At a Thursday video conference, Broncos recipient Courtland Sutton held up a spiral notebook as he discussed how he teaches new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s system.
A pen is placed in the center of the tablet.
“This top part is the first few weeks of notes,” Sutton said. “There is so much to learn.”
Since he notes major points from his third playbook in so many years, he should also include a “Courtland To-Do List”.
Build on his 2019 outbreak season. … Assist rookies Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler’s adaptation to the NFL. … Help the Broncos score more points.
Sutton is ready for all those responsibilities. He embraces the pressure to be a number 1 target instead of running away from it.
Even before Emmanuel Sanders was transferred to San Francisco last October, Sutton had taken the highest billing. His 72 catches were 44 more than any Broncos receiver who played all season. He had 28 ‘explosive’ receipts (gain of at least 16 yards), consistently forced opponents to take penalties and had at least four catches in 14 of the 16 games. He was selected as a substitute for the Pro Bowl.
After the season, before Shurmur could start teaching the system, Sutton corrected himself.
“I feel like I went back and watched many of my games a few times and analyzed myself, even away from the ball if the pass didn’t come to me, and how I looked on certain routes to see what I could do to keep improving my game, “he said.” When I see something, it’s best to believe that one of another team’s eyes or a scout somewhere or (defensive back) has seen the same thing, so if I don’t am willing to correct and change, it will be something I will be exposed throughout the season. ‘
Sutton learned the system from Bill Musgrave in 2018 and Rich Scangarello last year. His take on Shurmur’s philosophy?
“He sees the game as recipients see it, which I think is quite rare,” said Sutton. “We feel that we can influence the game in so many different ways – in the pass game (with) screens, taking shots across the field and giving him Drew (Lock) the flexibility that, when he sees a mismatch, (he can) take advantage of it and don’t say, “We’ll get back to that (in the) next series.” They give Drew the freedom to do that.
“If we can get into a situation where Drew and the offense are really comfortable with the (playbook) and we know what to do, it will (kind of) become an unmanageable situation.”
What will also free Sutton, who faced a regular diet of dual teams last year (especially in the red zone), is whether Jeudy and Hamler can be productive quickly.
Sutton watched some of Alabama’s high profile games in Jeudy and even delivered a scouting report to host coach Zach Azzanni. He heard about Hamler from Broncos receiver DaeSean Hamilton, whose last year at Penn State was Hamler’s red-shirt season.
“I liked what I saw (from Jeudy),” said Sutton. “I love the way he plays and I think he will be able to add value to our room and put a lot more pressure on the defense with his speed and route running ability – it will open a lot for the boys on the field.
“And KJ, you get someone who is a speedster … He becomes someone who can also threaten the defense and help everyone on the field.”
Only 24 years old, Sutton is expected to accompany Jeudy and Hamler during preparation week.
“It’s funny to say that because I’m only entering my third year,” said Sutton. “But our room is very young and it’s very different (than 2018) when DaeSean and I entered a room with Demaryius (Thomas) and Emmanuel – Pro Bowl, Super Bowl-winning guys.”
The Broncos had no issues scoring for most of the Thomas-Sanders era. But last year’s offense was ranked 28th in points (16.9 per game). Any vision of going from 7-9 to playoff battle will be debatable if the Broncos can’t add a touchdown to that average at the very least.
“It’s frustrating when you hear those (statistics), because the potential is here,” said Sutton. “We see it every day, all the weapons we have for our offense. You wouldn’t think it would be a concern to enter a game where you can’t score enough points. But it was and we have to face the facts, that was the situation that occurred and we have to go from there and learn from it and understand that we have every weapon we need, in every position, to be successful. ”