Let’s make one thing clear. When you talk about a key player on offense for the Denver Broncos, it assumes that Peyton Manning is, was, and always will be the most important player on offense as long as he is playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos. With that established, who else will be a key player for the Broncos in Super Bowl 48 against the Seattle Seahawks?
The Denver Broncos are going to have to pick their spots in the passing game on the outside. The Cover 3 scheme that the Seahawks run, with their huge corners pressing on the outside, will largely stifle Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. It’s not that the Broncos won’t have success with those guys or that they won’t have an impact (especially in some diverse formations), it’s just that the chances will be harder to come by.
In the meantime the Broncos still need to move the ball. Some of that burden will fall on the running backs, which I believe might even make Montee Ball more important than Knowshon Moreno because I think the rookie is a better pure runner. As for picking up chunks of yards throwing the ball, many of those opportunities will come in the flat and underneath over the middle.
Over the middle is scary, though, because of Earl Thomas. His primary responsibility is to cover his third of the field deep, but what makes Thomas the best safety in the NFL is the way that he reads plays and flies to spots all over the field. There will be brief windows underneath to get chunks of yards before Thomas and his colleagues make tough tackles, something they do better than any unit in the NFL.
The Broncos need Welker to sit down in the right spots and make those plays, especially to pick up key first downs. In the interest of his health, he then needs to duck and not get killed by the huge men on Seattle’s side.
Manning should still be able to throw the ball, but the match-up with Seattle is tough in terms of talent and scheme. It is on the scheme side of things that Welker becomes so important so that the Broncos can stay afloat, sustain drives, and then find a big play or two to hopefully win the game.