Denver Broncos | News

Mason's Mailbag: Bringing notions back to reality

As always, you can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase, use the submission form or scroll to the bottom of this page.*

Would you trade Demaryius Thomas straight up for Adrian Peterson? In our new system having three top-level receivers isn't necessary. Yes, this isn't a better deal in the long run but wouldn't Adrian Peterson be more impactful this year?
-- Collin Wright

I wouldn't make that trade in a million years.

First, you have two proven "top-level receivers," not three. Cody Latimer has the tools to get there, but he has plenty to prove.

Second, this offensive scheme has a history of getting outstanding results from a variety of running backs, from Denver to Houston to Baltimore last year, where Justin Forsett flourished. Running backs are fungible assets in this scheme and have been for over a decade.

Third, Peterson would not represent an upgrade. If you compare Peterson's numbers from 2013-14 to C.J. Anderson's after he took over for the injured Ronnie Hillman last year you'll see that Anderson is more productive across the board. He has more rushing yardage per game (94.3 to 89.4), more yardage from scrimmage per game (140.7 to 102.0), more yardage per rush (4.74 to 4.47), more yardage per reception (11.64 to 6.10) and a better touchdown rate (one every 21.3 touches to one every 30.1 touches).

**

My sanity will probably be questioned, but what do you think of trading QB Brock Osweiler and RB Juwan Thompson for the second-round pick of the Titans (DE Leonard Williams)?**
-- Joseph King

At least you have the self-awareness to know how this would be perceived.

By referencing Williams, I suspect you mean the No. 2 overall pick, because the USC defensive end -- who is a perfect fit for three- and five-technique work in the 3-4 alignment -- will be gone before the first hour of the draft has ended.

Not even the panicky general managers of the 2014 film Draft Day would take that swap.

@MaseDenver w/ all the late picks is it finally time denver invest in a return specialist as early as Rd 5 or 6? Mario Alford? #AskMase — John Zeigler (@John_Zeigler89) April 18, 2015

It would not surprise me if the Broncos did. Tyler Lockett, Ty Montgomery and Jamison Crowder are all possibilities with return experience. Alford has little experience on punt returns, has a slight build and does not project as a potential every-down receiver like Lockett, Montgomery and Crowder, so I think they're better fits.

**

How do you feel about the transition to a 3-4 inside linebacker for Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan? Typically the 3-4 inside linebackers are primarily run stoppers and yet Marshall and Trevathan are better coverage linebackers. -- James Pratt **

Trevathan said Thursday that he would be the weakside inside linebacker, which would give him more responsibility in coverage. When Marshall returns to health, he can focus on stopping the run -- which was the first area in which he distinguished himself last year after Trevathan's injury, beginning with his play in a preseason win over the 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif.

Marshall and Trevathan are both in the size range of the typical 3-4 inside linebacker -- around 240 pounds. Marshall graded out at plus-4.2 against the run in ProFootballFocus.com's metrics last year; Trevathan was plus-5.0 in 2013, his last full season. Both are capable of stopping the run, although it will be fascinating to see how they fare with a smaller, more agile nose tackle in front of them.

We've seen our share of surprises when it comes to the roster and expectations in the last few seasons. e.g. C.J. Anderson last season. Who do you see being the "big surprise" this season?
-- Steve Griffeth

Among the players currently on the roster, watch out for Colorado State products Shaq Barrett and Kapri Bibbs, both of whom spent much of their rookie seasons on the practice squad. Bibbs faces stiff competition in a crowded field at running back, but he will have his chances in training camp.

Well, if you help run it, you should be thankful that you're not in the NFL, because that ledger would get you sacked faster than a quarterback staring at Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware off the edge.

I kid, I kid.

Get back to basics. And I mean real, rudimentary stuff, like form tackling. If you haven't simplified your playbook -- or play pamphlet, as it might be at that level -- do it.

This isn't a time to work on the reverse or the triple option. Find the simplest schemes possible and master them. Start by taking a single play and perfecting it. I recommend a blast up the middle that Washington called "50 Gut" during its 1982 world-championship season. Run out of the I-formation so you can use the fullback as a lead blocker.

Keep it simple as you expand from there. Go off-tackle next. Then work on some simple pass routes for your receivers -- intermediate post and flag routes. Tell the quarterback to throw it away if there's nothing there.

On defense, use a four-man front. Don't blitz until you've succeeded at holding back an opponent out of a basic 4-3 alignment. (Or if you're in a run-centric league, utilize a 5-2 front.)

Just as the ice-cream shop is best served by getting vanilla right before testing Double-chocolate-fudge-mocha-mint Delight, so too must your team master the basics before it expands its repertoire. This takes patience on your part.

All the while, seek out the books published by the American Football Coaches Association on offensive and defensive strategies. For the young coach, these books are essential reading.

This process requires patience, but I trust you possess it. Good luck.


Submit a question for the next Mailbag!

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.

Related Content

Advertising