The Las Vegas Raiders host their AFC West rivals, the Denver Broncos, during Week 4 of the NFL season. The Raiders are undefeated against the Broncos ever since their move to Las Vegas. This time around, the Broncos traded for star quarterback Russell Wilson. Let’s break down the Bronco offense so far.
Broncos vs. Raiders: The Good About Denver’s Offense
Three weeks into the season, the Bronco offense has been bad, considering the expectations coming into the season. Their “good” has been their top wide receiver, Courtland Sutton, and his great start to the season. He currently ranks fifth in the NFL with 291 receiving yards.
Sutton has always been a good receiver in the league, but it seems like he has taken a step forward this year. The Broncos lost wide receiver Tim Patrick prior to the season, meaning Sutton and Co. would have more targets. So far, Sutton is their only wide receiver that has seemed to accept the extra workload. Despite their lackluster offense, Sutton looks like a true wide receiver, as he has been able to establish good chemistry with Wilson thus far.
He can beat you over the top or use his height to mow you down. The Raiders’ cornerbacks have their work cut out for them on Sunday against Sutton.
What’s gone “bad” for the Broncos’ offense?
Wilson was expecting a strong rushing attack from the running back duo of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon entering the season. Well, three weeks into the season, they have disappointed, simply put.
The Broncos rank 12th in rush yards per game, which isn’t bad, but considering they have two quality backs, it’s quite underwhelming. While Williams has been more effective, the Broncos are giving both about the same touches. Which means good things for opposing defensive coordinators: fewer Williams equals fewer headaches.
The biggest concern is that both backs have a combined four fumbles on the season. Gordon is leading the league with three and Willaims has one on the season. The worrisome thing is that the running backs have had trouble in the red zone with ball security, which isn’t helping their scoring offense.
The downright ugly about Nathaniel Hackett’s offense
The ugly has been their scoring offense. Wilson was brought in to elevate this offense, as they already had some pieces in place. But it has been the same story.
The Broncos have the ninth-ranked offense, but their struggles in the red zone are an eyesore. Simply stated, they have been able to get yards but can’t score.
They are 31st in points, 27th in pass touchdowns, 32nd in touchdowns, 32nd in red zone touchdowns, and 32nd in red zone touchdown percentage. Yikes, those are some horrible numbers, considering the talent they have around Wilson.
A big reason is that their running backs have had fumbling issues along with head coach Nathaniel Hackett not really unleashing Wilson. If you don’t have trust in your running backs in the red zone because of ball security, then it’s going to be hard to score. Wilson is at his best when he can move around the pocket and use his legs to extend plays. We have not seen much of that from Wilson during the first three weeks.
Players who were supposed to take a jump, such as wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, have been quiet. This hurts their scoring offense, as Jeudy can help with his big play ability and Okwuegbunam can help with his big body frame. So far, drops and chemistry have hurt this pair.
The Bronco offense hasn’t looked pretty, but against a banged-up Raider defense, they can get back on track.
*Top Photo: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images