As we head into week 1, I wanted to share some thoughts about the upcoming season along with my opinion on how the Denver Broncos will do this year.
As we all know, the Broncos struggled through the 2017 season and ended up having one of the worst seasons in recent Bronco history. The blame for last year’s poor season can be shared by the coaches and players equally.
The team has addressed a number of the issues that plagued them last season and it appears to me that this year's Broncos team will be noticeably improved. During the preseason games, the starting offensive line appeared to be much improved from last year…thankfully as that was one area of total disappointment last season. The addition of Jared Veldheer at right tackle should help by bringing 8 seasons of experience to the line. Veldheer will also improve the running game on that side of the line.
On the other side of the line, it should come as no surprise that Denver’s defensive line and linebackers will still remain as the strongest part of the team. The addition of Bradley Chubb will make it extremely difficult for opposing teams to double team Vonn Miller and should free up the middle for Derek Wolfe. The defensive backfield is still a bit of a question mark. They will miss Talib greatly and it remains to be seen if Bradley Roby will be able to play man for man defense. If Roby has trouble with the man for man defense and they have to go to a zone defense, the opposing quarterback will have a much easier time completing passes. The strength of a lock down man for man defense is that it pressures the quarterback to throw early by limiting the time that a quarterback has to get the pass off.
If the offensive line has improved, the Broncos can go to a ball control offense. With Case Keenum at quarterback, the Broncos have a passer with experience who will dink and dunk the ball down the field. Keenum is no doubt a good athlete and he has played well for the last couple of seasons. We all know that the Broncos are gifted at the wide receiver position and I wouldn't be surprised to see DT given less playing time if he doesn't step his game up a bit. I believe that Sutton is being groomed to replace DT. The running back position looks to be in good shape, both Booker and Freeman had a good preseason. The one wild card is CU’s Phillip Lindsay. He has exceptional quickness, and speed and opposing defenses will have a difficult time containing him.
The kicking game looks be solid this season. Obviously, McManus has a strong and accurate leg and is a proven commodity. As for King, I am still wondering why the Raiders gave him up. At just under 47 yards, he punted for a good average last season and I was surprised that he was available.
Looking at the upcoming season for the Broncos, I believe that we will see some serious improvement. Hopefully the injuries will be kept to a minimum and if that happens, I believe that they can win their division; the Raiders have a new coach and will probably need some time to adjust to Gruden. The Chiefs seem to be solid, but don't appear to have made any great additions in the off season. The Chargers don't appear to have done anything special in the off season to improve their chances.
I do believe that this season will be the ultimate test for Coach Vance Joseph. He really doesn't have much coaching experience as a coordinator or head coach. The Broncos took a big chance when selecting Joseph as the head coach last year, and so far, he hasn't been very impressive. Time will tell. Although, when you are a head coach, time isn't always on your side.