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Next-Day Notebook: After coordinator change, Broncos look to simplify passing game

Posted Nov 20, 2017

Bill Musgrave takes over as interim offensive coordinator and is tasked with making the passing game more efficient and maximizing its strengths.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Interim Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave's task is clear: Fix the passing game.

"I think the pass game will look different," Head Coach Vance Joseph told Orange and Blue 760 hours after informing Mike McCoy that the club would part ways with him after 10 regular-season games as offensive coordinator.

Denver's offense -- and the passing game -- got off to a fast start in the first two weeks of the season, but has struggled since then.

"When we changed from Trevor [Siemian] to Brock [Osweiler], my goal was to stabilize the offense and not turn the ball over as much," Joseph said. "It was more about the quarterback position and hoping to get a veteran guy in to stabilize the offense and not give the ball away as much. That hasn't happened. Brock's had three starts now and the same problems have occurred.

"So I thought [at] this moment for our football team moving forward that a change was needed from Mike to Bill Musgrave, simply because I want to have a more efficient pass game."

And that means a simplified passing game -- not just for the quarterbacks, but for the entire offense. Joseph wants the offense to refine a core set of concepts to perfection and then expand the repertoire from there.

"You have to master a small portion to be decent at something, and right now I feel that we have a lot of good offense, but we haven't mastered anything," Joseph said.

"I think it’s going to bring a sense of consistency to our offense that we can master four or five concepts and that’s good enough to get better.”

If that works, the Broncos should have a more consistent passing game to go along with a rushing game that has rushed for at least 110 yards seven times -- more than all but one team this season.

"I'm looking forward to having a chance to [have] Bill put his touch on the offense and having a chance to watch our pass game grow a little bit and not be so scattered in our passing concepts," Joseph said.

“We have to figure out a way to keep the terminology the same but kind of simplify the concepts, [to] get to a more efficient brand of passing game. That's what I want."

THE QUESTION NOW revolves around who the quarterback will be next week. Any one of the three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster are possibilities, including Siemian, who was inactive Sunday behind Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, who suited up for the first time in the regular season after working his way back from a sprained right shoulder.

Joseph said he would meet with Musgrave on Monday night before deciding on a starter for the Raiders game. If Lynch plays, the game plan would be based around his strengths.

"If he does play for us, it's got to be a system that fits Paxton," Joseph said. "He's practiced the last two weeks, and again, guys, it won't be soccer; it's football for him. What he's practiced the last couple of weeks, it may be called a little different. It may be called more of the same stuff. But it's just football, so he'll be fine."

NO MATTER WHO THROWS THE PASSES, first-year tight end Austin Traylor could be a valuable target after catching four passes for 36 yards against the Bengals in his NFL regular-season debut.

"It was exciting to find out that I was going to play for the first time -- a big opportunity, a big accomplishment for myself," he said. "We played decent, but we didn't get the win, so there's not really any satisfaction in the game with what I did."

Nevertheless, after toiling on five practice squads since breaking into the league last year, getting the chance marked a significant accomplishment after going undrafted following an injury-marred senior season at Wisconsin in 2015.

Traylor's four receptions were the third-most by a Broncos tight end in a single game in the last two seasons.

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