The Denver Broncos came up one victory short of their ultimate goal last season but instead of feeling sorry for themselves, General Manager John Elway took the opposite approach. Elway knew if the Broncos were going to take the next step, then they had to get more physical. We all ready touched on the role that Montee Ball must play on the offense for the Broncos; Montee Ball Holds The Key For The Denver Broncos http://milehighmaniac.com/2014/05/22/montee-ball-holds-key-denver-broncos/ … … Elway’s heavy lifting, though, took place on the defensive side of the ball.
The transformation started in free agency with the signings of safety TJ Ward, cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive end DeMarcus Ware. Besides being among the best at their respective positions, these three players also bring a physical presence to a defense that has been too soft for too long. The Broncos then turned to the NFL Draft to complete their defensive overhaul. Although their effort to move up for a middle linebacker failed, the Broncos were able to add one of the top cornerbacks in the draft in Bradley Roby out of Ohio State. Roby was projected by many as a top 15 pick but fell to the end of the first round due to some off the field issues. If those issues are behind him and Roby insists that they are, then the Broncos got a steal a pick number 31.
In addition to Roby, the Broncos addressed the middle linebacker spot in the fifth round when they selected Lamin Barrow out of Louisiana State University. Barrow is undersized compared to the typical middle linebacker but his speed, and ability to shed blockers made him a target for the Broncos. The days of Mike Singletary are over, the NFL is a passing league and speed on defense is the key. The middle linebacker of today must be able to stuff the run on one down, and cover an athletic tight end on the next. The Broncos believe Barrow possess that unique skill set and will give him every opportunity to win the job in training camp.
The Broncos will also welcome back some key defensive players from injury including Von Miller and Chris Harris. Miller and Ware should give the Broncos one of the most feared pass rushes in the league; offenses will no longer be able to slide protection to one side or the other. If teams do somehow manage to block both Miller and Ware, the Broncos have others who can pick up the slack. Derek Wolfe, also returning from injury, is fully healthy and should be back to his form of two seasons ago. Wolfe and Malik Jackson are going to see a lot of one-on-one blocking as teams focus on Miller and Ware.
Safety Rahim Moore also returns from a freak leg injury to pair with Ward at the safety spot. For many fans, Moore will always be remembered for his mistake in the playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens in January 2013 but he was having a very good season before getting hurt. Moore will be able to freelance more with Ward by his side and that should lead to more interceptions, and big plays. Moore was a ball hawk at UCLA but hasn’t been that yet for the Broncos largely due the fact he hasn’t had a true strong safety by his side. That pass rush along with the coverage ability of a revamped secondary sets up perfectly for a team that figures to be playing with the lead more times than not.
Elway and the front office has done their job, they’ve improved on a roster that went 13-3 in 2013. Maybe his moves will work, maybe they won’t there’s one thing that cannot be questioned. Elway will do whatever it takes to bring a championship back to Denver, and that’s all any fan can ask for. Are they going to win the Super Bowl every year, of course not but that’s the goal. The Broncos got hit hard by the Seattle Seahawks but unlike so many other teams, they got up and got better.
The schedule is much tougher in 2014 and winning 13 games again will be very difficult, but the Broncos have the talent to be playing in February once again.