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  • How good could the Broncos be this year?

    We already have the full range of opinions on this question, from the utterly fatalistic to the homeristically (new word ) optimisitic.

    A lot of us believe our season's success will depend on the improvement of the defense. But while the defense is certainly important, I got to thinking of teams in the not so distant past that have been quite successful with poor defenses and that maybe we could become one of those.

    We of course remember the Chiefs of not too long ago and their high-powered offense (despite no legit receivers). **** Vermiel had them in contention despite generally poor defenses just like when he won a Super Bowl with the Rams in a similar situation. And the Colts won the Super Bowl with the worst running defense in the game and were at least a very successful team before that with generally poor defenses.

    So, how about our Broncos?

    I'm getting pretty excited by what our offense might be able to do this year, particularly when Marshall gets back from his suspension and we have a full arsenal. I think there are very few of us here who doubt that Marshall is going to be a star in this league if he stays out of trouble. It's too early to say for sure about Eddie Royal but I also can't remember the last time a rookie receiver had earned a starting spot on the Broncos before the season arrived... and he actually looks like he deserves it. And I'm still a big fan of Stokely, Graham and Scheffler and feel like they will all be potent weapons again. If Jackson comes on, that will be gravy, but not a make or break part of our offense.

    Our running backs certainly lack any star power but I feel confident they'll keep up the tradition of unknowns pounding out the yards on the ground. What I'm curious to see is whether Alridge and Torain (when healthy) can make any noise as rookies. And if Hillis stays healthy, I'm really optimistic about what he can offer not just as a blocker but as a serious receiving threat from the fullback spot.

    Our offensive line has looked suprisingly good so far. Yeah, it's preseason but I thought there'd be a lot more breakdowns considering we've got a rookie at LT and a first-time starter and second-year guy at RT which is also a new position for him, Nalen not playing, Holland being too fat to play, and Hamilton uncertain after that severe concusion last season. But outside of some stupid penalties, they've looked good overall and especially in pass protection. And I firmly believe they'll improve in their run blocking as the season progresses.

    And of course that leads us to young Jay Cutler. He's going into the supposedly magical third season for quarterbacks, has had his diabetes diagnosed and now under control, has regained his rocket arm, and looks thoroughly comfortable with the offense and his role as a leader on the team. If the offensive line actually protects him as well as it seems they should, I really don't see why he couldn't have a Pro Bowl season despite Manning and Brady likely locking down two of the available spots.

    We obviously won't know until the team takes the field but I'm expecting a consistently high scoring offense like we haven't had in awhile. If they could hit 30+ points per game (don't laugh) then I think we'd not only challenge the Chargers for the division but also be Super Bowl contenders this season, regardless of whether or not our defense becomes top 15 (but 30th or worse would certainly hurt our chances ).

    There are still a lot of question marks on this team but most of them are on defense. Yet I'm feeling optimistic enough about our offense that I think we can overcome some of the weaker areas on the team.

    I'm not predicting a Super Bowl appearance just yet but I would not be surprised for the Broncos to be a sleeper team in the AFC and make some noise... at least on the offensive side of things. I just hope they don't flop tonight and make me lose some of my enthusiasm.

    What do you think? Am I for starting to think contender?
    "You can't take the sky from me..."
    ------
    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

  • #2
    You make very excellent points. The way I see it is that if we can stay healthy, there is no doubt we will be in the running for the top of the AFC West or Wild Card spot. Just like you said, you can't wait to see Marshall come back so we can have a full arsenal, but just like *that*, one of our star players could be out for the season and could cause things to go down hill. That being said, I think we will come into this season on a positive note. What with the Raiders struggling to keep a team together, and the Chargers being somewhat set back with injuries. If we can lock in those two games early, not only would it help our chances of being head of the division, but the momentum would carry on over into the Saints game where we see the return of our beloved Brandon Marshall. As you said about the defense, it doesn't take a top D to get there and I totally agree with you. I think the key is being sync and developing chemistry. We want the kind of atmosphere that will make our players comfortable and ready to make an impact the moment they step on the field. If you ask me, (healthy and all.) I say the Broncos could go as well as 11-5.
    Originally posted by darth-hideous
    Champ losing a step, just means the rest of the NFL is now only two steps behind.
    Adopted by: CanDB & Peanut

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    • #3
      Just to give more detail on those contenders with poor defenses:

      2006 Colts (13-3 & Super Bowl win): 21st total yards, 23rd scoring, 32nd rushing

      2004 Colts (12-4): 29th total yards, 19th scoring

      2003 Chiefs (13-3): 29th total yards, 19th scoring


      Again, I'm not saying I want to settle for a poor defense. But I also don't believe all hope is lost if they suck considering what I'm anticipating from our offense. Man, I just hope we can stay relatively healthy this year.
      "You can't take the sky from me..."
      ------
      "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bronco-24 View Post
        You make very excellent points. The way I see it is that if we can stay healthy, there is no doubt we will be in the running for the top of the AFC West or Wild Card spot. Just like you said, you can't wait to see Marshall come back so we can have a full arsenal, but just like *that*, one of our star players could be out for the season and could cause things to go down hill. That being said, I think we will come into this season on a positive note. What with the Raiders struggling to keep a team together, and the Chargers being somewhat set back with injuries. If we can lock in those two games early, not only would it help our chances of being head of the division, but the momentum would carry on over into the Saints game where we see the return of our beloved Brandon Marshall. As you said about the defense, it doesn't take a top D to get there and I totally agree with you. I think the key is being sync and developing chemistry. We want the kind of atmosphere that will make our players comfortable and ready to make an impact the moment they step on the field. If you ask me, (healthy and all.) I say the Broncos could go as well as 11-5.
        If we could win those two without Marshall, I guarantee the boards will explode with overflowing enthusiasm.

        But health will definitely be a big factor over the course of the season...
        "You can't take the sky from me..."
        ------
        "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

        Comment


        • #5
          I've said it before and I'll say it again-despite how boring an answer it is, our season hinges on the offensive line. It stretches so far into our very core that even the defense will play better if the offensive line does their job right.

          And right now I can't even venture a serious guess. We're healthier than before but I dunno if we can be strong as a unit. Maybe our 275lbs lineman philosophy isn't working anymore and I've thought that for awhile.

          But if they do their job...11-5. maybe 12-4.
          Orange Crush Fantasy League sign ups. All the cool kids are doing it.


          Rivers has probably now the fastest release in the NFL that Favre is retired. - riversOWNSdonks
          Rivers has the potential to be better than Brady or any QB ever - riversOWNSdonks

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          • #6
            It's all about the defense...

            ...in particular the RUN defense. If the Broncos run defense has actually improved, I think we're a 10-6 to 11-5 team this year, especially with our schedule. I don't have too many concerns with the offense. It appears to be shaping up nicely and should be good for 20+ points per game this year.

            The problem is, we're currently in one of the best rushing divisions in the league. Every AFC West team's rushing attack looks to be formidable and if we can't stop them, or at least keep the rushing totals manageable from week to week, we could be in for another long season. There's a lot of star power in the West (LT, LJ, McFadden) and all of those teams' O-lines are either very good (SD) or are improving (KC, Oak).

            Hopefully, the new additions can bring the run stuffing ability that we haven't had since DJs sophomore season when he, Al and Ian were in top form.

            I can say that on paper we appear to have the best D-line we've had in a long time. Hopefully Robertson can stay healthy because I think with him and Thomas, we have all the potential in the world. Both of our starting DTs are strong and athletic and should be a force against the run this year.

            Our pass rush should also be improved if, for no other reason, Slowik likes to blitz more than Bates did. I'm looking for improvement from the younger guys and haven't given up on Moss or Crowder. Those guys can be special if they put in the effort and start to "get it". We also have more speed and range on the field in the secondary with McRee, Manuel, Barrett, and Abdullah than we did with Lynch and Ferguson. It would be great to see a couple of coverage sacks too from time to time.

            The LBs are still a ? though especially if Boss can't stay healthy although guys like Winborn and Woodyard seem to be playing with a lot of intensity. MLB is still my biggest concern right now and I just don't have a ton of faith in Webster or Niko to this point.

            The bottom line is, we can be a playoff team with the current talent we have but the team is going to have to play their best football to acheve it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, this is my "official" stance on our team this season...


              1) I think we'll have a Top 10 offense that will largely be passing oriented. I really think this is the year we will have trouble running the ball, and here is why:

              .........A) We have two offensive tackles that struggle in run blocking and excel (to a degree) in finesse pass blocking. Hamilton and Wiegmann are both average at best for run blocking. Kuper/Holland are probably our only legit run blocking linemen, Nalen as well *if* he can return. Our O-line last season with Lepsis, Kuper, Myers, Holland, and Pears appears to be significantly better at run blocking then our current unit, though our current unit appears light years better at pass blocking.

              .........B) We have smaller RBs and little help on the horizen with an ancient Pittman and Injury prone Torain. Our best bet might be to use Hillis more as a power back. Contrary to common opinion and thought on this forum, Hillis is NOT a good physical blocker, he more of a finesse fullback like Kyle Johnson was. He's no Howard Griffith.

              .........C) We have stellar talent at WR and TE, and Selvin is an excellent receiving RB, and, Aldridge, if he makes the team, might be as well. And with Cutler appearing to be on the verge of stardom, I think we become the AFC version of the Eagles, with a 60/40 passing to run split.



              2) I think our Defense will be in the bottom 10 of the league, and will be the reason we finish 9-7 and just miss the playoffs.

              .........A) While our DT situation has improved, one injury to Robertson or Thomas puts us right back as one of the worst DT rotations in the NFL. This appears to be fact, not just opinion.

              .........B) Our DEs are all just average, except Dumervil in the role of a pass rush specialist. Ekuban might not make the team, and even if he does, returning from a ruptured achilles takes two years for a young guy, who knows how long for an older vet. He won't be effective. Moss is limited to a pass rush specialist role or an OLB in the 3-4, which is where he'll probably end up when we trade him in the future. Crowder should be able to overtake Engleberger at some point this year, but he'll still be around average. Dumervil is below average in the run game. Once again, this appears to be fact, not just opinion.

              .........C) This is opinion only, but I think our LB corps is completely out of position. DJ prefers to play MIKE, I believe that is his best position as well. I don't like either Webster or Koutivides as a starter. Boss Bailey can't handle banging with Tight Ends at SAM, he's injury prone, I'd try him at WILL and see if he can hold up better. I'd play Winborn at SAM, but only because we have nobody better. I think our LB corps is borderline bad, and certainly below average - average at best.

              .........D) While our CB depth is a team strength, our Safety position is laughable. McCree is probably a small upgrade over Lynch, but he's a backup on most NFL teams. Manuel is just a journeyman, and Abdullah can't beat him out, which is very telling. Our best hope at Safety is Josh Barrett whom likely won't contribute much until next year. This is just my opinion, but it has to be borderline fact.



              Summary:

              Our defense is much worse then we want to believe. Our D-line will be stonewalled by any decent O-line. Our run defense up the middle should improve, but one injury to either of our starting DTs destroys us. All of our LBs overpursue like crazy and none are great edge blitzers. Bailey is decent in coverage, DJ is ok in zone, but struggles with man. None of our 4 safeties would start on most NFL teams, unless they are rebuilding. Infact, all but McCree might not even make the roster of most playoff calibur teams. Our top 10 offense will be offset by our bottom 10 defense. Our kicking game is questionable, that will likely cost us 1-2 games this year.

              Woulda...Coulda...Shoulda.... drafting ballhawk FS Reggie Nelson instead of the NFL's skinniest DE Jarvis Moss, plus the draft pick we gave up to move up, would have our team in much better shape to contend on defense. I think it is just wishful thinking to believe we are an elite team until we get a ballhawking Free Safety (assuming McCree holds up at Strong Safety and is resigned), we acquire more depth at DT (that injury to Powell really hurts, and Robertson is a massive questionmark), and we upgrade our LB and DE play. I still think we are a defensive coordinator, another solid defensive draft, and an elite defensive Free Agent (DE, S, LB) away from seriously contending.

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              • #8
                Good post

                If Cutler becomes a top 5 QB this year there is no doubt we will make the playoffs even if our defense isnt to good. We still have Champ and Bly back there and Peyton Manning never had those type of corners. We should be pretty good on offense as long as we can correct all those drive killing penalties.
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cutler7624 View Post
                  Good post

                  If Cutler becomes a top 5 QB this year there is no doubt we will make the playoffs even if our defense isnt to good. We still have Champ and Bly back there and Peyton Manning never had those type of corners. We should be pretty good on offense as long as we can correct all those drive killing penalties.
                  Just ask Benals fans how having a top 5 QB and a bad defense is helping their playoff chances...

                  For me the theoretical upper limit of our success this season would be 11-5. That is if everything goes right. However I see us as 9-7 or 8-8 when it's all said and done. But boy do I hope I'm wrong about that.
                  sigpicthanks Freyaka

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                  • #10
                    Everything in this thread was perfectly stated. I'd give cp if I didn't have to spread more around.


                    My adopted Bronco is Chris Kuper. Huzzah!

                    I am the raid leader for this World of Warcraft guild. Yay us!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Broncos724 View Post
                      Just ask Benals fans how having a top 5 QB and a bad defense is helping their playoff chances...

                      For me the theoretical upper limit of our success this season would be 11-5. That is if everything goes right. However I see us as 9-7 or 8-8 when it's all said and done. But boy do I hope I'm wrong about that.
                      The Bengals also didn't have the running game we have. Palmer was also coming off of an ACL Tear last year. If Cutler can be on Carson Palmer's level we should be in the playoffs. We can pass the ball with the best of them and run the ball with the best of them. And actually I like our defense better than their defense. Champ, Bly, DJ, DOOM are better then whoever they have at the same positions.

                      And the Bengals locker room was filled with cancers.
                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        if the broncos defense is going to be bad(and im not saying it will) this year and we still want to make the playoffs, then they MUST get turnovers and make plays. if we dont have a good positive turn over ratio then our potent offense wont be enough.

                        turnovers by the defense will get the ball into the offense hands and keep points off the board for the other team.

                        if you look back at the 2003 chiefs their defense was so bad but they created a lot of turn overs. 37 to be exact, good for 4th best in the NFL.

                        when they couldnt get turn overs to help their offense they get streamrolled by portis and the broncos 45-27. and even lost to the bengals because their defense made zero plays.

                        anytime you win the turnover battle you usually win the games. look at the 2005 season. plummer didnt throw picks. we had the least offensive turnovers and 4th most defensive turnovers.

                        protecting the ball and getting the ball is the key for us this year in my opinion. plus of course we really need to improve our run defense and stop giving 40+ point games. and since Jay is starting to become a great QB i feel our chances are pretty good this season. to atleast make the playoffs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mat'hir Uth Gan View Post

                          Woulda...Coulda...Shoulda.... drafting ballhawk FS Reggie Nelson instead of the NFL's skinniest DE Jarvis Moss, plus the draft pick we gave up to move up, would have our team in much better shape to contend on defense. I think it is just wishful thinking to believe we are an elite team until we get a ballhawking Free Safety (assuming McCree holds up at Strong Safety and is resigned), we acquire more depth at DT (that injury to Powell really hurts, and Robertson is a massive questionmark), and we upgrade our LB and DE play. I still think we are a defensive coordinator, another solid defensive draft, and an elite defensive Free Agent (DE, S, LB) away from seriously contending.
                          I agree for the most part on your entire post, and respect your opinions very much. But I highly doubt the Jaguars would have let Nelson fall to 21 if they were unable to trade down... They wanted him, and they would have taken him at 19 otherwise, and I highly doubt they would have traded with us if we were going to take him instead (That'd be a very rude thing to do). So unless we were going to try to move up to 18 or higher to take a FS that people were letting hang around until 21... well you know. I imagine that the asking price for anything lower than 19 was too much, and with the current state of our D-line at the time, we needed all the bodies we could get. Moss' upside offered a lot to dream about.

                          Just saying.
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cutler7624 View Post
                            The Bengals also didn't have the running game we have. Palmer was also coming off of an ACL Tear last year. If Cutler can be on Carson Palmer's level we should be in the playoffs. We can pass the ball with the best of them and run the ball with the best of them. And actually I like our defense better than their defense. Champ, Bly, DJ, DOOM are better then whoever they have at the same positions.

                            And the Bengals locker room was filled with cancers.
                            Exactly my point. Having a top 5 QB does not guarantee you a playoff spot, like the guy I quoted seemed to suggest.

                            And just for the record, the Bengals did have a very consistent running game with Rudi Johnson before last year. It wasn't the centerpiece of their offense but it was reliable and consistent. Also, not a single person ever said Carson Palmer had troubles coming back from his ACL tear; he's played on it for 2 full seasons since surgery now. All along, it's been the defense that has let that team down.
                            sigpicthanks Freyaka

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                            • #15
                              I always respect your opinions MUG, but I think you're a little too pessimistic with regards to the defence (although I'll be the first to say that I'm a little over-optimistic at this point in every season). I don't think our DL will be *that* bad. A bit patchwork? Yes. But in the end I think our D will be a little better than the sum of its parts. Our DL is still precarious, especially with the DTs. But if they do stay healthy and if they are used properly by Slo then there's no reason why it can't be a serviceable unit. At end, we'll have to see a) how Ekuban is coping post-ACL tear and b) how much Moss and Crowder do progress. I don't really expect much out of those two this season - after all their progression won't have been helped by the chopping and changing of defensive schemes.

                              At safety, it's hard to see how things will turn out. McCree is 1/2 year rental at most, I agree and if Barrett doesn't come on quickly enough we could see S being drafted high next year. I'll be watching to see if Abdullah can take back his spot from Manuel. I wasn't particularly impressed with the signing of the latter but from what I've heard he may not actually be all that bad.

                              In the end, there's a lot which could go wrong. But if the guys can stay healthy and the young'uns make good strides, it's perfectly possible that we could sit pretty in the middle of the league for defence.
                              sigpic

                              Elvon Millervil eat grues for breakfast.

                              Pey-Pey to Bey-Bey for the Tey-Dey.

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