In the first quarter through two weeks, the Denver Broncos offense has not been able to get on the board. The Broncos have started with the ball in both games and have suffered through eight scoreless possessions. Monday Night against the Atlanta Falcons, Peyton Manning threw three interceptions. Last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the offense was slow to gel and did not work as an offensive unit.
In the Broncos’ 31-19 win over the Steelers, the offense took off when they switched to the no-huddle; the Broncos scored all 24 of their offensive points on four no huddle drives. This led to a chorus of calls for the Broncos to switch to no huddle full time to give them an edge. The Broncos complied early on Monday Night Football and it came back to haunt them.
Peyton Manning took full responsibility for the three interceptions he threw. When it comes to Manning, you have to give a little blame every time to the receivers because he sees plays developing so well. However, in a dome where the Broncos had a hard time hearing the calls, speeding up the game hurt them.. They were not in sync and this led to the four turnovers. This was too hard to overcome despite the team coming back and only losing 27-21. Road teams that committed four or more turnovers have won only 3% of games in NFL history.
There are compelling reasons to run a no huddle offense. Despite the presence of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, quarterback Manning runs the offense and is capable of calling the plays at the line with the audible. He also capitalizes on mistakes by the defense, which occurs when they do not have time to setup.
On the slower, huddle-up side, the Broncos are not yet a cohesive unit on offense. Especially on the road early, this can lead to huge mistakes, as we saw from the three interceptions and fumble (although I think the refs messed up and the Broncos recovered that fumble). Perhaps establishing some sort of rhythm in the game is a better option for the time being, even if it does not lead to early points.
Coach John Fox, McCoy and Manning have five days to game plan for another strong defense in the Houston Texans. Look for a mix of huddle and no huddle offenses, simply because the Broncos have yet to find a steady offensive rhythm. Until they can count on consistency, it seems better to play safe early.