By: Russ Goldman
The Patriots have started several games this season very slow on offense. They have used the “hurry up” on many occasions to jump-start the tempo, and their play. However, can the Patriots effectively run the hurry up offense in Denver?
The Patriots traditionally have played poorly in Denver, and there are several reasons for that. I feel Mike Shanahan had a great deal to do with the Patriots losses in the Mile High City. Also, the atmosphere at Sports Authority Field at Mile High is extremely intimidating.
I certainly have first hand knowledge as I witnessed the last time the Patriots won in Denver which was in 2003. The crowd gets so loud that the stadium actually shakes. They are the 12th man in this game on Sunday.
However, another factor that has not been discussed enough is the altitude. It takes awhile for your body to get acclimated to the altitude, and you can get winded and tired pretty easily.
That takes me to an issue on Sunday for the Patriots, and that will be the offense. Everyone in the media is focusing on Tim Tebow. I am actually concerned about the Patriots offense and the use of the “hurry up” against the Broncos.
I feel the Patriots are going to need to count on their conventional offense more in this game, because the “hurry up” offense could work against them. This style of the Patriots offense is used to change the tempo, and forces the defense to keep the same personnel on the field, and possibly tire that unit.
In Denver, if the Patriots use the “hurry up”, it could actually tire their offense out, and become an advantage for the defense. The Broncos defense is used to the altitude in Denver, and should not get tired from playing against the “hurry up”.
The Patriots really need to get ahead of the Broncos early in this game, but using the “hurry up” I think is a mistake. There are other ways to beat the Broncos.
It is time for the Patriots offense to force their will on an opponent by methodically moving themselves down the field. The Broncos are 21st in the NFL on rush defense. This might be a great opportunity to run the ball, and show balance offensively.
However, if the Patriots want to strike early there could be opportunities to throw deep as the Broncos are dealing with some injuries, and youth in there secondary. Safety Brian Dawkins is listed as questionable along with cornerback Andre Goodman.
Now, you are probably thinking that the Patriots don’t have any deep threats, but I would take my shots as the ball flies through the air in Denver. I would send Chad Ochocinco and Tiquan Underwood deep to stretch the field. Just making a few long throws could just open up the middle of the field for Brady to take advantage of the Denver defense.
The Patriots offensively are very dangerous, and against Denver, it is time to show that they don’t need the “hurry up” to get them into gear. If they use this style against the Broncos, it just might backfire on them.
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