Dan Reeves, the Broncos' head coach, has come up with a neat, if unsymmetrical, way to confuse defenses. By putting Dave Studdard, the left tackle, to the right of right tackle Ken Lanier, and tight ends Jim Wright and John Sawyer on the left side, the Broncos are messing up traditional concepts of the strong side. Essentially what results is a strong running side and a strong passing side.
"It forces the defense to make adjustments both ways, without really creating a lot of complications for us," says Alex Gibbs, Denver's offensive line coach.
The strong safety is the man on the hot seat. He has to make a quick decision. If he figures Denver will pass, he covers the tight ends' side. But if he thinks the Broncos will run, he goes into what Reeves calls "force" coverage on the tackles' side.
Denver quarterback John Elway reads the safety and calls the plays accordingly. For instance, when the safety is on the tight ends' side, Elway might audible a toss sweep, as diagramed above.
Reeves has added other wrinkles: The wideout on the tackles' side drops off the line, thus making Studdard an eligible receiver, or a third tackle is added in the usual left tackle slot.