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The Denver Broncos have embodied the philosophy of their head coach, John Fox, and have become a conservative, run-first offense that aims to keep the contest close and wait for the right opportunity to steal a win late in the game.
Thus, the Broncos have become a very predictable and unimaginative offense. Opposing defenses have put eight defenders in the box and focused on stopping the Broncos rushing attack, letting their cornerbacks play man-to-man coverage against the Broncos young and somewhat slow receiving corps.
Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has gone with mostly two-wide receiver sets, with a blocking tight end, a fullback and running back. Occasionally, Tim Tebow will line up in a standard shotgun formation, though it is usually with only two receivers or a third slot receiver.
McCoy needs to start using the spread formation more with five receiver sets, or incorporate the tight ends more into the offense with seam patterns or inside slants. The majority of Tebow's passes are low percentage deep routes or sideline routes, and there are very few completions.
If Tebow is given some easier high percentage passes, such as inside passes to Eddie Royal, seam routes to Eric Decker, or Daniel Fells up the middle, it would keep the Steelers defense back on their heels. The running game would be even more effective, and there would be uncertainty about what is coming next.
The past few weeks defenses are waiting for the rush, and the Broncos have failed to get any sort of semblance of a passing attack going at all. As a result, three-and-outs on offense have abounded week after week.
But this is the playoffs. This calls for some new wrinkles that defenses haven’t seen out of Denver this season yet.