This is a collaboration between @ALLTHINGS18 and myself. Based on a comment made by AllTHINGS18, we hatched this look into Offensive Coordinator, Mike McCoy and what it could mean in Denver for the Broncos. Happy news for Demaryius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders. However, if you’re a RB on our team the news is more bleak. As far as the TE position, Virgil Green is in trouble and Jeff Heuerman and AJ Derby better hope problems last year were the quarterback and coach’s fault. If they can’t catch, their future is dim.
Below is our examination of how Mike McCoy uses his players on his first downs, we wanted to see if we could spot a trend. We then translated McCoy’s patterns to personnel in Denver. In making this analysis, it also gives we fans a clue to what draft picks may make better sense than others under the new coaching scheme.
Melvin Gordon was a game changer for the Chargers under McCoy. He was used on 48 more first downs than his next highest year. Until he was injured late last season, Gordon was the league’s top points maker that wasn’t a kicker. Except when one TE and two WR’s were used, McCoy ran 54% on first downs. He saw Gordon as an offensive strength and he used it.
Based on these charts, it’s tough to fathom Denver not bringing in a RB. One who can catch. Further down are charts showing McCoy likes catching big bodied TE’s, as well. While Elway will most likely draft the best available player, that won’t mean best available WR in the 1st round.
If you compare again, if McCoy has a RB with some chops, he’ll try to punch you in the mouth on first down.
Looking at the below chart, we see that McCoy wanted to rush first, and throw second. When he has good RB production, this play calling is his first choice.
How does McCoy’s play calling style help our passing game? It brings defenders up into the ‘box.’ Meaning that middle linebacker(S) and the Strong Safety will creep up towards the front three or four on the line of scrimmage. This is where most run plays occur behind the offense’s front line. This playing area is known as a box.
When defenders come up to the box, it makes it easier on following plays to throw a pass at an intermediate deep level. These are high impact passes over defenders’ heads and into an area of the field with less bodies.
In assessing McCoy’s play-calling patterns, you can also see that he likes using Tight Ends. A LOT. Under Kubiak in 2016, Broncos used 3TE 1WR 4 times in 2016 on 1st & 10. EVERY other first down call was a running play. McCoy on the other hand had a 25. 72% run with the Chargers.
In 2015, on 1 & 10 under Kubiak, a 3TE, 1WR formation was used 7 times. This equaled 5 rushes and 2 passes. Contrast that with McCoy at 34, a 68% run average. For comparison, in 2012 when McCoy was Denver’s OC with Manning, this TE heavy set was used 19 times for 3 passes and 9 yards. 16 rushes for 66 yards.
McCoy in two years with the Chargers, showed this look 59 times to Kubiak’s 11. As an aside, what kind of WCO doesn’t use its TE’s more? It’s not like during this period Denver had a slot or a super rusher. Kubiak only had 3 TE’s last season. FYI, San Diego had five.
The smallest TE San Diego has is 6’4″, 260. The other four are 6’5″ and weigh between 250 and 259. Look for one or two big TE’s being added.
We evaluated McCoy’s first downs because it speaks to what type of offense he wants. The first down call sets the tone for the offense. Second down plays are mop up, and the third down is the QB money down. This is where you can see QB personalities and styles on the field. What QB’s are willing to chuck it on 3rd and continue the drive by pushing the ball past the marker.
It’s no surprise that Big Ben, Famous Jameis, Aaron, Newton and Brady were top five. I was surprised that Rivers wasn’t in the top ten. In case you were wondering, when it came to Siemian and Lynch and who did better at throwing past the sticks, showing aggression, Siemian was 1.5, Lynch, 3.0. Compare this to Ben who was 4.2, while Rivers was only 1.4.
Even with McCoy calling runs on first down, his pass play was successful. This is when you subtract the awful quarterbacks, Orton and Tebow. In 2011, he had 200 more rushing yards than passing. This chart is first down production. We can surmise from these different charts that the quarterback has a lot to do with production in every area. Only with Orton, Tebow and Siemian did passing first downs drop below 200. Clearly what Kubiak was doing and an injured Manning and Osweiler was an issue in 2016, as well.
As you can tell, when McCoy had Tebow, he used him as a 660 yard rusher to make up for his awful passing skills. This shows he will work with what he has.
Here you can compare how Denver and San Diego did on overall offensive production. Average YPP means Yards Per Play. Passing is average passing yards gained, which includes yards after the catch. Rushing average are yards per attempt.
Overall, you can see that generally the better the passing, the better the rushing in any scheme, except when your QB is your second best rusher. Then, all bets are off. Tebow had 660 rushing yards as QB. These years also represent a variety of schemes.
The chart below further demonstrates that McCoy likes catching running backs and loves productive big tight ends. It also shows how well McCoy works with the players he has to work with. We only used the top 2-3 producers to give you a look at what McCoy prefers.
With CJ questionable, we don’t have a starting RB who can catch. Or TE. If Elway wants the same kind of production that McCoy can produce, he’s going to have to make those his top draft choices.When it comes to quarterbacks, I’m not sure how he feels about their size, but how luck played out, he’s had some big guys. Orton 6’4″, 6’5″ Manning, 6’5″ Rivers. Tebow was the smallest at 6’3″, but he was a tank and used like one. Not sure what type he’ll choose as the last pick. At Wide Receiver, I checked and they’ve been all sizes, so have his RB’s.
I hope you’re excited Broncos Country, because if John Elway gives McCoy some good draft picks, he can put together an offense that is productive for us. Much of his offensive talent in San Diego was overshadowed by poor defenses which hindered them. We’ve got the D, the WR’s, the big passing quarterback, the WR’s, 3/4 of an OL, we are just are missing a TE, RB, and LT (trade, please). Bring on the draft and 2017!