Five Reasons The Broncos Will Return To Dominance
The Denver Broncos open training camp on Thursday, and I do believe it's time to introduce you to the team, the changes, and my prediction for the upcoming season.
First, as many of you know, the Broncos finished 9-7 last year, out of the playoffs for the first time in five years. The reasons for this were many, including injuries, instability at the quarterback position, a weak offensive line, as well as the defense's inability to stop the run.
In order to improve and get back to where they are used to being the team needs to improve those areas, while strengthening others, and I believe they did. Here are five reasons the Broncos will return to dominance.
Offensive Line improvements
The Broncos knew in order to compete they needed to give their quarterback more time to throw and lanes for the backs to run, two things they failed at in 2016. Their first signing, Ron Leary, a huge part of the dominant line in Dallas. Now, he brings his mean streak and blocking excellence to Denver. In the draft, they picked up Garret Bolles from the University of Utah. This young man has overcome many obstacles to reach this point, and like Leary has a mean streak while playing that gives him an edge. Finally, they picked up Menelik Watson from the Raiders. Watson has tremendous upside if he can stay healthy. Add in the hip surgery for Matt Paradis, which he has recovered from and you have a line that can do what last years couldn't.
Defensive Line Improvements
Ask anyone who knows football and they will tell you if you can't stop the run, you don't have to worry about the pass. Last year, the Broncos defense could not stop the run. They ranked number one in pass defense, which fans come to expect, but to be fair, if you don't have to pass, why bother? Domata Peko, a stout defensive lineman, from the Bengals, gives the experience, size, and attitude at the position. At 6-foot 3-inches and 325 pounds, he can fill those holes that were evident last year, as well as the defensive lineman the team signed from the Colts, Zach Kerr. Additionally, some of the players injured last year, are back which gives the team depth. And the drafting of defensive end DeMarcus Walker make the edge that much harder to defend.
New Head Coach
For me, the writing was on the wall for Gary Kubiak and staff when an opposing coach said they always knew what the Broncos would run in certain situations because they knew Kubiak that well. Enter new head coach Vance Joseph. He brings a new attitude, a new staff and the promise of returning the Broncos to where they should be. At the top of the football world.
Fan favorite and defensive wiz Wade Phillips has taken his talents to the Rams, and is replaced by former secondary coach Joe Woods. Woods is known as the "air traffic controller" of the "no fly zone." His players respect him and he has the vision to become not only an excellent coordinator, but a possible head coach in the future. Mike McCoy returns to the team as offensive coordinator. Broncos fans may remember his as the architect of the offense that set an NFL record for yards and points scored.
Draftees and other free agents
The team picked up a number of high quality players in the 2017 NFL Draft, including speedsters Isaiah McKenzie and Carlos Henderson, who should bring excitement to the return game as well as the slot receiver position, and free agent running back Lorenzo Charles, who terrorized Broncos defenses now will terrorize others defenses.
In light of the changes made, and despite the fact that those "in the know" see this as a mediocre team at best, I believe this team, and the veteran leadership they have, will overcome obstacles and return to dominance. I see them finishing 11-5 and winning the West.
And now, in conclusion, poetry corner. With Jack Taylor.
Twas the day before training camp
And all through the state,
Broncos fans are ready, we just cannot wait
to see Raiders and Chiefs fans puff out their chest
Because they believe their team is the best in the West but to placate I nod and I smile,
'Cuz they haven't had much to say in awhile.
But fear not dear fans because now that it's time
To start up the season I'll drop one more rhyme.
Sit back and watch as the season unfolds,
Your Broncos will win another Super Bowl.