You Can't Make a Good Offense Sandwich, Without the SPREAD!
The cat is out of the bag. It's pretty obvious that McDaniels is going to be bringing a new defense and offense to the Denver Broncos. Instead of the 4-3 defensive set, the Broncos will be moving to the 3-4. Forget about the West Coast offense, because the new offensive scheme in Denver is the spread.
Mostly popularized in the NFL by the highly successful New England Patriots and in college by Urban Myer, using the spread option when he was the head coach of at Bowling Green in 2001. The spread offense philosophy is very efficient, if executed correctly. The philosophy behind the spread, is in it's name; spread. The offense's job is to spread the defense and use all of the field, giving your players the ability to work in space after the catch and tacking the linebackers out of the run stuff and pass rush positions. In most cases the Quarterback is in a shotgun formation, but this doesn't always have to be the case.
There isn't really a basic set of plays, since the spread isn't a formation, but a philosophy. The idea behind the spread, is to out number the defense in certain scenarios. For example, if the defense brings the safety into the box, the quarterback should pass the ball deep and take advantage of the one on one coverage. Also, the offense can set up with 3-4 wide receivers to take the linebackers outs of position to stop the run. This makes it easier to run draw plays and screen plays with the halfbacks and fullbacks. In these types of situations, the wide receiver's primary function is to run bloke down field. To be able to efficiently execute the spread offense, the players need to be very versatile. Running, Blocking, and receiving is everyone's job.
So, how will this offense look in Denver? The formations are going to different each game, to attack the weaknesses of the opposing defenses.
The Broncos have all of the personnel needed to be heavy run team, heavy pass team, and a balanced team.
Heavy Passing Attack
This offense will mostly be used against teams that are weak in the backfield and tend to use more 3-4 linebacker formations. The Broncos will be able to put out three, four, or even five receivers. Most of the time, using four wide receivers with a speed back, or half back to line up in the slot, set the play up for the screen pass. In this set, the offense can take advantage of mismatches with linebackers or safeties on speedy receivers. Once the defense starts to fall back and overcompensate for the amount of receivers on the field, the offense can start attacking the middle of the line with draw plays and hit the corners with screen plays. The Players most likely to be used in this situation are the following:
WR1 Brandon Marshall
WR2 Eddie Royal
WR3,Slot Brandon Stokley
WR4 Jabar Gaffney
WR5 Chad Jackson
RB Knowshonn Moreno
TB J.J. Arrington
TE Daniel Graham, Richard Quinn, Tony Sheffler
Heavy Rushing Attack
This offensive scheme will be used again's teams that are weak against the run or tend to use nickel formations and do not bring the safeties into the box as often. The receivers need to block more than receive, but will run deep routes to keep the defense honest. The offense can setup in many formations to get the job done here. two Tight end sets, three tight end sets, two halfbacks and a fullback, etc. The whole idea is to take advantage of the mismatches. Run on the defense when the try to stop the pass and pass on the defense when they load the box. This formations will setup with two wide receivers, two to three tight ends, a fullback, one to two running backs. For this scheme to be executed, the tight ends, fullbacks, and running backs have to be exceptional athletes. They will be asked to pass, catch, run, and block. The players that will be used in the formation are the following:
WR1 Brandon Marshall
WR2 Eddie Royal
TE1 Daniel Graham
TE2 Richard Quinn
TE3 Tony Sheffler
RB Knowshonn Moreno
RB Correll Buckhalter
FB Peyton Hillis
One of the biggest questions in this off season is, how will Kyle Orton operate in the spread offense? Kyle Orton spent four years in a spread offense at Purdue. He's quite acquainted to it's uses. Orton will probably be in a lot of shotgun formations and look to pass, as he is not a strong runner and because the spread option scheme hasn't really been able to catch on in the NFL. The spread offense takes a game manager with patience and accuracy. A lot of analysts say that the spread hinges mostly on the strength of the play calling, rather then the talent of the quarterback. Kyle Orton will need to be very adept in reading the defense to see mismatches on the field and check down to his third and fourth receivers. The idea is to increase time possession and decrease turnovers. This will require a lot of patience. 80 percent of the passing game will be short yardage passes, with slants and screens as the bulk of the receptions. The deep ball is used like an uppercut would be in a boxing match; sparingly, but deadly. I for one, believe that Orton will be a perfect match in this scheme and he will welcome the bounty of new offensive play-makers that Denver has to offer him.
All of the players in the above schemes will come together to form a balanced attack that will strike fear into opposing defenses. This is going to be an exciting year to watch the Denver offense! The Broncos offense has the ability to be in the top five in all categories this year.
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