A tale of Denver’s defense and how varied it is. Bet you can’t guess how many combos were used.

When DeMarcus Walker (‘Mamba Mode’ to us ‘Noles) was drafted, many in Broncos Country groaned. They wondered what would Joe Woods do with him in a 3-4 scheme. He doesn’t fit a stereotypical Defensive End look/role or as a Nose.

They didn’t care that he was a sack beast in the best conference in the country (9 bowl wins), only that he wouldn’t fit in in our 3-4 scheme.

Want to take a guess at how many different personnel groupings we had in 2016? In total we had 1,079 plays. 594 pass, 485 rush. So, take a stab, at a number.

How many think 20? 50? 100? 150? 200? 300? The answer is….

 

380 different combinations. Using 25 players. Of those 380 groupings, we used the following combination the most. 8.1% out of 1,079 plays for the season:

Crick, Wolfe, Williams, Davis, Marshall,
Ray, Miller, Talib, Harris, Ward and Stewart
Plays Pass Run Avg Gain Avg Pass Avg Run TD
87 35 52 5.8 6.2 5.4 1

 

The following group was used next most at 4.1% of the time:

Crick, Wolfe, Marshall, Ray, Miller,
Talib, Harris, Roby, Parks, Ward and Stewart
Plays Pass Run Avg Gain Avg Pass Avg Run TD
44 38 6 4.6 4.6 4.8 0

Notice no NT was used?

After those 131 plays out of the 1,079, the next combo was only 25 plays and from there on it keeps dropping.

Denver only used 18 looks 10 or more times. This means that when quarterbacks faced us, they had a 5% chance of seeing one of those 18. While our defense may have lagged a bit against the run, Wade and his staff tried 380 different combos to find the answer.

The chart is too long to post, but I went through the list trying to find if there was one weak link, one player who when replaced, made everything better.

The following three groups of the top 18, allowed no rushing yards: Jared Crick, Derek Wolfe, Corey Nelson, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, T.J. Ward, Justin Simmons, Darian Stewart and

Jared Crick, Derek Wolfe, Corey Nelson, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Lorenzo Doss, Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, Will Parks, T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart and

Jared Crick, Derek Wolfe, Corey Nelson, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Lorenzo Doss, Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, T.J. Ward, Justin Simmons, Darian Stewart. This group allowed a passing TD. Notice which CB is missing? Aqib. We also notice that Sylvester Williams is missing, meaning we didn’t use a NT.

You know what though?

Our defense only allowed 28 TDs all damn year. Don’t look at them for not making the Playoffs.

Our coaches were able to use 380 combinations, spent all that time coming up with them and it worked. Sure, the run stop wasn’t always great, but of the top two combos, those 131 plays gave up ONE TD. One.

In addition, of the top ten combos that were used, they still only gave up ONE. In total, 15 rushing TD’s were allowed (8th) and 13 passing (1st).

Do you understand where I’m heading here? How many teams who only allow 28 TDs and finish 9-7 and don’t make the play offs?

Only three games our defense allowed three TD’s, so, there is zero excuse not to have finished 13-3. Atlanta, KC and New Orleans. Matt Ryan and Atlanta were a SB team, Drew Brees was Drew Brees, so only one game against Alex Smith is questionable.

Moving on before I throw something at what a waste of a defense last year was.

With the additions of Domata Peko, Zach Kerr and Walker to the DL, there’s no reason to think that our brain trust of coaches can’t find creative ways to use all of them. Kids, it’s going to be a fun year!

 

2 thoughts on “A tale of Denver’s defense and how varied it is. Bet you can’t guess how many combos were used.

  • May 19, 2017 at 11:50 pm
    Permalink

    And to think how much better our defense could have been if the offense could have sustained some drives and given them some rest.

    Reply
    • May 20, 2017 at 10:25 am
      Permalink

      Don’t make me cry. We have a piece coming about how crappy Kubiak’s offense was using McCoy’s. It’s pitiful. Have to look at the stat again, but I believe Manning and McCoy had 110 more first downs than Kubiak and Siemian.

      Reply

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