Broncos right tackle Mike McGlinchey is happy to face Minnesota at home on Sunday night, because communication will be essential against the Vikings’ pass rush.
Minnesota has the highest blitz percentage in the league (49%) under first-year defensive coordinator Brian Flores. And with the various looks the Vikings present, the Broncos will have their hands full trying to protect quarterback Russell Wilson.
“There’s a lot of things you have to be on your keys about,” McGlinchey told The Denver Post. “We have checks and adjustments built-in for quite a bit of plays. It’s about being on the same page.”
Head coach Sean Payton said he and the team spent 48 hours studying Minnesota’s pass rush. He thinks Minnesota forces opponents’ hands with six- and seven-man blitzes.
Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said it’s been hard getting the scout team to simulate what Minnesota will present on defense.
“There’s a lot of frustration out there (when) trying to get guys lined up on defense and give you the right clues,” Lombardi said. “You have to be ready for six guys rushing, so it limits your playbook.”
Flores, a former head coach for the Miami Dolphins, has transformed Minnesota’s defense. In 2022, the Vikings had one of the worst defenses in the league, ranking 30th in points (25.1), 20th in rushing yards (123.1) and 31st in passing yards (265.6) allowed per game.
This season, Minnesota is 10th against the run (98.8 yards per game), 16th in passing yards allowed (224.4) and 14th in points allowed (20.9). The Vikings are also tied for 11th in sacks (27) and 17th in quarterback pressures (84).
Flores is notorious for his Cover-zero blitzes, when he leaves his defensive backs on an island in order to bring the heat. He’ll also rush three defenders while dropping eight in coverage. That approach was successful in Minnesota’s win against the New Orleans Saints in Week 10.
With 1:56 left in regulation, Minnesota dropped eight players in coverage while rushing three at Jameis Winston before the backup quarterback’s deep pass attempt was picked off by cornerback Byron Murphy Jr.
While the Vikings have put together an effective pass rush, Wilson has been shaky against the blitz, despite posting impressive overall numbers. Denver’s veteran quarterback has a 78.9 passer rating when blitzed, according to Pro Football Focus.
“When we go through keys to victory, one of them on offense is communication and knowing what we are getting out of their penny front, what we are getting out of their nickel front, and identifying what kind of pressure it is,” Payton said. “It can be busy and noisy when you first look at it.”
New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) is hit by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter, top, during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, in Minneapolis. Carr was injured on the play. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
Denver Broncos |
Broncos sense Sean Payton Way is starting to take …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports