It’s no secret the Denver Broncos didn’t have the best offense in 2016. A combination of injuries and inexperience led to a 9-7 record, third place in the AFC West and the first January in Denver without playoff football in five seasons.
Some of the problems the Broncos experienced in 2016 seem to have been corrected. They’ve beefed up their offensive line and they’ve added some firepower to the backfield. But according to new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, the best way for the Broncos to move past last year is to just not worry about it anymore.
“I’m more worried about the future and what we’re doing moving forward,” McCoy said this spring. “Really, we focus more on moving forward and what type of system we want to implement here and what we want to do. I don’t want to overanalyze what they’ve done in the past. There are a lot of really good things, some things you’d do differently, some things we aren’t doing. The big thing is implement our system moving forward.”
As expected, the objective in place throughout the spring for the Broncos was to get the basics of the new systems down so they have something to work off once training camp arrives. According to a few key offensive players, the spring did just that.
“I’m very comfortable in where I am now that all the concepts are put in,” quarterback Paxton Lynch said. “There are still wrinkles going in every now and again, but where I’m at right now with what we’ve put in, I’m very confident in. I feel like the more reps I’m getting, the more I get to go with ‘D.T.’ [Demaryius Thomas] and ‘E’ [Emmanuel Sanders] in that first group. I think the more confident I get, the more comfortable I get.”
“I’m getting there,” quarterback Trevor Siemian said. “We’re all getting there. This is more team reps than I’ve gotten in the last two years, and I think that goes for everybody. That repetition is good for us, and we’re getting a lot thrown at us. We’ve had every install thrown in three times and that’s good for everybody. We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet.”
Until the Broncos step on the field, it will be tough to tell whether or not they improved from 2016 to 2017. While McCoy may be (semi) new in town, it hasn’t taken much time for him to sell his new players, ranging across all position groups, on his system.
“I like McCoy a lot,” fulback Andy Janovich said of his new offensive coordinator. “It’s looking good for the offense.”
“I think this is a great offense for tight ends,” tight end A.J. Derby said. “I think [McCoy’s] past record in San Diego shows that. The whole room is really excited to see what we can do this season.”
While still early, McCoy has already done a good job of getting players to buy into his system. According to tight end Virgil Green, he’s already put a plan in place to boost the run game and open up the passing game, something the Broncos struggled with all last season.
If the tight end is a quarterback’s best friend, McCoy will find a way to use them.
“I was busy blocking [Raiders DE] Khalil Mack and [Chiefs LB] Justin Houston and those guys on the edge,” Green said. “I think with a system like McCoy has provides answers for those guys and can make it to where the tight ends could be more available in the pass game.”
While McCoy has catered the offense to just about every other position group, the one group he hasn’t focused in on just yet is the quarterbacks. According to McCoy, that’s something he really can’t do until head coach Vance Joseph names a starter.
“It hasn’t right now because we’re installing the system for everybody,” McCoy said. “We’re trying to figure out what those guys do best. [Quarterbacks Coach Bill Musgrave] has done a great job with the quarterbacks while introducing our system to them.”
Fortunately for McCoy, he’s got plenty of time to figure out what works best come Sept. 11 when the San Diego Chargers come to town.
“Both coaches and players,” McCoy said. “We’re trying to figure out what we do best, and then when we get ready to play a game at the opener, we’ll figure out what those players do best.”