2016 Bronco running game worst in 50 years.

John Elway was born at the end of June 1960. I was born in May 1960. Back in 1966, my dad had a 1966 brown country sedan with a c6 trans and a 289 V8.  In Babbitt Nevada, we had NBC and CBS. My German mom listened to Elvis on a tube type AM radio that sat atop an old American made fridge.  Dad was in Vietnam. Elwood was a snotty nosed brat in Port Angeles Washington. Little Elwood loved his PF flyers because he could run faster and jump higher. On Saturday mornings he watched Johny Qwest.

Bronco fans do not know what goes on in the locker room or “Greek’s medical office.” We do know that Knowshon Moreno was starting to rock and roll until Elway sent him on his way to Miami. We know that Ronnie Hillman finally started killing it in 2015 But because he was not good at special teams, they let him walk and retained Juwan Thompson for 2016. For the most part, if we just look at yardage, Hillman and Anderson were within yards of each other.

23 Ronnie Hillman 24 RB 16 11 207 863 7 72 4.2 53.9 12.9 35 24 111 4.6 0 14 1.5 6.9 68.6% 974 7 3
22 C.J. Anderson 24 rb 15 5 152 720 5 48 4.7 48.0 10.1 36 25 183 7.3 0 27 1.7 12.2 69.4% 903 5 2

Peyton Manning elevated the running game. He was an on the field coach.

Devontae Booker seems to be a sturdier runner than Hilman, but he will probably only gain 580 yards on the season.

All the winning teams have a “Super back!” When Rothlessburger cannot connect with Antonio Brown, he lets Levion Bell run amock.  Matt Ryan has Devonte Freeman. Even Andy Reid has made adjustments to opposing shutdown corners with the addition of a “Superback!” The list is expanding.

Kubiak and Dennison rely upon obsolete Shanahan style plug and play running game dogma. Their playcalling was both weak and subject to constant changes of mind. Instead of developing the hands in the backfield, they run the running back into piles of bodies in the center of the field.

At this juncture, John Elway has to think about replenishing the herd of coaches. As it is, the rest of the NFL have Kubiak and Dennison dialed in. Opposing defenses basically know what Dennison and Kubiak will do before they call it. Just ask Jack Del Rio or Andy Reid. It is clear that Kubiak and Dennison are now outclassed and outgunned in the AFC West.  The only saving grace is Wade Phillips and his D-line.

The Broncos have to beat the players in their division. Jake Plummer was benched because he failed to win a division game even at 7-4. The Broncos cannot disregard the Chargers either. With just a little better defense, Phillip Rivers rolls into Denver in 2017 and beats the Broncos. If things remain the same and the Raiders and Chiefs remain strong, the Broncos will be at the bottom of the heap for another year. The Broncos won early because of the “Manning Effect!” Over time, the offense adapted and lowered itself to Trevor Siemian’s true and actual skill baseline. Combined with Kubiak’s Houston style losing mentality and self-fulfilling prophecy and 2017 will shape up to be a sub .300 year.

All great coaches are subject to obsolescence. Landry, Shanahan, Schottenheimer, Reeves, and the list goes on and on.

The root cause of the substandard Bronco running game is the lack of sound running backs, the loss of Peyton Manning, a porous offensive line, and obsolete play calling. The only reason why Trevor Siemian has solid early season numbers is because Wade Phillips D-line kept him on the field. One can only imagine what Siemian’s numbers would have looked like with even a 15th ranked D-line.

Peyton Manning’s last hurrah, in reality, should have been the last hurrah for Kubiak and Dennison. Now that the Sheriff has ridden off into the sunset, the Broncos have basically old school NFL furniture for a coaching staff. I personally do not think that they can resurrect their prowess amongst modern day teams, and their demise will look like Shanahan in Washington only much worse. Without Peyton Manning to lead and run interference, the Broncos are left with a Brock Osweiler level of coaching and play. Manning made up for it. After the loss of the Big O, Vasquez, and Clady, Manning was brutalized but got the job done. had Manning played for the Broncos in 2016, he would be in a wheelchair now.

Lastly, the Broncos have been shuffling around tight ends like a meth head at a grocery store. They need to settle on 2 TEs and work them into the offense.

Siemian is salvageable if the problems are fixed. He needs to work hard in the offseason with his RB and WR corps. The Broncos need to take advantage of his quick release. They need to look at film of QBs that get rid of the ball quickly.

Maybe Elwood should give Manning a call and offer him a coaching job.

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