Twitter Questions: Will our offense be more dynamic than the last 3 seasons? What about using Trips Left or Naked Bootlegs?

I’m going to answer the Trips question first because it answers the dynamic question, too. To make it simple, Trips Left (or right), means there are three Wide Receivers on the left side of the ball. Generally, passing teams use this formation often (from the shotgun). Run-first, under center, West Coast Offenses, use it seldomly.

Denver keeping fullback, Andy Janovich, indicates focusing on the run. Teams who are pass-first rarely keep one because he’s a waste of a roster spot if you’re not a run-first team. Why? Because a FB’s primary job is to block for a RB or even a running QB. In order to load one side with three WR’s, you need at least one more WR to play opposite, a guy that teams see as a threat. That’s how you spread a defense out.

What playing under center does make itself ripe for is the naked bootleg which is simply when most of the team heads in one direction and the QB takes off alone in the other. The last time we saw one was Peyton Manning vs Dallas for a TD. This worked because he hadn’t run one in maybe seven years and it was so unexpected. Typically though, boots work best with an athletic and quick QB.

Could we see Case Keenum run some boots, naked or with a blocker? Not likely. While he did scramble for 160 yards last season, I don’t believe most were from designed runs. From what I remember, his were often from being chased. He only averaged 2.7 yards. To use Bortles as a reference, he scrambled 322 yards, with an average of 7.0.

The team has been non-committal on what scheme we’ll be seeing. Bill Musgrave had moved from a traditional WCO coach to using different concepts. Look at Oakland in 2016, it was their best offense in a while. However, keeping Janovich, indicates run-first. For now.

They may not know themselves until half way through training camp how pass happy they can be, it depends on the OL and then the receiving corps. Trips gives the QB four (or five) real options to make a play. That requires a QB who can read the entire field quickly and make every throw, or else why bother? But he also needs more than 2 seconds for them to get where they’re going.

The QB needs a decent pocket and good pockets most often come from a power gap OL because they’re bigger guys. If they have Keenum UC and using a ZBS, that leaves 2 seconds to dump the ball. Not exactly the formula for stacking the WR’s.

A WCO divides the field up into halves, often quarters, so the QB only has a small section to process. Hence, it’s easy to dump the ball quickly. Get the ball, drop back, throw to the one target. There’s the real play, and maybe one other choice in the same area, that’s it, the rest of the receivers are decoys. When you’re employing four or even five eligible targets, spreading the field out, the QB’s focus is no longer narrow.

Remember when we had Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Andre Caldwell, Joel Dreessen, Knowshon Moreno, Jacob Tamme? Teams didn’t know who to double cover because everyone was an option.

Right now, we don’t have the offensive weapons needed to employ this as part of the regular playbook. Plus, this isn’t something we’ve seen Case Keenum do because of the systems he’s played in. He had two games over 300 yards in 15 games, with an average of 221 a game. He had five games under 200 yards. 3,547 total yards.

For reference, Blake Bortles averaged 230 in his 16 games, had four games over 300 and six games under 200. 3,687 total yards. I’d say while Blake was more erratic, at the end of the day, we have two fairly comparable QB’s for last season. Does it mean we see the same in 2018? I don’t know; however, Bortles took more risks.

PFF showed that when it came to making big time throws, Keenum was in the second tier. This may be why they’ve kept Jano. He’s a good fallback plan if an aerial attack is out the question.

Case Keenum throws
pro football focus

Normally, teams don’t have the choice (or coaches who will change) to wait and see what they have; however, since Denver was supposed to be a passing team last season, but QB play prevented them from being one, they morphed into a run-first one. This was able to happen because they had a WCO the previous two seasons.

My guess is we’re something new, but with strong usage of the backs since we’ve heard that they were being used more, including in the passing game. That says, dink and dunk. Throw short, short, short, run, run, run and then when teams suck up, launch an intermediate to deep one, once a quarter.

The good news is, it sounds as if Bill Musgrave is actually tailoring the playbook to the players he has instead of wishing were there. We’re hearing it’s simple and with so many young guns, that’s a good thing.

Will it be dynamic, with five receiver sets? Very doubtful, but it won’t be chaotic and hurting the team. Keenum won’t be making throws he knows is beyond his skill set, something Siemian and Asweiler often did, which lead to disaster. We should see a competent offense that while it will lack an aerial attack, can still move down the field and not find balls in the defense’s hands.

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