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Team Preview: Denver Broncos
- Updated: August 8, 2012
Out with the new and in with the old? Doesn’t seem to make sense, but it made sense when the Broncos decided to sign quarterback Peyton Manning (after the Colts released the future Hall Of Famer). The time is clearly now for Denver as John Elway decided to stop the “Tebow project” and bring in the sure thing in Manning, although he’s coming off a serious neck surgery.
Head coach John Fox brought a simple minded game-plan to Denver after Josh McDaniels and Mike Shanahan had highly intense plans. After a series of interviews, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy decided to stay in Denver and will now re-write the “Tebow playbook” to the “Manning playbook”. New defensive coordinator and former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio is re-united with John Fox and when the two were coaches together in Carolina, they coached the #2 defense in the league.
Key additions: QB Peyton Manning, WR Andre Caldwell, WR Brandon Stokley TE Joel Dreessen, TE Jacob Tamme,
Key losses: QB Tim Tebow, WR Eddie Royal, TE Danie Fells.
As already mentioned the offense will completely shift from a Tim Tebow unique offense, to a very fast paced, effective, and professionaly ran Peyton Manning offense. The Broncos also drafted 6’8″ QB Brock Osweiler who is the tallest QB drafted since 1991. The running game also has a new rookie face in Ronnie Hillman who is leaner than veteran Willis McGahee but will have to serve his time as a rookie, before earning his share of carries. Knowshon Moreno’s time is running out as what once was promising career full of potential has been slowed by injuries and unproductive play, which could spell the end of his short Denver career.
Wide receivers will be a certain must watch this year as Denver can hope that Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker turn into their version of Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie. Thomas came on strong towards the end of last season, and the hopes are working with Manning will bring him to a whole new level. The tight ends are also new but one isn’t that new with Manning, as Jacob Tamme had spent his previous time in Indy, with Manning and they formed a respectable duo when Dallas Clark wasn’t around. Joel Dressen was a touchdown vulture back in Houston when teammate Owen Daniels was hurt (often) and the Broncos have a nice duo of young, solid, and playmaking tight ends.
Player to watch: Demaryius Thomas, WR.
At 6’3″ 229-pounds Thomas is a big body, very capable, and dynamic wide receiver. He will most be remembered recently for his 80 yard catch-and-run against Pittsburgh in the playoffs last year, but on that miracle play, Tim Tebow was the quarterback. Peyton Manning can do half the work of getting the ball to Thomas, whether or not he can catch it, hold onto it, be productive with, and most importantly stay healthy, will rely on him.
Key additions: CB Tracy Porter, S Mike Adams, CB Drayton Florence.
Key losses: S Brian Dawkins, DT Brodrick Bunkley, LB Mario Haggan
The defense struggled in almost every category last season but certainly suffered their biggest loss when Brian Dawkins chose to retire leaving the defensive backfield searching for “the” guy. Will the aging Champ Bailey now receive the spotlight or can new corner Tracy Porter prove that the secondary won’t miss a beat? Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller are the faces of this defensive unit as a whole but can they stay healthy, out of legal trouble, and remain consistent?
Plenty of questions face this defense but it can be assured that Del Rio and Fox will find a way to make it a productive system, just as Fox did with Tebow as his QB last year. The defense will certainly be the key concern, while the offense will be the key focus.
Player to watch: DE Elvis Dumervil
He had no sacks up until week 8 last season after coming off a pectoral injury, but finished with 9.5 while rookie Von Miller stole the show. Dumervil was considered one of the league’s best pass rushers before the injury and if Denver wants to succeed, they must produce on both sides of the football. Dumervil and Miller working on the same page could be all the production Denver needs.
August 9th at Chicago
August 18th vs Seattle
August 26th vs San Francisco
August 30th at Arizona
September 9th vs Pittsburgh
September 17th at Atlanta
September 23rd vs Houston
September 30th vs Oakland
October 7th at New England
October 15th at San Diego
October 28th vs New Orleans
November 4th at Cincinnati
Noember 11th at Carolina
November 18th vs San Diego
November 25th at Kansas City
December 2nd vs Tampa Bay
December 6th at Oakland
December 16th at Baltimore
December 23rd vs Cleveland
December 30th vs Kansas City
While a few challenges await the Broncos, their biggest challenge was solved by bringing in Peyton Manning. As long as he is healthy there is no reason this team can’t win, because that is how impactful Peyton Manning is. Even if the running game and/or defense struggle, there’s no reason to believe the Broncos can’t finish at the top of the division.
Projected record: 11-5