What is Denver’s biggest need this offseason? – The Denver Post


Denver Post Broncos writer Parker Gabriel posts his Broncos Mailbag weekly during the season. Submit questions to Parker here.

Hi Parker! Has any reporter asked Nathaniel Hackett if he makes any in-game adjustments? We score early, the opposing defense makes adjustments, and then nothing. I would think an offensive mastermind would also try to be a step ahead of the opposing coach and make adjustments.

— Del, Lamar

Hey Del, and happy Thanksgiving week to everybody.

We’ve asked Hackett about halftime adjustments and Denver’s terrible offensive performance in the third quarter so far this season several times and in several ways. Mostly, he’s pointed to third downs rather than third quarters as being at issue. He’s expressed confidence in the way his staff handles halftime and the decisions about whether to stay the course, make major adjustments, etc. But the proof is in the stuffing, you know? They just rarely have done anything effective in the third quarter. One big drive against Jacksonville, a field goal that came after an interception and an offensive three-and-out. That’s it for offensive points. They did get a bit of a drive going late in the third on Sunday that turned into a fourth-quarter field goal. So, progress or something, he said with very little conviction.

What is the biggest need this offseason? Is it O-Line? Or a new training staff? Will a new coach fare any better without investment in these areas?

— Sebastian, Davenport, Iowa

Hey Sebastian, Quad Cities, alright!

The offensive line is going to have to be a major focus this offseason. They’ve had a revolving door at right tackle — though Cam Fleming has settled things down some when he’s been healthy — left guard Dalton Risner’s contract is up after the season and Garett Bolles is coming back from a major leg injury. That’s before any conversation about whether Denver has a long-term answer at center in either Lloyd Cushenberry or Luke Wattenberg. In fact, if you were putting odds on how George Paton uses his new first-round draft pick, I’d put offensive line at the top of the heap. That or turning San Francisco’s likely late first into a pair of seconds if he can find good value and the board falls the right way.

I’ll say this on the other part, though: Anything off the field is where the Walton-Penner ownership group can really flex its financial muscle however it wants to. Everyone’s governed by the same salary cap rules — the wealthiest owners can even draw an advantage there by paying big cash bonuses to players and spreading out the cap hit, an accounting lesson for the offseason — but off the field, the limit is really your imagination and what is really determined to be of value to the organization. It’s easy to spend other folks’ money — especially Walmart money — but put it this way: If the new owners want to pour cash into training staffs, analytics, facilities, coaches, etc., they’re free to.


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