Patriots vs. Broncos: 3 Offensive Keys
By Cyrus Geller
2. Edge Rushers
As I explained previously, the Patriots will have favorable matchups in the secondary against this Broncos defense. However it won’t matter if Tom Brady is constantly under siege, and that is why Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon have to be on their A game against Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Last time around the Pats did a good job of keeping Miller in check (relatively speaking), although it helped that Ware was out with an injury.
Vollmer and Cannon have been playing well as of late, and they are coming off one of their best performances of the year against the Chiefs. Part of that was having Edelman back so Brady could get rid of the football quicker, but good offensive line play is good offensive line play, and they will have to show up once again this Sunday.
Jerod Mayo placed on injured reserve
Something interesting I noticed on film from the first meeting between these two teams was the use of Cameron Fleming as an extra blocker on the edge. Tight end Michael Williams was inactive for that game, and he is usually the guy being used as an extra blocker next to Cannon or Vollmer. Look for Williams to be used in big sets with Gronkowski on Sunday to help block in the running game, and to also set up play action shots down the field.
Lastly, I honestly believe the best way the Patriots can keep Miller and Ware off of Brady is with their quick passing attack that has been re-introduced with Edelman and Amendola back in the fold. When those two were out, Brady’s receivers just couldn’t get open, and even if the offensive line blocked well, eventually the pass rush would get to him. However when you have Edelman getting open two seconds after the ball is snapped, that doesn’t give pass rushers any time to get to the quarterback. Hopefully we see more of those quick routes on Sunday.
Next: Red Zone