Stopping WR Courtland Sutton Means Shutting Down the Broncos Offense
On a day of abject failure across the board, a long list of letdowns was pulled from the rubble of the Denver Broncos capitulation to the Buffalo Bills. High on that list of ineptitude would be the inability to incorporate emerging wide receiver Courtland Sutton into an effective gameplan.
Despite having the ball thrown in his direction eight times, Sutton only managed to haul in one and all too often had to watch the ball sail over or past his hands.
Head coach Vic Fangio addressed the failings to get the best out of his receiver and the entire offense in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.
“[Sutton] tweaked his ankle early in the game and kept playing, but I do think it affected him some,” Fangio said. “I just think their whole defense, as a whole, kind of whipped us.”
Fangio’s refreshing honesty comes as cold comfort to fans who witnessed a stunningly uncompetitive showing from a badly overmatched Broncos outfit. Such has become the importance of No. 14 that any kind of injury or dip in production effectively derails the entire offensive gameplan.
What was hugely surprising, considering it was a late November day in upstate New York, was the Broncos' failure to adapt to the forecasted windy conditions. Sutton pointed out how it adversely affected his team.
“Yeah, it was a little rough going in certain directions of the field, the wind was a little hard to throw the ball in,” he said.
Major concerns over the questionable arm strength of Denver’s starting QB Brandon Allen were laid bare in the inclement Buffalo weather. Part of the reason the Bills chose to draft their current starter Josh Allen was his arm strength for such scenarios and he mastered the conditions with ease, leading his team to their eighth victory on the season.
In the face of Brandon Allen’s struggles in the passing game, it will undoubtedly lead to more impassioned calls for the Broncos to insert their own strong-armed young QB — Drew Lock — into the starting position and sit Allen after only three starts.
The entire organization will be under massive pressure to at least make their plans clearer and more transparent regarding Lock. Coach Fangio was less forthcoming when answering a question about the immediate possibility of Lock seeing action after Denver’s eighth loss.
“I haven’t even thought about that yet,” Fangio said.
An obvious clamor to see what the Broncos have in Lock can only grow for as long as John Elway mysteriously decides to sit his young talent. More immediate pressing concerns exist in the team’s lack of successful execution on game day, like what blighted them vs. Buffalo.
Sutton is all too aware of where the Achilles heel is located.
“It is what it is, we just have to execute, and execution is a big thing,” Sutton said.
What will ultimately prove to be a bump in the road for the Broncos star receiver only added to yet more damaging team losses at the moment. As the Broncos slip out of contention and into a defeatist mindset, Sutton might be ever more powerless, until a solution can be found to get him the ball more accurately.
Drew Lock likely has some ideas on the subject.