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Broncos offense by the numbers: A review of another season out of the playoffs

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Broncos offense by the numbers: A review of another season out of the playoffs

A sixth consecutive year out of the playoffs and a sixth consecutive season finishing 22nd or worst in points scored. It was another sub-par year for the Broncos’ offense. Here is a by-the-numbers look at the 2021 season through NFL statistics and The Denver Post’s game charting:

In the rankings

The Broncos’ offensive rankings after Games 4, 8, 12 and 17:

Season Yards (rank) Points (rank)
Game 4 353.8 (17) 20.8 (T21)
Game 8 338.3 (21) 19.6 (21)
Game 12 343.9 (20) 19.8 (23)
Final 330.5 (19) 19.7 (T23)

High yardage game: 421 in the Week 6 loss vs. Las Vegas.

Low yardage game: 158 in the Week 17 loss at Las Vegas.

High scoring game: 38 (38-10 win over Detroit in Week 14).

Low scoring game: 7 (23-7 loss to Baltimore in Week 4).

Notes: The Broncos were 6-2 when scoring at least 23 points. … In their seven wins, they averaged 27 points; in their 10 losses, they averaged 14.6 points. … They totaled more than 400 yards offense in four games (3-1 record).

Playing time: 1,081 snaps

QB: Teddy Bridgewater 844, Drew Lock 234 and Brett Rypien 3.

RB: Javonte Williams 551, Melvin Gordon 514, Mike Boone 25 and Damarea Crockett 5.

WR: Courtland Sutton 920, Tim Patrick 849, Jerry Jeudy 412, Kendall Hinton 258, KJ Hamler 88, Diontae Spencer 54, Seth Williams 49, Tyrie Cleveland 29, David Moore 23, John Brown 12 and Travis Fulgham 2.

TE: Noah Fant 843, Albert Okwuegbunam 412, Eric Saubert 290 and Andrew Beck 55.

OL: Lloyd Cushenberry 1,039, Garett Bolles 870, Dalton Risner 832, Bobby Massie 796, Quinn Meinerz 632, Graham Glasgow 384, Netani Muti 317, Cam Fleming 285, Calvin Anderson 172, Austin Schlottmann 52 and Quinn Bailey 40.

Notes: The Broncos’ high and low snap totals were both against Las Vegas — 81 in Week 6 and 42 in Week 17. … Cushenberry has played every snap in his 32-game career, missing one game this year (COVID-19). … Meinerz didn’t miss a snap once he replaced Glasgow at halftime of the Week 9 win at Dallas. … In the running back rotation, Gordon had more snaps nine times, Williams six times and they played equally in two games. … Among the receivers, Sutton led in snaps in eight games, Patrick seven games and Patrick/Sutton were tied in two games.

Making big plays

Any rush of at least 12 yards and completion of 16 yards is determined to be an “explosive” play.

The Broncos had 102 explosive plays (66 passes/36 rushes) for an average of 6.0 per game. They had 101 in 2018, 93 in ’19 and 113 last year.

The high total this year was 12 at Dallas (six passes/six rushes), the only game this year with more than eight. The low total was one at Cleveland (one pass).

Explosive rushes: Melvin Gordon 16, Javonte Williams 16, Mike Boone 2, Teddy Bridgewater 1 and Drew Lock 1. The high rushing mark was six against Dallas and they had none in losses at Cleveland and Las Vegas. Gordon had the longest rush of the year (70-yard touchdown at the Giants).

Explosive receptions: Tim Patrick 15, Courtland Sutton 13, Noah Fant 10, Jerry Jeudy 10, Albert Okwuegbunam 6, Melvin Gordon 3, Javonte Williams 3, Kendall Hinton 2, KJ Hamler 2, Mike Boone 1, Seth Williams 1. The high passing mark was six in the wins over the Jets and Dallas and the loss at the Chargers. The low mark was one in the loss at Cleveland. The longest completion of the year was 64 yards to Okwuegbunam and the longest touchdown catch was 44 yards by Patrick.

Scoring story

The Broncos’ 335 points averaged out to 19.7 points per game (tied for 23rd in the league), but slightly less than last year’s 20.2-point average (323 total points). The offense scored 16 rushing and 20 passing touchdowns.

The average length of their rushing touchdowns was 12.6 yards. They had three of at least 20 yards — Melvin Gordon 70 at the Giants and 47 vs. Kansas City and Drew Lock 23 yards vs. Kansas City.

The average length of their passing touchdowns was 12.5 yards. They had three of at least 25 yards — 39 by Courtland Sutton at Pittsburgh and 44 and 25 yards by Tim Patrick at Dallas and vs. Cincinnati, respectively.

Quarterback file

Distance of touchdown passes by the Broncos’ quarterbacks:

Teddy Bridgewater (18): 2, 4, 12, 14, 3, 2, 39, 23, 4, 12, 8, 10, 15, 44, 1, 13, 10 and 4 yards.

Drew Lock (2): 25 and 5 yards.

Cumulative statistics for the quarterbacks:

Attempts: 541 (24th).

Completions: 354 (tied 22nd).

Passing yards: 3,856 (20th).

Completion percentage: 65.4% (18th).

Touchdowns: 20 (tied 25th).

Interceptions: 9 (fifth-fewest).

Passer rating: 91.7 (15th).

20-plus yards: 46 (20th).

40-plus yards: 7 (tied 21st).

Sacked: 40 (tied 11th-most).

Notes: On attempts of at least 16 “air” yards, the Broncos were 34-of-94 passing for 995 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. … Bridgewater was 7-3 when he did not throw an interception and 6-0 when he had a passer rating of at least 100. … Bridgewater had six multi-touchdown games.

Dropped passes

The Broncos were booked for 17 dropped passes, the same total as in 2019 and down from the 23 drops in 2020. They did not have a drop in five games (wins over Jacksonville, Dallas and the Chargers and losses to Baltimore and at Cleveland). Their high number was four drops in the loss at Las Vegas.

Individual drops: Tim Patrick 3, Courtland Sutton 3, Javonte Williams 3, Albert Okwuegbunam 2, Eric Saubert 2, KJ Hamler 1, Melvin Gordon 1, Jerry Jeudy 1 and Noah Fant 1.

Notes: Patrick did not have a drop in 2020. … Jeudy had 10 in 16 games in 2020 but only one in 10 games this year. … No Broncos player had multiple drops in the same game.

Under pressure

Opponents rushed five or more players against the Broncos on 155 of 627 drop-backs (24.7%), down from 2019 (24.8%) and ’20 (27.9%).

High percentage: 40% by Washington (12 of 30). In games with at least 40 drop-backs, the high mark was 36.4% by Baltimore (16 of 44).

Low percentage: 6.9% by Las Vegas in the first meeting (four of 58). In games with at least 40 drop-backs, the low mark was 13.9% by Cleveland (five of 36).

Against extra rushers, Broncos quarterbacks were 88-of-127 passing for 1,072 yards, 11 touchdowns, two interceptions and 13 sacks.

Pass protection

For the fourth season, The Post charged quarterback sacks, knockdowns and pressures to compile “disruption” totals.

The Broncos were booked for 169 disruptions (40 sacks. 47 knockdowns and 82 pressures) for an average of 9.9 per game. In 2019-20, the Broncos allowed 137 disruptions in 2019 (8.6 per game) and 158 disruptions in ’20 (9.9 per game).

Most disruptions: 22 by Las Vegas in the first meeting (five sacks, eight knockdowns and nine pressures). The season high for sacks allowed was five apiece to Baltimore and the Raiders.

Fewest disruptions: Four by Detroit (one sack, two knockdowns and one pressure). The Broncos low for sacks allowed was one in six games.

Sacks by down: First down — 16; Second down — 12; Third down — 11; Fourth down — 1.

Sacks by number of pass rushers: Three — 2; Four — 25; Five –10; Six — 2; Misc. — 1 (quarterback tripped).

Fastest sack: 1.72 seconds by Kansas City (first meeting).

Individual breakdown:

Player Sacks-QBH-QBP Total
Unblocked 3-11-14.5 28.5
Bobby Massie 3-6-17 26
Garett Bolles 5.5-7-12.5 25
Dalton Risner 4-6-7 17
Lloyd Cushenberry 5.5-3.5-3 12
Graham Glasgow 1.5-4.5-5 11.5
Netane Muti 4-2-1 7
Quinn Meinerz 0.5-2-2 4.5
Cam Fleming 0-0-4 4

Notes: The Post booked six sacks on the opponent’s coverage. … Bolles’ play dipped — he allowed only a half-sack and 9 1/ 2 total disruptions in 2020. … Cushenberry’s total decreased from 19 as a rookie. … Risner wasn’t booked for a sack in ’20, but four this year.

Run-game recap

Rushing yards: 2,025 (13th).

Pct. of rushing plays: 43.9% (11th).

Rushing attempts: 455 (tied 14th).

Yards per attempt: 4.5 (tied seventh).

Rushing touchdowns: 16 (tied 14th).

10-yard rushes: 55 (10th).

20-yard rushes: 10 (tied 14th).

First-and-10 rushing yards: 930 (20th).

Individual leaders: Carries — 203 (Melvin Gordon/Javonte Williams). Yards — Gordon 918, Williams 903. Touchdowns — Gordon 8, Williams 4. 100-yard games — Gordon 101 at the Giants, 111 vs. Detroit and 110 vs. Kansas City and Williams 111 at Dallas and 102 at Kansas City.

The Broncos were 4-3 when they rushed for at least 125 yards (high of 191 vs. Kansas City) and 4-3 when they had at least 30 rushing attempts (high of 41 at Dallas). The low marks were both at Las Vegas (16 attempts and 18 yards).

The Post labels any rushing attempt that gains one or fewer yards (not including short-yardage or goal-line) as a “bad” run play. The Broncos had 112 “bad” run plays this year (111 last year in 16 games). The high game was 10 against the Jets, the low game three vs. Baltimore and at Cleveland. The Broncos were booked for 39 “bad” run plays in their last five games (1-4 record).

Individual leaders in “bad” run blocks: Unblocked player 36, Dalton Risner 10, Lloyd Cushenberry 8 1/2, Garett Bolles 8, Quinn Meinerz 7 1/2, Noah Fant 7, Eric Saubert 4 1/2, Austin Schlottmann 4, Bobby Massie 4, Cam Fleming 3, Calvin Anderson 3, Graham Glasgow 2 1/2, Tim Patrick 2 1/2, Netane Muti 2 and Albert Okwuegbunam 2.

Protecting the football

A year after leading the NFL in giveaways (32, up from 16 in 2019) and having a league-worst differential (minus-16, down from plus-1 in ’19), the Broncos’ 18 takeaways this year were tied for sixth-fewest and their plus-1 differential was 15th.

The Broncos were 6-1 with a plus-differential (only loss at Las Vegas), 0-7 with a minus-differential and 1-2 when it was even. The high game was plus-3 at Las Vegas and the low game was minus-4 in the first Raiders game.

The Broncos scored 56 points off takeaways and allowed 45 points off giveaways. They played turnover-free in four games (3-1 record).

Turnovers by player: Teddy Bridgewater 8 (seven interceptions/one fumble), Melvin Gordon 3, Drew Lock 3 (two interceptions/one fumble), Diontae Spencer 2, Albert Okwuegbunam 1 and Javonte Williams 1.

On third down

The Broncos ranked 21st on third down (38.5%, 82 of 213); they were 30th in 2019 (31.7%) and 26th in ’20 (38.7%).

Best game: 72.7% (8 of 11) in the first Chargers game. The Broncos were at 50% of better in five games (4-1 record).

Worst game: 9.1% (1 of 11) against Philadelphia. The Broncos were at 25% of lower in six games (1-5 record).

3 or fewer yards to go: 40 of 63 (63.5%).

4-7 yards to go: 18 of 52 (34.6%).

8 or more yards to go: 24 of 100 (24.0%).

The Broncos’ longest conversion was a third-and-14 (Teddy Bridgewater 40-yard pass to Kendall Hinton) at Dallas.

Flags flying

The Broncos’ 83 enforced penalties for 711 yards were both sixth-fewest in the league. The high penalty mark was 10 at Jacksonville, the high yardage 101 at Jacksonville, the low penalty mark two apiece at Cleveland and vs. Detroit and the low yardage 15 at Cleveland.

Individual penalties on offense (49): Noah Fant 8, Garett Bolles 6, Lloyd Cushenberry 6, Albert Okwuegbunam 5, Courtland Sutton 5, Teddy Bridgewater 3, Dalton Risner 2, Graham Glasgow 2, Quinn Meinerz 2, Tim Patrick 2, Team 2, Kendall Hinton 1, Javonte Williams 1, Jerry Jeudy 1, Eric Saubert 1, Cam Fleming 1 and Bobby Massie 1.

Drawn penalties: Bridgewater 6, Sutton 6, Patrick 4, Drew Lock 3, Lloyd Cushenberry 2, Jeudy 2, Fant 1, Williams 1, Melvin Gordon 1 and Kendall Hinton 1.

In the red zone

The Broncos ranked 22nd in red zone touchdown percentage (54.7% — 29 of 53), up from 28th in 2019 (47.6%) and 27th in ’20 (53.3%).

The offense had five red zone turnovers, up from four in 2020.

Their best game was 5 of 5 vs. Detroit and their worst game 1 of 5 vs. Philadelphia.

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What’s behind Gleyber Torres’ early season resurgence?

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What’s behind Gleyber Torres’ early season resurgence?

Gleyber Torres, at just 25 years old, has already lived several lives in pinstripes.

He was the anointed one, the heir apparent to Alfonso Soriano, a two-time All-Star and a playoff hero, all before his 23rd birthday.

Then the pitfalls that many people face in their early-to-mid-20s began to rear their ugly heads. The pandemic certainly didn’t help, but even in 2021 as things returned to normalcy, Torres was dreadful at his job. The former top prospect who looked like a pillar of the Yankees’ next great team instead lost his starting shortstop gig. When he was in the starting lineup, he was often buried in the seventh spot.

When Torres was officially moved off of shortstop at the end of last season, his manager said of his defensive issues at the high-pressure position, “I feel like it’s been a weight on him.” Trade talks swirled, as the combination of poor play and the impending free agency of Carlos Correa, Corey Seager and others made Torres seem like the odd man out.

Instead, the Yankees stood pat on free agent shortstops, kept Torres, and traded for a defensive maestro in Isiah Kiner-Falefa. With the stability of knowing that he’d still be a Yankee, plus not having to worry about playing shortstop anymore, Torres has started 2022 with a bang.

As of Wednesday morning, Torres has a 117 wRC+ and .741 OPS, both his highest since 2019, the last time he consistently punished the baseball. After five straight hitless games in mid-April, Torres turned things around with a pinch-hit single in Detroit. Though his eighth-inning knock ended up being mostly meaningless — he was stranded on the bases and the Yankees lost 3-0 — that plate appearance did something to get him back on track.

Starting with that game, Torres has slashed .301/.342/.521. Seven of his 22 hits in that span have gone for extra bases, including four home runs. As a result, his numbers on the young season show a completely different player than the one who sulked through two straight soul crumbling campaigns.

“Last year was a very [hard] struggle for me,” Torres said after driving in five runs in a win over Toronto on May 11. “All the work I put in the offseason, I can show that every time I go to home plate. I mean I can still learn the game.”

Glancing at his numbers, the things that Torres has seemed to learn this year are fairly simple, and also a very common school of thought across Major League Baseball right now. He’s mashing fastballs, putting the ball in the air more often, and as a result, he’s making a lot more hard contact.

In 2021, as Torres’ overall slugging percentage sagged to a career-low .366, fastballs were one of the main culprits. He slugged a not-ideal .352 on heaters, and with two strikes, fastballs resulted in a strikeout 19.6% of the time. This year, though things could still change as he gets more at-bats, Torres is slugging .536 on fastballs. They’re only putting him away 12.9% of the time he gets in a two-strike hole.

Hunting fastballs is an effective strategy for most hitters, but on an even more simplistic level, so is hitting pitches that are meant to be hit. First-year hitting coach Dillon Lawson showed up to his new job with the catchphrase “Hit strikes hard”. Torres appears to have taken that to heart. According to Baseball-Savant, in three key areas of the strike zone — middle-up, middle-down and up-and-in — Torres is hitting the ball hard at a significantly higher rate than he was last year.

Hard contact is particularly damaging when it’s in the air. Every stadium can hold a well-struck grounder, very few will contain an airborne missile. For the last two seasons — the ones Torres would like to forget — he ran a ground ball rate north of 40%. This year, it’s down to 35.2% so far, with fly balls getting above 40% for the first time since 2019. As Rangers’ salty manager Chris Woodward can attest to, sometimes getting the ball in the air at Yankee Stadium leads to “Little League home runs.” Whether they go 320 or 420 feet, a home run is a home run, and Torres is already more than halfway to his home run total from last year.

The other adjustment Torres has made in the season’s first month is swinging more often. His swing percentage has shot up to 76.2%, nearly identical to the 76.3% he had when swatting 38 homers in 2019. This could be a sign that Torres isn’t overthinking things at the plate, a welcome sign for someone who has spoken openly about the mental strife he’s endured.

“First of all, I feel really good,” Torres told reporters last week. “I mean, my swing has gotten better and better. And I’m working hard every day to be the way I want to be. But so far, so good. I think confidence is back and that is the most important thing for me.”

That renewed confidence could also wind up being one of the most important things for the Yankees, a team that, at 27-9, has absolutely been the way they want to be.

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Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell wants to be more than ‘just an offensive coach’

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Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell wants to be more than ‘just an offensive coach’

Kevin O’Connell was an NFL quarterback and an offensive assistant in the league for seven years before being named head coach of the Vikings. But he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed.

“( want to) be visible to the defense, let them know that I’m learning their side of the ball just as much as they are,” the first-year head coach said Wednesday during the first week of organized team activities. ”I can complement them on detailed things they can do within our coverages, within a pressure, how we stop the run, and they can look at me as not just an offensive head coach.”

O’Connell replaced Mike Zimmer, who came from the defensive side of the ball and in eight seasons gave his offensive coordinator lots of leeway. O’Connell, who turns 37 next Wednesday, said it’s “really important” to him for defensive players and those on special teams to know he’s also invested in those aspects of the game.

With that in mind, Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks was asked if he thinks of O’Connell as more than just an offensive coach.

“He definitely knows what’s going on, but I don’t think he can fairly say that,” Kendricks said with a laugh. “He’s definitely an offensive coach. He definitely wants to light us up on defense, but that’s only going to get us better on defense.”

Kendricks said O’Connell can be valuable working with the defense.

“I notice from him watching film and him going over film on the defensive side of things, he kind of goes over what the offense’s mindset or mind frame is as he’s talking about the defense,” Kendricks said.

DIVERSITY SUMMIT

From Wednesday through Friday, the Vikings are hosting a diversity coaching summit at the TCO Performance Center. It is being attended by 12 young coaches, 11 from colleges, with the intention being to groom them for possible future NFL jobs.

“It’s really a chance for us to get exposed to them from the standpoint of how do they carry themselves?” said Vikings assistant head coach Mike Pettine, who is heading the summit. “We’re going to do mock interviews, film everything and give them feedback on it. They get a chance to be in our meetings. We’ll talk to them as well (about) the NFL culture and expectations.”

Pettine wanted to have such a summit when he Green Bay’s defensive coordinator from 2019-2020 but the coronavirus pandemic hit and then he was fired from his job.

Among the 12 invitees is one woman, Roseanna Smith, director of football operations/running backs coach at Division III Oberlin (Ohio) College.

BRIEFLY

— The Vikings’ top three draft picks all could end up starting but O’Connell is not rushing anything. First-round selection Lewis Cine has been working behind Camryn Bynum at safety, second-round pick Andrew Booth Jr. has been sidelined as the cornerback recovers from groin surgery and second-rounder Ed Ingram is getting reserve snaps at guard. O’Connell said the Vikings have a “teaching progression” for rookies but they “can earn” spots for sure.

— O’Connell has been impressed with how second-quarterback Kellen Mond has looked during offseason drills. “Kellen’s having a good spring so far, working hard, digesting the system,” O’Connell said. During Tuesday’s second session of OTAs,  O’Connell said Mond “made a couple of checks at the line of scrimmage that he wasn’t prepared play-by-play for” but that he “instinctively” adjusted.

— Tight end Irv Smith Jr., who missed all of last season with a knee injury, did some work on the field Tuesday but O’Connell said the Vikings will continue to bring him back slowly. “He’s going to be a major part of what we do,” O’Connell said. “It’s just making sure that we’re doing it in a really responsible way.”

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Jim Hagedorn family suing widow Jennifer Carnahan for medical expenses

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Jim Hagedorn family suing widow Jennifer Carnahan for medical expenses

Family members of the late U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota say his widow, Jennifer Carnahan, who is running to replace her husband in Congress, hasn’t come through on a promise to pay them back medical expenses related to his cancer treatments.

Carnahan calls it a political stunt.

Two lawsuits filed Monday by Hagedorn’s mother, stepfather and sister allege they helped pay for cancer treatments he received at Envita Medical Centers in Arizona. Carnahan made a “clear and definite promise” to use inheritance she was to receive after his death to reimburse his family members, according to the complaints.

Carnahan said Hagedorn’s estate is required to go through the probate process in the courts to determine how to divide up his assets and there is nothing more she can do at this time.

“Grief affects everyone differently. Handling the affairs of my husband’s estate should be a private matter,” Carnahan said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate a very simple process has been turned into a political stunt.”

Hagedorn died after a long battle with kidney cancer on Feb. 17. He was told in January that there were no more treatments available for him at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which is his congressional district, so he sought additional treatments at the facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Star Tribune reported.

A suit filed by Hagedorn’s mother, Kathleen Kreklau, and stepfather said they used $10,000 of a $25,000 home equity loan to help cover medical costs. In a separate complaint, Hagedorn’s sister, Tricia Lucas, said she charged $10,000 on a credit card to help cover the costs of his treatment and was promised repayment by Carnahan.

Both lawsuits allege Carnahan was to receive a $174,000 death benefit from the United States government after Hagedorn died, as well $174,000 from his life insurance policy.

Carnahan closed her statement by saying she wishes “Jim’s family well and know this time has been very difficult for all of us.”

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