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Mid-season Broncos snap count analysis

I’ll drop the table on you and then the chart for each position group save for QB. Most folks remember that we have had three quarterbacks start games for us this season.

Player Position game 1 game 2 game 3 game 4 game 5 game 6 game 7 game 8
Lloyd Cushenberry III C 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Andrew Beck FB/TE 10% 9% 10% 11% 17% 0% 0% 0%
Dalton Risner G 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% 100% 100% 100%
Graham Glasgow G 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 0% 0%
Austin Schlottmann G 0% 0% 0% 0% 50% 0% 100% 100%
Jeff Driskel QB 0% 83% 79% 1% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Brett Rypien QB 0% 0% 21% 99% 0% 1% 0% 0%
Drew Lock QB 100% 17% 0% 0% 100% 99% 100% 100%
Melvin Gordon RB 63% 79% 62% 80% 0% 60% 55% 60%
Royce Freeman RB 10% 21% 38% 20% 39% 23% 0% 1%
Phillip Lindsay RB 32% 0% 0% 0% 62% 18% 45% 38%
LeVante Bellamy RB 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Jeremy Cox RB/FB 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 10% 9% 0%
Elijah Wilkinson T 100% 100% 100% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Garett Bolles T 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Demar Dotson T 0% 0% 0% 100% 100% 100% 100% 30%
Calvin Anderson T 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Jake Rodgers T 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 70%
Noah Fant TE 73% 79% 84% 50% 0% 70% 78% 78%
Jake Butt TE 27% 9% 29% 49% 61% 0% 0% 0%
Nick Vannett TE 27% 30% 0% 40% 45% 45% 17% 15%
Albert Okwuegbunam TE 0% 0% 0% 0% 38% 40% 25% 21%
KJ Hamler WR 0% 62% 92% 20% 0% 39% 80% 75%
Tim Patrick WR 85% 65% 84% 76% 92% 66% 0% 82%
Jerry Jeudy WR 75% 57% 73% 69% 73% 75% 89% 84%
DaeSean Hamilton WR 80% 44% 19% 81% 59% 35% 94% 37%
Tyrie Cleveland WR 8% 0% 6% 3% 6% 17% 0% 8%
Diontae Spencer WR 10% 4% 3% 1% 6% 0% 0% 0%
Courtland Sutton WR 0% 40% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Fred Brown WR 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 8% 0%

Offensive Line

The only two members of the OL that have played every snap this season are Lloyd Cushenberry III and Garett Bolles. LCIII has been the lowest graded starting center in the NFL so far. His current grade is 40.2 (out of 100). The best center in the league, Corey Lindsley, has a 91.1 rating.

On the flip side, Bolles has been one of the the highest graded offensive tackles in the league (currently 3rd best behind Michael Onwenu and Trent Williams). His current grade is 89.6. Here are the current PFF grades for the other offensive linemen:

The best guard in the league right now, Wyatt Teller, has a rating of 94.4

From a unit perspective our OL is allowing pressure on 26.4% of dropbacks. That is tied for 29th. The Giants are worst in the league at 30.1%. The Saints are the best at 13.7%.

In terms of run blocking, we are currently tied for 31st in rushing first downs with 42 in 8 games. In terms of yards per carry we are currently ranked 17th at 4.34 ypc. The Vikings lead the league at 5.5 and the Dolphins are the worst at 3.6. Our running backs are getting a decent amount before they are hit (2.5 yards on average before they are hit – tied for 13th), but they not breaking tackles once they are hit (10 broken tackles so far this year in the running game – one every 20.6 carries – 26th in the league ).

Running Backs

Neither of our fullbacks have touched the ball this season. Melvin Gordon has gotten the lion’s share (319 offensive snaps) partly because Phillip Lindsay (130 offensive snaps) missed time with injury and Royce Freeman (104 offensive snaps) has hardly touched the ball. Gordon has 116 touches, Lindsay has 55 and Freeman has 27. In terms of yards per carry the numbers are 4.1, 5.8 and 3.4 respectively.

Lindsay has only been targeted seven times (two catches) and he has one drop (end of last game). He is still not being used in the passing game. For comparison, Gordon has 27 targets and Freeman has eight. Part of this is that Linsday is still very ineffective at pass blocking – much worse than either Gordon or Freeman.

Tight Ends

Keep in mind that we lost Austin Fort to injury before the season started. In fact the Broncos now have as many tight ends on the IR (four, if you count Andrew Beck, which I didn’t earlier) as have taken snaps for us this year. We recently re-signed Troy Fumagalli and I would not be surprised to see Jeff Heuerman brought back at some point.

In terms of usage in the offense, Noah Fant has 46 targets which is more than the rest of the tight ends who have played for use combined. Albert Okweugbunam is second with 15 (seven of those came in one game). Nick Vannett (11) and Jake Butt (4) have combined for the same number of targets as Albert O. With Butt and Albert O. both now on the IR, and Fant slowed by his ankle, I would expect Drew Lock to throw the ball to the WRs as Nick Vannett has done little with the ball in his hands this year. His six catches for 44 yards and two first downs in 153 offensive snaps doesn’t give me any confidence in his usage as a receiver during the second half of the season.

Wide Receivers

Jerry Jeudy has been our most consistent player at WR in terms of being able to play more than half the offensive snaps each week. Tim Patrick has been very heavily used when he has been healthy. The same could be said about KJ Hamler. DaeSean Patrick has been used very heavily in some games, and very sparingly in others. Fred Brown, Diontae Spencer and Tyrie Cleveland have combined for only a handful of offensive snaps though the first eight games.

In terms of targets Jeudy leads the team with 61, followed by Patrick (42), Hamler (28), Hamilton (21), Courtland Sutton (6), Cleveland (3) and Spencer (2). Our WRs have been targetted on 163 of our 281 targetted throws (throw-aways do not count as targets).

Player Position game 1 game 2 game 3 game 4 game 5 game 6 game 7 game 8
Bryce Callahan CB 99% 100% 97% 100% 100% 100% 100% 0%
Michael Ojemudia CB 79% 100% 97% 100% 100% 73% 92% 100%
Essang Bassey CB 56% 72% 57% 48% 0% 0% 17% 68%
A.J. Bouye CB 35% 0% 0% 0% 0% 100% 80% 0%
Davontae Harris CB 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 76%
De’Vante Bausby CB 0% 0% 0% 51% 74% 0% 0% 0%
Kevin Toliver CB 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 24%
Duke Dawson CB/S 0% 6% 1% 10% 18% 8% 9% 3%
Jurrell Casey DE 70% 78% 71% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Shelby Harris DE 56% 51% 57% 71% 67% 63% 59% 0%
Dre’Mont Jones DE 47% 31% 0% 0% 0% 61% 59% 58%
DeMarcus Walker DE 21% 6% 0% 0% 0% 43% 30% 58%
DeShawn Williams DT 0% 0% 40% 39% 63% 57% 36% 46%
McTelvin Agim DT 0% 0% 13% 22% 0% 0% 0% 27%
Timmy Jernigan DT 0% 0% 0% 1% 18% 0% 0% 0%
Alexander Johnson ILB 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 99%
Josey Jewell ILB 98% 97% 91% 95% 86% 92% 92% 96%
Joseph Jones ILB 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1%
Austin Calitro ILB 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Josh Watson ILB 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Mike Purcell NT 51% 63% 69% 62% 63% 10% 0% 0%
Sylvester Williams NT 0% 0% 0% 0% 12% 0% 28% 45%
Jeremiah Attaochu OLB 74% 62% 38% 0% 0% 0% 23% 31%
Bradley Chubb OLB 73% 86% 71% 77% 84% 71% 82% 79%
Malik Reed OLB 41% 48% 43% 74% 86% 84% 77% 75%
Derrek Tuszka OLB 0% 0% 0% 6% 7% 0% 0% 0%
Anthony Chickillo OLB 0% 0% 49% 43% 23% 39% 18% 15%
Justin Simmons S 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Kareem Jackson S 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 99% 100%
Trey Marshall S 1% 0% 3% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
P.J. Locke S 0% 0% 3% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%

Defensive Tackles and Nose Tackles

Timmy Jernigan is no longer on the team, but he only played 11 defensive snaps for us this season. Mike Purcell is done for the season and on the IR. Sylvester Williams was signed before game five, but has played 63 defensive snaps for us so far this year. In terms of snaps so far this season, DeShawn Williams has the most from the active group. The former undrafted player out of Clemson now has 186 defensive snaps for us this year. Purcell had 218 before he got hurt. McTelvin Agim will probably see much more usage as the year wears on. He currently only has 45 defensive snaps.

Defensive Ends

Shelby Harris will now miss game 9 due to testing positive for COVID-19. Without him and Jurrell Casey, we are without our top two defensive ends. Dre’Mont Jones has been effective in his 181 defensive snaps so far this year – five QBhits, 2.0 sacks and one pass defended. Demarcus Walker has been playing much more in the past three games. He’s up to 110 defensive snaps and should easily surpass his career high of 220 (in 2019) in the next three or four games. Unfortunately for us, Walker is not very effective. Particularly when you compare him to Harris. Harris has 23 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, eight QBhits, four TFL and three passes defended in 293 snaps. Walker has 6 total tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 QBhit, one TFL.

Outside Linebackers

Anthony Chickillo is a replacement level player, meaning that if we had any other players at OLB, he would not be playing. The Injury to Jeremiah Attaochu forced Chickillo to play. Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed have combined for 10.5 of the team’s 22.0 sacks and 23 of the team’s 54 QBhits. They have also combined for 12 of the team’s 40 TFL. Chubb has played 433 defensive snaps and Reed 362. Attaochu has 168 and Chickillo 126. Before getting injured Derrek Tuszka only logged nine defensive snaps. Tuszka was very active on those with three total tackles and one TFL on those nine.

Inside Linebackers

Austin Calitro has zero defensive snaps so far this year. Josh Watson also had zero before he got injured. Joseph Jones has two. Alexander Johnson has played all but one defensive snap this season. Josey Jewell has played on 93.5 percent of them. Johnson and Jewell have combined for 122 combined tackles, two passes defended, six TFL, nine QBhits and 3.0 sacks.

Cornerbacks

I have included Duke Dawson with this group even though he could have easily been put in the safety group. Up until last game, the one consistent guy from this group was Bryce Callahan both in terms of play and availability. The injury to A.J. Bouye forced undrafted free agent Essang Bassey into action despite the presence of two guys with much more experience, Davontae Harris and De’Vante Bausby. Both “Duh” CBs rode pine for much of the season. Harris got used and abused last game after not getting a single defensive snap prior to last Sunday (he has played on some special teams). Bausby played more than 50% of the defensive snaps in games four and five before he was released, signed by the Cardinals, released by the Cardinals and re-signed by the Broncos. I’m sure there is an interesting story behind that.

Michael Ojemudia is currently fifth on the team in total defensive snaps with 517 (92.8%). He has played well for the most part and looks to be much better than the other 3rd round CBs that John Elway has selected (Isaac Yiadom, Brendan Langley and Kayvon Webster).

Kevin Toliver got his first NFL defensive snaps on Sunday. He has 17 now. Duke Dawson has 37. According to PFR, Tolliver’s man was targetted twice on Sunday and caught both for 24 total yards, but only two yards after the catch. Dawson’s coverage assignment has only been thrown at once this season and that pass was not caught.

As far as the other CBs go, opposing passers have these ratings when throwing at them

  • D. Harris – 145.8
  • Bassey – 121.2
  • Tolliver – 116.7 (two throws in total)
  • Bouye – 112.5
  • Ojemudia – 103.1
  • Bausby – 72.5
  • Callahan – 48.6

Safeties

Trey Marshall and P.J. Locke have a combined five defensive snaps this season. Justin Simmons has been our stalwart playing every defensive snap for the past two and a half seasons. Kareem Jackson has missed one snap this season.

Our safety play has generally been quite good this year with the exception of a few plays, but I was surprised to see that Justin Simmons has allowed seven TDs to guys he has been covering on 22 catches. For comparison he allowed one in 2019 and three in 2018. In 2019 QBs had a passer rating of 43.6 when throwing to the man that Simmons was covering. So far this year they have a rating of 98.1. That being said, Simmons is currently the second highest graded safety in the game by PFF at 81.1. Only Jessie Bates III has a better overall grade right now than Simmons. Kareem Jackson is also in the top 10 with an overall grade of 72.0 right now.

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