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Week 12 Patriots vs Broncos Film Review: Denver Loves the Bunch Package

Denver loves to bunch their offensive players to confuse the defense. Here's an inside look at how they succeed.

When you watch enough tape of an opposing team, you start to see trends in how they function. For example, Peyton Manning loves the levels concept, which means that there are multiple receivers running the same route at different depths, to challenge the spacing of the defense. Tom Brady loves to get the ball to his receivers in space to take advantage of poor tackling fundamentals.

If there's a new quarterback behind center, teams have to strip away a lot of the play book in order to give the new passer greater comfort. When you watch Brock Osweiler and the Denver Broncos, it's very clear that they want to avoid having Osweiler read the defense, but instead put the receivers in a position to force defenders to miscommunicate, giving Osweiler an easy open target.

A core concept from the Broncos is the bunch package, which involves an array of personnel. It could involve three tight ends or three wide receivers, or any mix of the two positions. The goal is to put all of the receivers together and force defenders to try to pass off the coverage, or attempt to stick tightly through traffic.

Here are the Broncos bunch plays from the first half against the Chicago Bears. The yellow line represents the player that received the ball, while the red is for players that are just running their routes (orange is used if routes overlap).


You can see that the Broncos ran six in the first half, including two run plays. The package is dangerous because all three of the receivers can route different routes in different directions, or they could even stay in to block. You'll even note that they fake an end-around on one of the plays, which sets up an actual end-around in the second half.

The Broncos use these natural picks to free up space for the underneath route, while they have a tendency to use deep routes as a way to push back safeties to open up intermediate routes, or allow for yards after the catch on dump offs.

Here are the bunch plays from the second half.


It's crucial to note that the Broncos never ran the same passing route combination, but they were comfortable using the same play in the running game. This makes it difficult for defenders to key on to how the Broncos offense will attack, even if it looks like a formation the defense has seen before.

The Patriots should note that the receiver on the inside route is probably Osweiler's first read because that offers the easiest throw since the defender will either be a step behind, or a linebacker. New England cornerbacks need to force Osweiler to throw towards the sidelines, and the linebackers need to disrupt the passing lanes so he doesn't have the option for the easy pass in the middle.

Key an eye out for this formation on Sunday night because you can be certain it will be a cornerstone in the Denver playbook.