At times throughout the offseason, Broncos Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy saw his unit confused by unusual blitz schemes designed by Defensive Coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale.
When that happened, the players and coaches would get together and talk about how best to protect if they saw a similar look again.
With the New York Jets coming to INVESCO Field at Mile High on Sunday, McCoy said those situations were good practice for what Kyle Orton and the Broncos offense are going to face.
Against a squad that statistically blitzes more than any other team in the NFL, most times the question is not if the pressure will come, but from where.
“The communication has got to be great upfront with Kyle directing traffic, and everyone has to honor what he is saying,” McCoy said. “The backs and tight ends have to tune in with the linemen, and you have to do the best job you can to pick it up.”
Head Coach Josh McDaniels said he expects the Jets defense to be a great test for his quarterback as Orton tries to build upon the best start to a season of his career.
He said that one of the biggest keys to success against a defense averaging more than two sacks per game will be reading the rush to understand when he needs to get the ball out quickly and when he might have a little extra time.
“As long as you stop them from having free rushers to the quarterback — which is easier to say it than it is to do it — then you have time to throw the ball and that’s what we’re really focused on doing,” McDaniels said. “It’ll be a fun matchup on Sunday.”
Orton, who has thrown for at least 295 yards in each game this season, dealt with a similar Ravens defense last week and knows avoiding confusion at the line of scrimmage is a big part of the battle.
The offensive line allowed just one sack against the Ravens after ceding six quarterback takedowns the week before. Orton is confident that the unit has taken a step forward that will give him a good chance on Sunday.
“If you study it right and can break it down and make it as simple as possible then you should have a good chance of being able to pick them up and at least have a body for the body,” Orton said. “From that point, it’s manning up and blocking the guy that you’re blocking and making sure he doesn’t get into the pocket.”
And Orton’s leadership at the line of scrimmage thus far has earned him a similar confidence from the rest of his offensive teammates heading into one of their toughest matchups of the season.
“Kyle’s been doing a great job and we have an extreme amount of trust in him that he’s going to put us in the right position every play,” Brandon Lloyd said. “I’m not worried about that at all one bit.”
This week the Dove Valley locker room has featured one new addition — but it’s a very familiar face.
The Broncos added linebacker Lee Robinson to their practice squad this week, bringing back a player who competed in training camp as a rookie free agent last season.
“The crazy thing about it is when you leave, you don’t know if you’re ever going to come back again or what,” Robinson said. “It’s crazy. I’ve been around four teams and I ended up right back where I started.”
Robinson spent parts of last season with practice squads in Arizona and Tampa Bay. After being dropped from the Buccaneers practice squad earlier this season, the Alcorn State product spent a few weeks as a free agent.
Robinson was headed home after a tryout with Green Bay earlier this week when the Broncos came calling. He jumped at the chance to return to Denver and has been practicing with the team since Wednesday.
After several stops along the way, Robinson smiled today when thinking about being back in the same locker room where his NFL journey began.
“I feel like I never left,” he said.
JETS RETURN TICKETS
The Jets have returned 200 tickets for Sunday’s game INVESCO Field at Mile High, and those tickets are now on sale to the general public, the Broncos announced Thursday.
The tickets are being sold at all Ticketmaster outlets, via Ticketmaster Charge By Phone, through online sales at www.ticketmaster.com and at the INVESCO Field at Mile High box office.
On Thursday, Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) returned to the practice field on a limited basis, while Andre Brown practiced after missing Wednesday’s workout due to an illness. Robert Ayers (foot), Brian Dawkins (knee), Andre’ Goodman (quadricep), Darcel McBath (ankle), Demaryius Thomas (concussion) and Wesley Woodyard (hamstring) did not practice for the second straight day. Spencer Larsen (ankle) was limited, while Mario Haggan (neck) returned to full participation.
For the Jets, Calvin Pace (foot) and Darelle Revis (hamstring) returned to the practice field on a limited basis, while Jim Leonhard (biceps), Nick Mangold (shoulder), Brandon Moore (hamstring) and Jamaal Westerman (ankle) participated fully in Thursday’s session.
- Eric Detweiler, DenverBroncos.com
Below are some more photos from Thursday’s practice: