After a disappointing showing in the Super Bowl last February, the Denver Broncos thanks to John Elway, are primed and ready for yet another Super Bowl run. Denver quickly learned how talented the Seattle Seahawks defense was so Elway and company tried to model a defense similar to theirs.
Elway wasted no time in the offseason, picking up three Pro Bowl caliber players on the defensive side of the ball. Denver would sign two key defensive backs, T.J. Ward of the Cleveland Browns and Aqib Talib of the New England Patriots. Ward fills the need in the secondary alongside teammate Rahim Moore while Talib is an upgrade over the veteran Champ Bailey who moved on to the New Orleans Saints.
Denver was able to score on a pass-rusher in DeMarcus Ware who was cut by the Dallas Cowboys – allowing him to play on the opposite site of linebacker Von Miller. Denver lost pass rushers in Shaun Phillips and Robert Ayers so the pick-up of Ware was critical. Not to mention, Denver will have an opportunity to look at Quanterus Smith who missed all of 2013 with a torn ACL.
To be fair to the Denver Broncos, the defense they went into the Super Bowl and basically the playoffs weren’t equipped to win it all. The team lost their two top players on the defensive side in Von Miller (ACL) and Chris Harris Jr. (ACL). Other notable players that headlined the list were Derek Wolfe (seizure-like symptoms), Kevin Vickerson (leg), and Rahim Moore (leg). That’s five key pieces on the defensive side that were missing — not a recipe for success in this league or any league.
Shifting over to the offensive side of the ball that couldn’t get anything going in the Super Bowl. Denver’s offensive line was pushed around by Seattle, not allowing Peyton Manning to get a rhythm. Good news for the Broncos is that they’ll be getting All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady back which should immediately bolster the offensive line. Denver’s plan is to also shift Orlando Franklin over to left guard to enhance the protection of Peyton Manning’s blind side.
Denver lost not one but two weapons on the offensive end this past offseason. Wide receiver Eric Decker flocked to the New York Jets for the money while running back Knowshon Moreno signed a deal with the Miami Dolphins but may need knee surgery. No Decker, no Moreno? – no problem. Denver has passed the reigns over to second-year back in Montee Ball as they expect him to have a breakout year. Ball also reiterated that he is more familiar with the playbook/schemes which makes it a perfect opportunity. Denver would also fill Decker’s spot on the roster with free agent signing Emmanuel Sanders, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sanders adds a whole different aspect to the Broncos offense. Decker was a possession wide-out that knew how to run routs but wasn’t exactly fleet of foot. Adding Sanders speed and big-play ability on the opposite side of Demaryius Thomas can only mean good things. Not to mention, Denver has two other key targets in Wes Welker and Julius Thomas who will play big roles for the team in the upcoming season.
The only question mark that remains on this club is the middle linebacker position which sounds like Nate Irving will get the first crack at.
Denver’s roster looks primed and ready for yet another Super Bowl run but this time it won’t come easy. They will have to show just how good of a team they are as they will be taking on the NFC West this season; which is undoubtedly the toughest division in football. Taking on teams such as the Seahawks, 49ers, and Cardinals will only make it easier down the stretch.
Looking at this roster, how can you not get excited for the season? It’s “Super Bowl or bust” in the words of cornerback Chris Harris.