The Denver Broncos went for it on fourth down four times in a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks last weekend. Denver’s offense converted three times.
Will we see that same level of fourth-down aggressiveness from offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and coach Vic Fangio in the regular season?
“We’ll soon find out,” Fangio said following a 30-3 win. “Of the three of them, two were very realistic. It could happen in any game. One of them might have been a stretch.
“But again, if your offense is doing [well], you have confidence. You know, last year, statistically on third-and-two and -three, which is like fourth down, you know we weren’t very good at it, so it doesn’t warm your heart, or my heart, to be going for it. If I have confidence, we’ll do it.”
The Broncos went for it on fourth down just 15 times last season, tied for the fourth-lowest total in the league. Denver converted four of those attempts, marking the worst fourth-down conversion percentage (26.6%) in the NFL.
The Broncos had a much better percentage on Saturday (75%), perhaps in part because two of the attempts were very manageable, as Fangio noted. Denver also had a productive rushing attack in Seattle.
It seems unrealistic to expect the Broncos to be extremely aggressive on fourth down when the games actually count, but if the run game is strong, that will undoubtedly give Fangio more confidence for fourth-and-short attempts this fall. Time will tell.