Denver’s OL is quickly finding comfort in Hackett’s new offense

Denver Broncos offensive tackle Calvin Anderson (76) and guard Quinn Meinerz (77) take the field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 27-19.
Oct 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Denver Broncos offensive tackle Calvin Anderson (76) and guard Quinn Meinerz (77) take the field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 27-19. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As the Denver Broncos transition to the zone-blocking-heavy scheme new head coach Nathaniel Hackett is set to run, some of the biggest beneficiaries should be the offensive line, as the zone-blocking system is notoriously more player-friendly.

Plus, new offensive line coach Butch Barry appears to be doing an excellent job overseeing the scheme transition.

“[Having Barry is] extremely important,” new offensive coordinator Justin Outten told the media Wednesday. “You’re not having to worry about the terminology, and not having to worry about going through the teach tape and making sure that everything is built from the ground up. It’s very refreshing to have Butch in the system. He was with us in Green Bay across the ball. He went to San Francisco and ran a very similar style. He’s got the tenacity if you haven’t noticed. He does a really good job of getting his guys going. He’s demanding the best from those guys. [Assistant Offensive Line Coach] Ben Steele does a really good job with those guys as a counterpart. [Offensive Quality Control] Coach [Ramon] Chinyoung—all those guys are speaking the same lingo and forcing those guys to put their best foot forward each day.”

With that said, it’s hard to truly get a read on how the offensive line is performing during this non-contact period.

“It’s very difficult when you’re trying to get them to run off the ball,” Outten said. “That’s where ‘Indy’ (individual position work) is so important. That’s why you get those opportunities to hit bags and see them run off the ball. As far as getting their landmarks and opening up a run—which is truly what we’re looking for—you can kind of feel that on video, but you will never know until you get pads on.”

If Denver’s offensive line takes a step forward in 2022, as the scheme shifts schemes, it could propel them deep into January.

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