How Broncos win: Taking away Jaguars WR DJ Chark in Week 4

DJ Chark is off to an impressive start. How can the Broncos contain him?
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DJ Chark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.
DJ Chark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.
DJ Chark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.
DJ Chark!

You can thank Gardner Minshew for that hard open to this article, as the rookie quarterback has developed a great rapport with the second-year wide receiver, turning Chark into a real game-changer for the Jacksonville Jaguars one year after a rather disappointing rookie season.

Since Minshew took over for Nick Foles early in Week 1 following a 35-yard touchdown to Chark (of all people), the combination of Minshew and Chark has combined for 13 receptions for 235 yards and two touchdowns, turning Chark into a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver. 

Let's take a look at the challenge Chark presents the Denver Broncos. 

Plays through contact

Right away on tape, its evident Chark thrives playing through contact. He’s not going to create a ton of separation on his routes, but a little contact doesn’t bother him whatsoever.

This is the play Foles broke his clavicle on, leading to Minshew taking over.

As the lead receiver in this bunch formation, it’s technically a slot fade for Chark. He doesn’t stack the defensive back, but he’s able to edge ahead late in the route to run under the dime from Foles for the touchdown. 

As I said, he’s really good playing through contact, focusing on the ball in the air rather than on the defender.

Savvy for a WR of his experience

Later on in the Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Chark hooked up with Minshew for a 69-yard strike, setting up the Jaguars in the red zone.

Watch Chark on this go route. Look at the way he leans into the defensive back midway through the route, leading the defensive back to think he’s going outside. Feeling the defensive back leaning to the boundary, Chark rips through the contact to get back into the middle of the field for the reception. That’s a savvy move by a second-year receiver.

In Week 2 against the Houston Texans on the road, it was evident right away that Chark and Minshew had their timing down pat, leading the Jaguars to throw a ton of quick outs and comeback routes to Chark to get Minshew in rhythm.

Beware the double move

Once the Jaguars showed the quick outs and comebacks early and often to the Texans’ secondary, they let Chark hit Houston with a double move in hopes of getting a big play.

Setting the quick out, Chark gets the Texans corner to bite slightly, leading to a sliver of space up the field, which Chark explodes into. However, it’s a bad throw from Minshew that is just out of Chark’s reach. If Minshew hits him in stride, Chark might still be running.

This designed throw here by Minshew is my favorite connection I’ve seen from the rookie and Chark.

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Minshew's security blanket

It’s quite clear on film that Chark is Minshew’s security blanket, so Jacksonville did a great job designing this rollout for Minshew, scheming up an easy stop route for Chark along the boundary.

Jacksonville might do many things right on offense, but they’ve helped
Minshew out greatly with designed throws like this. Chark has made them pay off, too.

How Denver wins

For the Broncos to slow down Minshew Mania, they have to take away Chark early. Force DeDe Westbrook and Chris Conley to beat you; that’s pretty much the only option.

Chark is a physical receiver with good long speed and plays well through contact. What he doesn’t like though is press coverage. The Broncos won’t run a ton of press with Chris Harris, Jr. and De’Vante Bausby, but they need to mix it in early and often to make Chark think twice.

Roll coverage up, get physical at the line and disrupt some of those timing throws between Minshew and Chark. If Denver can do that, it will throw Jacksonville’s passing attack off a bit, forcing Minshew to look elsewhere.

If Denver can do that to a rookie playing on the road in a tough stadium, the Broncos should get into the win column. If they can’t, well, it could be a long day and Minshew Mania might catch on in the Mile High City. 

Follow Josh on Twitter @JCarney_Sports and @MileHighHuddle