Denver Post Broncos writer Ryan O’Halloran posts his Broncos Mailbag weekly during the season. Submit questions to Ryan here.
It appears Drew Lock is not taking to the coaching from Pat Shurmur/Mike Shula. When his first read isn’t open, he always (not sometimes, always) scrambles/bails to the right. Then his footwork fails him and he throws off his back foot. He is only successful the last two fourth quarters because defenses have slowed their rush and played softer coverage with a large lead. He shines when there is no pressure from the pocket. This is exactly who he was at Missouri. Any pressure from the defense flushed him right and killed his footwork. I guess I am frustrated because of the constant drafting of players that Elway seems to think can be fixed. Your thoughts?
— Brennan, Jenks, Okla.
Who knows what is going on behind the scenes and the chemistry between quarterback (Lock), play-caller (Shurmur) and position coach (Shula). But the conversations better be honest and constructive this week.
Lock’s back-foot throws have got him in trouble this year, the product of a young player trying his best to make a play.
I agree with your point on Lock taking advantage of soft coverages, particularly against Atlanta.
Why not have Mike Shula call plays for the rest of this crazy year? It’s obvious Pat Shurmur is not on the same page as Drew Lock.
— Tom Mueller, Broomfield
Another comment about the lack of connectivity between Shurmur and Lock.
It would be great if Shurmur would open his office door to have me listen in so I can pass along thoughts about how he and Lock are clicking.
Shula has extensive play-calling experience from his time as Carolina’s offensive coordinator.
Great job on reporting on the Broncos. I was wondering about the play-calling and the mentality of Drew Lock. It seems that Lock wants to be a gun-slinger similar to Brett Favre. However, Shurmur wants to run the ball early to get the passing game going. I am wondering if Lock gets disappointed in not being able to sling the ball early and it in turn affects his play. When he has to sling it, like the fourth quarter in the last two games, he was great. So do you think Shurmur needs to let him sling it a little more in the early going? Or since Shurmur is the coach, Lock needs to not let the emotions get the best of him and just do his part?
— Del, Lamar
In Sunday’s first quarter, the Broncos had eight rushes and 11 passes, plenty of chances for Lock to get into a rhythm. Shurmur called a pass on the first snap.
Ideally, the Broncos can have decent balance of run and pass — the run helping set up the play-action passes downfield and the pass helping lighten up the line of scrimmage to create running room. But in the last three games, the Broncos have been in chase-the-game mode, which forced the offense to be one dimensional (more passing than rushing).
Can we address the Raiders’ fourth-and-1 in the second quarter? Live speed, it looked as though Las Vegas was stopped short and the defense celebrated and Denver looked to have the ball at their own 30. Las Vegas got called for holding on the play, which Vic Fangio immediately accepted, and instead of a turnover on downs, Las Vegas pinned Denver at the 2 on the ensuing punt. What happened here? Had the refs given Oakland a first down? And if so, couldn’t Fangio at least have asked for a measurement? Was this just a horrible coaching blunder, again?
— Steve Shultz, Forks, Wash.
— Victor, Alameda, Calif.
Steve and Victor asked about the same sequence and Fangio addressed it on Monday.
The Raiders were given the first down via Josh Jacobs’ one-yard carry. Fangio said he thought about challenging the spot, but his eyes in the sky advised him there was too much “gray” area for a reversal so he accepted the 10-yard penalty and forced the Raiders to punt.
How do you feel about my 2021 offseason plan for the Broncos: Fire the whole coaching staff except Ed Donatell if Fangio doesn’t want to be defensive coordinator. Hire Eric Bieniemy. Try everything to sign Dak Prescott or try to trade for Deshaun Watson.
— Uday Chaudhary, Cypress, Texas
Uday is done with this Broncos’ season and is already looking toward 2021. Bieniemy, the former Colorado running back/assistant coach, will again be on the radar of teams needing a head coach. But if I’m Bieniemy, how attractive would the Broncos’ job be?
As for Prescott and Watson, stranger things have happened. The Cowboys have fallen apart minus Prescott, further increasing his value to Dallas. And the Texans are going to have Watson as the centerpiece of their rebuild, perhaps teamed with Bieniemy.
Why is the offense so bad and why keep playing the same quarterback when he makes the same mistakes week in, week out? In the long run this does not help him or the team.
— Keith, Hemel Hempstead, England
I wonder if Keith would have been at Tottenham Stadium for this year’s Broncos-Falcons game in London that was scrapped because of the coronavirus. Lock remains the Broncos’ best available quarterback. Remember, Brett Rypien’s first and only start, against the Jets in Week 4, featured more interceptions (three) than touchdowns (one).
Where I disagree: Lock needs to keep playing if healthy. The Broncos need to use the final seven games as an experiment to see if he can be their guy moving forward.
Why is our team looking like they are not prepared every week like we don’t watch film?
— Cornell Brown, Denver
A sweeping statement wrapped in a question. I’ll swing it in the direction of detail attention. Ten and 12 men on the field defensively. A false start to begin an offensive drive. Multiple special teams issues.
The Broncos spent hours meeting and preparing for the Las Vegas game, but something was lost in the translation and the product put forth was an eyesore.
To John Elway: I’m so frustrated in the offensive production, which all starts with coaching. I realize we have went through many coaches and quarterbacks since the glory days. Getting Peyton Manning was a very nice move. Honestly, when Peyton was in the quarterbacks’ room, did anyone take notes? How can you go from setting an NFL record in points scored in a season to what we are seeing now? I’m so disappointed in what I’m seeing. No discipline. Poor coaching. Horrible quarterback play, which is where it all starts. John, you must be saying, “C’mon man!” I feel for you, buddy. You have always been my hero and thanks for the memories.
— Gary Poland, Reno, Nev.
Peyton Manning covered up all kinds of warts for the Broncos during his tenure. As for taking notes, none of the folks around Manning during those years are currently in a coaching or playing capacity with the team.
No discipline? That was receiver Tim Patrick getting ejected for throwing punches on Sunday. Poor coaching? We’ve addressed that. Horrible quarterback play? Lock needs to be better.
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