|10-07-2010, 12:09 PM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Apr 2001
Kush & Irsay
The Broncos need a running game to protect their meal ticket
Krieger: Lack of running game could get Orton hurt
By Dave Krieger
The Denver Post
Posted: 10/07/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT
Only three NFL quarterbacks have been sacked as often as Kyle Orton so far this season. Two of them — Jay Cutler and Michael Vick — have been knocked out of games with injuries already.
This is the main risk associated with the Broncos' failure to establish any sort of running game through the first four weeks of the season. Orton, the league's leading passer, is all that stands between his team and the dreaded r-word. Take him out of action and the Broncos are in rebuilding mode whether they like it or not.
But that's not the only risk. The Broncos' inability to run the ball has created an inverse relationship between their offensive effectiveness and the length of field they have to work with.
This explains more than their red-zone struggles. Sunday, against Tennessee, the Broncos ran 41 plays in plus territory — on the Titans' side of the 50 — for 101 yards, or slightly less than 2 1/2 yards per play.
That's because the field gets more crowded as it gets smaller, making it harder for receivers to get open in the passing game.
No one knows this better than Josh McDaniels, which is why you won't hear the Broncos coach using new- age NFL jargon to defend an offense so unbalanced that it ranks first in passing and last in rushing.
Which he could. In the age of Peyton Manning, it has become fashionable to argue that sophisticated modern passing schemes have rendered the ground game obsolete. After all, a bubble screen or quick hitch basically is a running play, isn't it?
"No, I don't agree with that," said Orton, expressing not only his opinion, but also his survival instinct.
"You lose a lot in terms of play action. You lose a lot just in terms of allowing your offensive line to come off the ball and actually hit them. A lot of times, you become passive up front . . . I think you saw that a little bit last game. We were pass-protecting 50 times and when the defensive line doesn't really have to honor the run, they're in full pass mode the whole game."
Orton has been sacked 11 times in four games, six of them at Tennessee. Passing 50 times at Baltimore this weekend could produce similar results. McDaniels is no more eager to face this prospect than Orton.
"I think (lack of) balance ultimately will catch up to you," McDaniels said. "You can play some games and kind of lean more toward the passing game than the running game, but I think over the long haul if you play a season like that you're going to ask for trouble down the road. You're going to get your quarterback hit and you're certainly going to get played differently."
Heading for a get-together with Ray Lewis and friends, this is a pretty big concern. You may recall that Jarret Johnson sacked Orton on the Broncos' first offensive play at Baltimore a year ago.
"You need a traditional running game because you need to have the threat," receiver Brandon Lloyd said. "You have the position of running back for a reason and you have to be able to run the ball, period. The short passing game won't make up for that."
So why have the Broncos been unable to get anything going on the ground? The blame is generally divided between indecisive backs and a young offensive line, but there also is the matter of scheme.
Under Mike Shanahan, the Broncos drafted smallish, athletic linemen to operate a zone-blocking scheme. When McDaniels arrived, he made it clear he preferred one-on-one power blocking, which requires bigger linemen. But with the running game foundering, he has tried both. Against the Colts, for example, the Broncos ran all zone- blocking in the running game to combat line stunts.
"We're still trying to get an identity," tight end Daniel Graham said. "Right now we can't even run the ball, so we don't have an identity."
As productive as the passing game has been, the Broncos don't need big numbers out of the running game. They do need it to be effective enough to give pass rushers pause.
Whether it is theoretically possible to succeed without a running game is academic. The Broncos need one to protect their meal ticket.
|10-07-2010, 01:05 PM||#6|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Nov 2005
Talk about no context. Five sacks in three games before the Titans game. Not bad at all. The protection has been for the most part quite good. I expect they'll get it figured out and fix the problems of last week. Yes we need to get our run blocking fixed but this is just lazy work.
|10-07-2010, 01:25 PM||#7|
Join Date: Jan 2009
How in heaven does he dare to make up a story like that?
He's a freakin' idiot.
I can't beleive the guy has a job writing garbage like that.
We have a running game. We have an OL.
The guy is full of ****!
Orton didn't get sacked, and we ran the ball just fine.
|10-07-2010, 01:42 PM||#8|
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Backside of the Internet
|10-07-2010, 03:17 PM||#11|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jul 2002
The problem isn't necessarily pass protection. For the amount of dropbacks, Orton has generally been protected very well and some of the sacks have been on him as he doesn't want to throw the ball into high risk areas.
But I agree with Josh. Having an immobile QB drop back that many times WILL catch up to you.