Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NFL 32 in 32: Denver Broncos

It feels like forever since the Broncos hosted the AFC Championship game in January of 2006. Since then, the Broncos have not finished better than .500 and after a few late season collapses and 2 head coaches, the Broncos are in rebuilding. John Fox is the new man in town, and there is a lot of work to do. They play in a weak division though, but will that help them this season?

What's New: Not many major additions were made this offseason, the first under John Elway's watch, but some moves were made that will make an impact. They picked up Willis McGahee from Baltimore, and he looks to be the feature back for the Broncos this season, and will likely split carries with Knowshon Moreno, with the departure of Correll Buckhalter. They also added on offense WR David Anderson from Houston, who will likely see some more playing time with the departure of Jabar Gaffney and the injury to Demaryius Thomas. They also added TE's Daniel Fells and Dante Rosario, as they really didn't have any great TE's on the roster last season. Defensively, the biggest addition was the drafting of Von Miller, the LB from Texas A&M. He looks to help the pass rush which will also see a boost with the return of DE Elvis Dumervill. They also picked up DT Ty Warren from New England. All of these additions are going to help improve a team last year that was, in the nicest words, pretty bad.

Biggest Strength: On offense, Kyle Orton will be the starting QB Week 1 against Oakland, and he is underrated. He has good weapons to throw to in Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal, despite the injuries and departures of wideouts in the offseason. They have a decent running game too, and with an decent offensive line, they could have a better offense than expected. On defense, the pass rush will be very good with Elvis Dumervill and Von Miller, plus the addition of Ty Warren. They will have a better pass rush than expected this season.

Biggest Weakness: The rest of the defense however is a major problem. They have a decent linebacking corps, but other than Von Miller, it really isn't amazing, and there is very little depth there. There is little depth on the defense live as well, as last year proved. The secondary though is where the problems truly lie. Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins are very good players, but they are getting a bit long in the tooth. The rest of the secondary is a major problem. Not only is there an issue with depth, the starters aren't very impressive either, and with the issues surrounding Perrish Cox, a potential starter, their secondary could be even further behind the 8 ball.

Outlook: Not great. While they may have a decent enough offense, their defense is a serious problem for them to be truly competitive. They are improved from last year, but not by much. Even though their division is weaker than many in the NFL, San Diego and Kansas City are formidable teams. With Denver's defensive issues, the problems could mount too high for them to be close to .500. John Elway's rebuilding project may take 2-3 more years.

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