Offseason Playbook: Broncos

A look at Denver's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: March 8, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Peyton ManningMark J. Rebilas/US PresswirePeyton Manning had a fantastic first season with the Denver Broncos.

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- The 2012 season was a drastic change in scheme from the Tim Tebow era, but now this Peyton Manning offense is well-defined and even with a new coordinator, Adam Gase (who replaced Mike McCoy, the new Chargers head coach), nothing will really change. Peyton will run this show with major input up front. They have used zone blocking, one-cut-and-go schemes along with man blocking in the last couple of years and they have thrown in some stretch-play looks that Manning ran so effectively with Indianapolis. Their creative blocking schemes will include traps, pulls and whams, which open up good play-action for Manning with one-back sets and no-huddle. They will use a lot of two-tight-end sets, mostly for the passing game, although they can chip before releasing on patterns.

In the passing game, Manning loves the shotgun with screens and slants to get the ball out quickly and avoid hits with positive yards after the catch. He will use sight adjustments a lot and his receivers must read the same thing when it comes to coverages. He is also adept at throwing the bubble screen and quick slant to beat the blitz off the edge. This is a precise passing game that requires intelligent players.


To see the rest of the file on the philosophy and offseason needs for the Denver Broncos, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.