LONDON — The Broncos’ offense hasn’t played the way most hoped or anticipated, punctuated by Denver getting the lowest-scoring group in the league at 14.three points per game.
Beyond the troubles with quarterback Russell Wilson or coach Nathaniel Hackett, one particular of the most unexpected difficulties has been the lack of involvement from their 5 tight ends. As the Broncos have gravitated toward Wilson playing in the shotgun formation with a 3-wide receiver grouping, the tight ends have observed their contributions dip.
“Versatility in that position is crucial for this technique and just developing off of that, their athletic potential and their potential to study almost everything,” stated offensive coordinator Justin Outten.
But the Broncos are a extended way from that versatility.
Rookie tight finish Greg Dulcich missed most of coaching camp as properly as the Broncos’ initially 5 games of the season with a hamstring injury, and but he leads the team’s tight ends in catches (eight) and has one particular of the two touchdown receptions the tight ends have produced hence far this season.
And although that is fantastic for Dulcich’s progress, it is a relatively robust indicator that in an offense with handful of vibrant spots, the tight ends are not what the Broncos will need them to be.
Wilson fretted on some close calls he had on scoring plays to tight ends in the season-opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks: “[Eric Saubert] just about produced a good catch on one particular and then [Eric Tomlinson] on the one particular exactly where I sort of rolled out proper. His foot was supposedly out of bounds. That would’ve been a touchdown. I had a small flip to [Andrew] Beck [negated by penalty] — that is an additional touchdown.”
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Beck had 52 yards getting in the opener and now has had just 3 targets to go with one particular catch more than the final six games. Tomlinson has just 4 targets in the final six games and Saubert has only been targeted twice in the final two games. That’s nonetheless superior than Albert Okwuegbunam, a fourth-round choose in the 2020 draft, who has gone from 5 receptions in the opener to 3 targets in the final six games combined as properly as the reality he was a game-day inactive in the final two.
Dulcich, a third-round choose in this year’s draft, has absolutely moved the needle some on the other hand more than the final two weeks. He had his initially profession touchdown in his initially profession game — a 39-yard catch-and-run against the Chargers — to go with a six-catch, 51-yard work against the Jets this previous Sunday.
“It does not definitely surprise me since of the way he was trending when he was initially with us,’’ Hackett stated. “I feel I am a small bit blown away at how he hasn’t skipped a beat. Just shows, a testament to him, even with the injury and the time he was how tough he worked to choose up this technique.’’
Okwuegbunam, whose function as the very best athletic matchup amongst the tight ends for the Broncos in the passing game has been basically filled by Dulcich’s return, has been one particular of the names floated about the league as a prospective trade target. The league’s trade deadline is Tuesday and basic manager George Paton has repeatedly stated he is on the hunt for extra draft picks for 2023 if he can obtain them “in a thing that tends to make sense.’’
Hackett, with an offense that has scored just eight touchdowns all round in seven games, knows there are a lot of items that will need interest. But when asked if Dulcich and the other people can carve out a larger slice of production, he has just stated “we’re going to will need everyone on this group … we have to dig ourselves out of this.’’