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How a Record-Setting Offense Can Improve

Posted May 30, 2014

Denver's offense lit up the scoreboard at a record pace in 2013, but they see ample room for improvement.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- You might think that for an offense that racked up the records in 2013, trying to better that performance could be daunting.

But Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase and Co. are already focused on areas of emphasis for this season, including reducing turnovers and improving execution in two-minute and red-zone situations.

The Broncos fumbled 49 times (tied for fifth-most in the league) in the past two seasons and lost 30 (third-most). They also had eight fumbles in four playoff games, losing three.

"I talked about it a lot last year and we kept putting the ball on the ground," Gase said Thursday. "We’re starting it right now. We need to improve on that. We need to be a better turnover-margin team and it starts with us."

Gase also would like to tweak his own playcalling in certain situations.

"Going back and looking at our two-minute, there’s a lot of calls which I wish I could have had back there," he said. "Inside the 5[-yard line], we actually didn’t score as many touchdowns as we would have liked."

Though Denver led the NFL in red-zone touchdown percentage (76 percent), they kicked 13 field goals from the red zone, including three when the ball was on the 1-yard-line. The offense stalled in the red area more frequently as the year went along, with eight red-zone field goals coming in the final eight regular season games and two in the playoffs.

Beyond emphasizing last year's weak points, the team anticipates improvement on a personnel level, simply from a development standpoint.

Though he broke out last season with a Pro Bowl campaign, tight end Julius Thomas still has just five years of organized football experience under his belt, two of which were hampered by an ankle injury. As he continues to learn the intricacies of the game, he could become even more effective.

"He’s a really smart player and person," Gase said. "He understands what defenses are trying to do and I’m really excited to see what he can do this year."

Likewise, though Knowshon Moreno left for Miami in free agency, the team is confident that second-year running back Montee Ball can be a breakout starter.

Ball -- who Gase says brings the "full package" of skills to the position -- showed that ability late last year, outrushing Moreno (297-214) in the final five games of the regular season despite receiving fewer carries (45-54).

"He’d probably be the one guy where he made the most improvement," Gase said of Ball's strong finish to 2013. "And to see him make the next jump in his second year, we’re looking forward to that."

The standard has certainly been set after last year's record-breaking campaign. Setting the focus so early is the first step in returning to that level.

"All these guys, it’s not going to be easy," Gase said. "Our expectations are so high."

"You’ve got to work hard to make sure we can get better than we were last year."