Englewood, Colorado. – Rookie rookie Greg Dolcic has played in just four games with the Denver Broncos this season after a lengthy recovery from an off-season hamstring injury. But in those anthology etchings, he showed that he could move the needle for a group in dire need of further production.
“He was really special,” quarterback Russell Wilson said recently. “You know, when I’ve thrown as many footballs as I’ve thrown for as many years as I’ve thrown, you can say on your first three pitches, ‘Okay, he’s got it.'” There is something to it. “
Still a fairly small sample size: 13 receptions for 193 yards. But for the worst offense in the league (14.6 points per game), Dulcich has been a barometer of how things have fared with Denver over the past month. When Wilson gets the ball—as he did on Dulcich’s first career touchdown on a 39-yard touchdown against the Chargers—or finds it enough—like on an 87-yard run in London’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars—the offense flicks better.
But if Dulcich gets less room to work or isn’t connected enough — like his one-gasp game Sunday in a loss at Tennessee — that’s another indication of a loose unit.
Dulcich did not practice with the offense until he was set to return on October 11. Since then, he’s made impact plays that the Broncos just never had enough of as a team (Denver has 12 total touchdowns in nine games).
“I just want to keep working,” Dolch said. “Every time I’m out and I want to be in a position to contribute, to be ready to contribute… I feel like this team is close, right there, if only we could clean some things up, finish the play. When I have a chance I want to finish the plays.”
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With senior Tim Patrick on injured reserve since the summer, and WRs KJ Hamler (hamstring) and Jerry Jeudy (ankle) also currently in question marks, the 3-6 Broncos are definitely looking for an impact passing game as they prepare to host 2-7 Las Vegas. Vegas Raiders on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).
Dulcich has that kind of potential. In the first three games of his career (against the Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets, and Jaguars) – Dulcich had the best yards per catch of any tight end in the NFL at 15.5 yards per catch. And despite missing five games, Dulcich already ranks third among tight ends in the league in catches and yards gained, behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Cade Otton and Isaiah Likely of the Baltimore Ravens.
Dulcich, a third-round pick in this year’s draft, started out as a wide receiver at UCLA, and it’s easy to see that comfort level when he has a pass inside his catch radius. He averaged 19.9 and 17.3 yards per catch, respectively, in his final two seasons at UCLA.
“When you watched the college tape come out, you could see the explosion and you could see how smoothly he handled the ball,” said Broncos offensive coordinator Justin Otten. “…he really doesn’t say much, but he studies, he prepares, you can move him a lot in the offense itself. You can deploy him, put him in line, and I think we can expand as we move forward with him.”
The Broncos have spent most of their time on offense in a three-wide receiver group, especially over the last four games — at least 44 triple-WR snaps in each of those games, including penalty shots — so Dulcich split time with other tight ends as the Broncos splashed out. . In that process, Albert Okogbonam, a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, was largely replaced by Dulcich as the tight receiver.
Game day Okwuegbunam has been inactive for three of the last four games and was in his Tennessee Sunday uniform but did not play. The Broncos could increase Dulcich’s playing time, as well as others in the position, by leaning more towards some of the larger groups of personnel, but coach Nathaniel Hackett has consistently cited Wilson’s comfort level as an important reason for playing the way they do despite the struggles.
But the combination of Dulcich and Okwuegbunam in a tight end look was not explored by the Broncos despite his potential in the passing game.
Hackett said earlier: “We try to do what we think is appropriate for the group and still at the same time we mix some of the larger individuals (groupings) and some of this stuff in there so we can get the ball running”. week.
“You just be ready when they call your number,” Dulcich said. “This is what I do.”