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New-look Broncos offense under Hackett/Outten means passing on run

It's a pretty offense to watch. But sorry Peyton, the QB better have the athleticism to throw on the move.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — What Eric Barriere did as a tryout quarterback during the Broncos’ rookie minicamp this weekend looked eerily similar to what Russell Wilson did as the team’s new franchise quarterback during the voluntary veteran minicamp and, dare we say, to what Aaron Rodgers did so efficiently on game day the previous three seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

Barriere, like the other two, would turn from center and sprint back, take two late steps towards the left halfback, fake the handoff then pull the ball back into his midsection, roll far to the right, and throw. It’s the throwing part that separates Rodgers and Wilsons from the likes of Barriere, who was not signed to the Broncos’ roster after his minicamp tryout concluded Saturday.

But the action was exactly the same. It’s an aesthetically designed play.

The Broncos’ offense this year, as it did during the Jake Plummer years, will require its quarterback to throw on the move.

"Any time you drop back in this league you’ve got a bunch of guys that rush the passer," Broncos offensive coordinator Justin Outten said when asked Saturday by 9NEWS to explain the philosophy he and head coach Nathaniel Hackett have on moving the quarterback’s pocket. "That’s what they get paid for and keeping him on the move and keeping the defense guessing – it’s not just the quarterback. It’s the whole look of everything.

"Just matching things up, we’ve made it a point of emphasis this offseason to match our runs with our play-keepers and our passes and make it all look the same. It’s important to get him on the edge and it’s important to move him around a little bit, roll out quick and keep the defense off-guard."

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Credit: AP
John Elway, left, Denver Broncos president of football operations, talks to head coach Nathaniel Hackett as players take part in drills during a rookie minicamp NFL football session Friday, May 13, 2022, at the team's headquarters in Centennial, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

RELATED: Broncos rookie minicamp notes: Dulcich has it all, and can catch too

This is not an offense for Johnny U. or Peyton Manning, or Eli Manning. Archie Manning could have run it. But not Peyton. He tried. Peyton Manning gave it a go in his final season of 2015 at 39 years old. He helped the Broncos win a Super Bowl. But he also threw 17 interceptions against 9 touchdown passes, easily the worst statistical season of his career. 

Give Manning credit for adjusting his game in the name of victory. But Manning was born to operate from the shotgun, not roll to his right.

Wilson will throw from the shotgun, too. Rodgers did plenty of times the past three years in Green Bay when Hackett was his offensive coordinator. But that play-action boot throw on the run is a play Rodgers came to execute well. It’s another reason why Wilson wanted the Broncos as his preferred destination out of Seattle. His athleticism and ability to throw on the run matches well with the Broncos’ offense.

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Denver Broncos headlines, game previews and interviews with our 9NEWS insider Mike Klis.


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