The old saying is that “defense wins championships.” That’s not the case anymore.
In today’s NFL, offenses can win championships. And John Elway needs to realize that fact.
The formula that Elway is currently using to build a winner in Denver is based on assembling an elite defenses that can carry the offense to victories. Every Super Bowl that Elway has won had a top five-ranked defense, including the teams he played on in 1997 and ’98, and the 2015 team as an executive.
Since that Super Bowl 50 victory, the Broncos have yet to have a top 20-ranked offense in the NFL. Denver has had one top-10 scoring defense in 2016 and currently has one now. But those defenses are not carrying the franchise into the playoffs.
Looking back at the last 10 Super Bowl champions, nine of those offenses ranked in the top 10 in points per game. The only team that didn’t rank in the top 10 was of course the 2015 Broncos (19th). The 2015 Broncos were led by their legendary defense and an aging Peyton Manning that was able to make sure the Broncos offense was in the correct plays at all times.
The Broncos championship teams all won using the Mike Shanahan / Gary Kubiak offense, which was effective. Since then, Denver has tried to copy that offense with different offensive coordinators and quarterbacks that have been around that system. The only issue is that it hasn’t worked.
The offense currently works in San Francisco under Kyle Shanahan because his father Mike is still heavily connected to that team on a weekly basis. The offense also works in Minnesota because Kubiak is heavily involved, as well.
The Broncos can’t just copy the offense because they don’t have either of those guys being heavily involved on a daily basis. Elway signed and traded for Case Keenum and Joe Flacco to run that system because they succeeded in it in the past. But the truth is they have had bad play calling from their offensive coordinators and bad personnel.
If Elway thinks that Drew Lock is the future of this franchise, he needs to make sure that he is in the correct situation to succeed. If Lock doesn’t fit into this offense with Rich Scangarello, who falls from the Shanahan tree, then Elway must find someone who can mold an offense for Lock to succeed in.
Once the Broncos general manager finds an offensive scheme that fits for the rookie quarterback, then he can build an offense that will rank in the top 10. Elway must then focus on the offensive line and skill players to help Lock succeed. Make sure to worry about the wide receivers last because they are the least dependent position on the offense.
If Elway realizes that Drew Lock isn’t the guy for the future, then he must go ahead and draft one in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft and build an offensive scheme for that quarterback. Once Elway builds and finds the identity to his offense the Broncos that succeeds, then he can go ahead and focus on the defense.
Denver already has a top-10 defense in the NFL. It just needs the offense to be elite in order to bring another Lombardi Trophy to Denver.
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