The NFL Previews continue on with another AFC West powerhouse; the Denver Broncos
Whenever you think of the Denver Broncos, you immediately think of defense and a punishing defense for that matter. The Broncos get to the quarterback consistently and throwing against their secondary is a very tough task. The defense is led by several pro-bowlers such as Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr. Aqib Talib and TJ Ward to name a few. Denver lost DeMarcus Ware to retirement, but I believe Shane Ray, who has spent the earlier part of his career learning behind Ware, will have a huge season. Offensively, Denver has a plethora of running back talent. CJ Anderson is arguably one of the better backs in the league, although he did suffer a season ending injury last year which really plagued Denver’s offense as a whole. Anderson is expected back fully healthy entering 2017 and the team added veteran Jamaal Charles in free agency. Like Anderson, Charles dealt with a season ending injury but that was in 2015 when he tore his ACL. Charles missed all of last season and appears ready to make a return. How much of the old Jamaal Charles will shine remains to be seen, but if he’s healthy he should be able to contribute.
I’m not the biggest fan of Trevor Siemian. In 14 games a year ago, Siemian logged 18TDs, 10INTS for 3,401 yards and a 59.5% completion percentage. They’re okay numbers but nothing that would strike fear in an opposing defense. Siemian plays a much more conservative style of quarterback compared to others who sling it around more. This season will be really interesting seeing as the Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch in 2016 to be the “heir” but then in this year’s draft, they drafted Chad Kelly. Kelly has the tools to be a very successful quarterback in the league as does Lynch. Keep an eye on that situation, it could get really intriguing. Another issue Denver has is their offensive line. It was lousy a year ago, although they did make some additions this offseason. They signed guard Ron Leary formally of the Cowboys and drafted Garrett Bolles to take over at left tackle. Two signings really help, but it doesn’t completely negate the issues Denver has on the line. Whomever is playing quarterback for Denver, will need protection and last year’s footage was bad.
Players To Look Out For:
Like I mentioned before, Shane Ray is a guy to keep an eye on. For the last three years, he has studied under one of the best pass rushers of all time in DeMarcus Ware. It also helps that he’ll play opposite Von Miller who commands constant attention from offensive lines. Another guy I’m interested in with Denver is tight end Jake Butt. He’s a rookie from Michigan and has all the tools you want in a productive tight end (the last name is just a cherry on top) he suffered a torn ACL right around the combine so he’ll probably start the year on the PUP list (physically unable to perform) If he can come back healthy, he’ll add a big, multi-dimensional target to the Broncos passing attack.
With their defense, Denver will always be in the conversation to be a playoff team. This is one of those teams that does not need to score a lot of points, because they’ll shut your offense down. The con to that, however, is if the defense has an off game, the offense isn’t really anything exciting. With the running backs they have, however, they should be able to run the ball a ton this upcoming season, something they did very well in 2015 when they made the Super Bowl and won. If Siemian can make a jump in year two, or if Lynch/Kelly steal the show, this is a playoff team no doubt.
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