For the last 14 years, Broncos' fans have become so familiar with Mike Shanahan’s playbook they could almost predict what play he would call next.
Whether it was a bootleg, down-field pass on first down, or an outside stretch run on second down, you always had an idea on what Shanahan might be thinking.
But all of that “West Coast Offense” stuff is gone and the Denver Broncos will take on an entirely new personality this season.
What should we expect?
Broncos' head coach Josh McDaniels is bringing in a New England Patriots playbook for installation, which is basically what Pat Bowlen wanted. This, “amoeba offense,” that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has concocted consists of shifts in formation, player assignments, and plays from week-to-week and routes that have receivers and backs going all over the place.
It’s an offense that requires a solid football IQ and endless studying of the playbook. Another thing about this offense is the call for it to adjust to the players' ability and to adjust to its opponent. This is supposed keep opposing teams guessing making it hard to rely on film when game planning.
One familiar aspect of the offense is the zone-blocking scheme. Of course this scheme helped the Broncos make 1,000-yard running backs out the least likely of players (Olandis Gary, anyone?).
Gone is Shanahan's 4-3 defense that depended solely on the secondary to stop the passing attack. McDaniels will most likely install a 3-4 defense and occasionally run a 4-3.
Whatever the case may be, Denver’s defensive players will have to be a versatile bunch that will be able make major adjustments from week-to-week. Belichick is a defensive mastermind, who has defensive game plans in the football Hall of Fame, so his scheme is something that McDaniels is sure to employ.
But it’s not like we’re getting Belichick himself, however, but possibly a clone. At least that’s probably what Pat Bowlen was hoping for. McDaniels will most likely tweak and adjust everything he learned while he was in New England to give the team’s playbook his own personality, but the foundation will remain the same.
Could the Broncos be the new Patriots?