Denver's big chance: big plays Elway and receivers will get opportunities to break the game open

Broncos' pass offense

Super Bowl Xxxii

January 22, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

SAN DIEGO -- The Denver Broncos' offense can't match up physically with the Green Bay Packers' defense, but a lot of motion could get the Broncos several mismatches in the passing game, which Denver hopes to convert into long gains and possibly touchdowns.

For Denver's passing game to work, the Broncos have to establish running back Terrell Davis, which would force Green Bay to play seven or eight men in the box or near the line of scrimmage. If that happens, Denver will go after exposed cornerbacks Tyrone Williams on the left side and Doug Evans on the right, the Achilles' heel of the defense, on the deep out patterns.

Denver doesn't have great receivers, but Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith are reliable and capable of making big plays over Williams and Evans, who like to gamble.

Green Bay also likes to blitz often, especially with safety LeRoy Butler, so expect Denver to come out with a lot of motion to try to catch the Packers out of position.

Tight end Shannon Sharpe and Butler are the X-factors in the passing games for both teams. Butler likes to penetrate hard on running plays, and he might be vulnerable to a couple of play-action passes. Sharpe usually outplays most safeties, but Butler is a former cornerback playing safety.

He has no pass-coverage deficiency.

"He feels he is the best at his position, and I feel that I'm the best at my position," said Sharpe. "It's going to be a great battle with probably a trade-off in big plays."

The Broncos also will need a solid game from quarterback John Elway. Green Bay will give Denver an assortment of looks. Elway has to be on top of his game.

"Because Green Bay likes to crowd the line of scrimmage, John has to make some pretty good pre-snap reads," said Denver running back and kick returner Vaughn Hebron. "They move Butler all over the place. If they have him blitzing from the corner, then John has to make the hot read in that area. If they come from the middle, then that's where we have to go. John has been around awhile, so I don't think they will hit us with anything he hasn't seen."

Another key element in the passing game is how well right tackle Tony Jones blocks All-Pro defensive end Reggie White, who had a great Super Bowl a year ago.

Pub Date: 1/22/98

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