Denver Broncos | News

Mason's Mailbag: What's in the stocking?

You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

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The Broncos seem to be passing the ball a lot on 3rd and short, is that a lack of confidence in the offensive line/running game or just trying to catch the other team off-guard?**

-- Jeff Jackson

Sometimes it's a pre-snap adjustment. When you see two linebackers poised over the A-gaps on third-and-1, for example, that takes the sneak out of play, as one of them is likely to join the 0- or 1-technique tackle in attacking the center and defusing a potential sneak.

But you're going to naturally drift towards what works the most. Considering that the Broncos have a success ratio of just 52 percent when running on third-and-1-or-2, which ranks 28th in the league, the Broncos' decision to pass the football on 48.9 percent of their third-and-short situations -- a percentage that ranks 10th-highest in the NFL -- is understandable.

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Hi Mase. Love your columns. Here's a buildup to my question…**

I noticed this year especially that penalties at key times were just killing the Broncos. It seemed like so many long plays in important situations were called back by offensive line penalties. Question: Is there a NFL stat (or PFF, or somewhere), where they track the actually NET result of a penalty? For example, if a holding penalty negates a 40 yard run by Kapri Bibbs, that's actually a 50 yard NET penalty. Is there a stat somewhere that tracks that? There seems to be a stat for everything else.

-- Jim Niederriter

First, thank you for the kind words.

Second, that stat is not easily accessible ... it is something that could be compiled by going back through all of the gamebooks to retrieve, but that would be labor-intensive -- and a bit futile, since some of those long gains that are wiped out by penalty wouldn't have taken place without the infraction to begin with. It's like when a holding call negates a 30-yard completion; that might not have happened in the first place if the blocker had not held the pass rusher, as the infraction bought the quarterback time to throw it downfield.

There are some examples of plays where the penalty had nothing to do with what happened; holding penalties while sprinting downfield on a punt that is either fair-caught or downed come to mind. But the prevalence of plays in which the infraction makes the gain possible is why this is not a statistic that is kept.

They're not out of reach heading into this weekend. There's a difference between "not having control of your fate" and "seemingly out of reach." Furthermore, no matter what other results happen this weekend, the Broncos will still have a shot going into Week 17 if they defeat Kansas City, so, no.

Your Reds have the misfortune of seeing Sergio Agüero upon his return from a four-match suspension. The last time he came back from a multiple-match ban, he scored twice. As a City supporter, my confidence in a well-rested Kun Agüero knows no bounds. I think he knocks in the game-winner in the final 20 minutes: City 2, Liverpool 1.

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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.

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