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Scripted Start

Posted Nov 17, 2010

The Broncos' fast start against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday benefitted from a set of scripted offensive plays to begin the game.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Before the Broncos even took the field last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, they knew exactly what they were going to do on offense.

"We did script plays, a little change of pace for us," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said. "Maybe 18, I think, total."

Twenty offensive plays into the game, Denver had already taken a 21-0 lead.

With the exception of third-down plays and red-zone offense, the team stuck to the script to start the game. McDaniels and the coaching staff put together a list of plays that were typically specific to first and second downs that they felt would put the team in a good position to start fast against an AFC West rival.

"We kind of found some things that we liked during the course of the week of practice," McDaniels said. "But, again the credit goes to (the players). They executed the game plan no matter what the play was, and I think that was really the biggest part of our start on Sunday -- their ability to go out there and do things right."

Kyle Orton, who was 9-of-12 for 146 yards and three touchdowns -- a quarterback rating of 154.9 -- en route to the 21-0 lead, said he felt the players were sharp during the scripted period, and every personnel change was "quick and crisp."

The fast start played a crucial part in the eventual 49-29 victory, as the Broncos had the Chiefs "on their heels pretty quick right from the start."

"The Chiefs was a rare game," Brandon Lloyd said. "Everything was just clicking. Sometimes those plays get called out of order but they do get called. It's a loose script. If things start going really good, he's going to get off that script and start calling some extra stuff."

Part of the decision to script a handful of plays was the fact that the team had an extra day to prepare for Kansas City, coming off a bye week. The club started its practice week on Sunday instead of Monday.

In a similar situation this week, the team will practice an extra day on Saturday before traveling to San Diego on Sunday for the Monday Night Football matchup against the Chargers. For that reason, McDaniels said he could foresee the team figuring out "exactly the way we want to start" in a similar fashion for its contest against the San Diego Chargers.

Lloyd said he doesn't have a preference whether the team scripts its first few plays or not -- he's always confident the right play will get called.

Orton echoed those sentiments.

"I have been in either situation where the plays are scripted or not," the quarterback said. "I like Josh as a play-caller, I like the way he feels a game and is able to get off the script and if he sees a shot there or sees a screen that opens up, he is real quick to do it, and I like that as well."

But whether the scripting led to the fast start or if it was just a case of near-perfect execution -- out of 66 offensive plays, the team had no penalties, no turnovers and just one run for negative yardage -- the lesson to take away from Sunday's win was the importance of getting on the board early.

"It makes a big difference," Daniel Graham said. "We've been practicing that all year and it finally came through for us. It's something that we're going to feed off of for this next game."