The Broncos had an early bye at 3-1, and their offense has shown signs of improvement. Especially in the run game. But that has resulted in a decline in the passing game.
As the Broncos emerge from the bye with a Sunday night game against the Giants, the potency of the passing game is an area of concern. However, Broncos coach Vance Joseph won’t make changes simply for the sake of improving the numbers.
“We don’t want to force feed the ball to those guys,” Joseph told reporters on Monday regarding receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. “Obviously going into our prep and our gameplan week, the pass game goes through Thomas and Sanders. That’s not a secret at all. But it depends on how defenses play us. Whatever they give us from a defensive perspective, we’re going to take advantage of. If they give us shell coverage and taking those two guys away, we’re going to pound the football. Hopefully, we’ll force those guys to close the middle and play more cover three and cover one so we can get a fair matchup outside. If they play shell, we’re going to run the football. That’s our formula to score points right now.”
That’s the key when it comes to playing offense generally. If the defense takes away the run, you pass. If they take away the pass, you run.
And a coach can’t worry about whether any specific players are frustrated about how it all plays out.
“Receivers? They’re always frustrated,” Joseph told reporters last week with a laugh. “They want to catch want to catch 10 balls a game. I like that. Especially from [Sanders]. I like his personality. He wants the ball every play. That’s cool. He should want the ball every play. He’s a competitive dude.”
Through four games this year, Sanders has 20 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas has 18 receptions for 247 yards and no scores.
It’s definitely a drop from 2016. Sanders had 25 catches for 293 yards and three scores through four games a year ago. Thomas had 21 catches for 332 yards and two touchdowns.