Pat Shurmur was appointed Offensive Co-ordinator of the Denver Broncos this past off season and is preparing to take charge of his first season in the job in 2020. Most recently he was the Head Coach of the New York Giants and before that he was Offensive Co-ordinator at a multitude of other clubs. Shurmur is no stranger to working with great offensive talents and the prospect of working with this new look Denver offense will excite both him and fans alike.
Responsible for drafting Saquon Barkley, Shurmur understands what it means to have elite talent on his roster. Despite perhaps not getting the results he would so have desired during his tenure in New York, his experience in working with elite players will be invaluable as he begins his work in Denver. The fresh faced, youthful offence will learn a lot from someone like Shurmur who brings both experience and moxie to the table.
Unfortunately, offense line struggles are shadowing over Denver at the minute and it seems to be a plague that doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon. Consequently we may see Shurmur adjust to these needs by introducing a quickened route tree; short slants, screens or check downs will allow Drew Lock to complete passes and gain yardage without the need to depend on his O-line holding back pressure for more than a few seconds. This will obviously come as a detriment to the long ball game but as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. Last season Courtland Sutton’s average depth of target was 11.6 yards and he averaged 4.9 yards after the catch per each reception, per Pro Football Reference.
So, why is this a positive? Well, for such quick routes and short passes, the time between snap and pass is less and so the time required for the line to provide protection is also, less. With the concerns over whether or not the line will hold up, expect Shurmur to play to the strengths of his team and get the best out of his players. Alongside Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and his speed will be an ever present factor in this offense as he looks to take his fair share of the targets. Averaging 914 receiving yards throughout his college years (The bulk of which coming in years 2 & 3), Jeudy will be no stranger to the football and hopefully the end zone this season.
We know the receiving corps is on the up in Denver but what else has Shurmur got to work with? Well, at the Tight End position there is second year potential break out star, Noah Fant who impressed massively in his first year (40 rec, 562yds, 3TD’s and 23 receiving first downs). Alongside Fant in the TE room is rookie Albert Okwuegbunam who played with Drew Lock in college. The pre-existing chemistry between the two is clear, he was one of his favourite targets especially while in the Red Zone. Over two seasons he caught 72 passes and scored 17 touchdowns – production which Shurmur will hope he can closely replicate as a pro.
There are high hopes and equally high expectations tagged to this Denver offense this season and the fans will be hoping that Pat Shurmur is the man to take their play to the next level and elevate them to a play-off / Championship standard.