

To put it simply, Gotsis is more than deserving of staying on the field. He's a really good run defender and has made some impressive progress as a pass rusher this year. 

People forget that Gotsis was a raw prospect when he was drafted and a long-term project. But each season he has gotten better, especially with his technique, and that didn’t change this year. Gotsis took the fall for the shortcomings of others, but his play wasn’t deserving of being benched.

Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel and @MileHighHuddle. 

Comments (2)
No. 1-2

It will be interesting to see how the whole thing fleshes out over the remainder of the season. And where the team has these guys on price vs. production. Can Gotsis or Harris unseat Derrick Wolfe as the favorite to come back? How will the asking price play into it? And how will it affect Denver’s draft plans?

Arctic Bronco
Arctic Bronco

I hope Gotsis gets resigned. I hate to see Denver draft picks end up on other teams.