Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Ryan Tannehill got in a limited practice Wednesday after apparently being close to playing in Week 9 through his ankle injury.
- Five defensive starters missed practice for the Titans on Wednesday, including NT Teair Tart, DT Jeffery Simmons, ILB Zach Cunningham, OLB Bud Dupree, and SS Amani Hooker.
- Denver has the highest delta between defensive DVOA (second) and offensive DVOA (27th) in the league.
- The Derrick Henry show should be allowed to continue and thrive here against a clear run-funnel Broncos defense ceding 5.02 yards per carry to opposing backfields.
How denver Will Try To Win ::
The Broncos have to be considered one of the greatest head-scratchers of the 2022 season, limping into the midpoint scoring the third fewest points per game (15.1 – ahead of only Pittsburgh and Indianapolis) with a roster that many attacked relentlessly in offseason Best Ball drafts. The offensive log jam shouldn’t be viewed as resulting from one particular aspect, but rather a combination of multiple shortcomings. First, Russell Wilson has looked #bad. His timing is off, his arm strength appears down, and he has yet to gel with his pass-catchers. Second, Javaonte Wiliams was lost for the season early in the year, and he is inarguably their most dynamic offensive playmaker. Next, their pass-catchers are having an immensely difficult time separating from defenders, with Courtland Sutton (82nd), Jerry Jeudy (90th), and K.J. Hamler (unqualified) all struggling to separate from coverage. Their most often open player this season has been rookie tight end Greg Dulcich, whom we are starting to see become one of the most reliable weapons on this offense. Finally, head coach and offensive play-caller Nathaniel Hackett has called one of the most vanilla and boring offenses in recent memory, leveraging his defensive fortitude (second in defensive DVOA and second in points allowed per game) to run a moderately paced (11th in first half pace of play and 16th in situation neutral pace of play), balanced offense (neutral pass rate over expectation).
The loss of Javonte Williams for the season sparked a chain reaction for this run game. First off, their offensive line has not been atrocious by any means, blocking to the 13th-best adjusted line yards metric in the league. Their running backs have underperformed that mark by a solid 0.73 yards per carry, ranking as the sixth worst yards per carry unit in the league, which also comes with the largest gap between line yards created and running back output. This prompted the acquisitions of veteran running backs Latavius Murray (lolz) and Chase Edmonds (at the trade deadline) to pair with Melvin Gordon, further convoluting the expected snap and opportunity share in the backfield. The pure rushing matchup yields a well below average 4.12 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Tennessee team ranked atop the league in the metric (just 3.99 running back yards allowed per carry). Your guess is as good as mine as to how the backfield usage will be allotted for the Broncos this week.
Things don’t get any better through the air, as newcomer quarterback Russell Wilson is the proud custodian of PFF’s 29th overall rating at the quarterback position, amongst qualified passers. As touched on above, the primary pass-catching options have struggled immensely in generating separation this season, with the unit led by rookie tight end Greg Dulcich. To highlight the vanilla play-calling and general dysfunction from the offense this season, Denver has called play-action on just 57 Russell Wilson dropbacks this season, a number surrounded by Zach Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, and Baker Mayfield (who have all played two fewer games). Courtland Sutton has been in a route on every single pass play this season for the Broncos, yet commands targets at a meager 22.1% target per route run rate. Jerry Jeudy’s targets per route run rate sit at a comparably poor 22.7% rate. Both rates are roughly equivalent to rookie tight end Greg Dulcich’s 21.8% targets per route run rate, which honestly shouldn’t be the case for a rookie tight end. Yards per route run: 2.33 for Dulcich, 1.89 for Jeudy, and 1.66 for Sutton. The one glaring positive here is a matchup with a Titans team allowing the third most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, third most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, and seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.
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