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A few years removed from their victory in Super Bowl 50, the Denver Broncos are playing at a level that is a far cry from the success to which they have become accustomed. Now with one complete season under his belt, Vance Joseph is looking forward to his second year on the sidelines for the Broncos to clean up several aspects of the game for his team. Chief among their issues is their play at quarterback.
While Peyton Manning was at the helm for the last Super Bowl win, the Broncos have moved on since his retirement. However, they have lacked consistency at the QB position. Manning’s heir apparent, Brock Osweiler, was shipped out as the Broncos chose to go with rookie Trevor Siemian under center. After struggling through this season, he was replaced by another high draft pick in Paxton Lynch. Lynch started one game for Denver before an injury forced Siemian back onto the field. Osweiler, meanwhile, pinballed around the league only to end up back in Denver as the third string quarterback. When Lynch and Siemian were both out with injuries, Osweiler started for the Broncos. Needless to say, the QB position was a total mess in 2017 and the end result was a miserable 5-11 finish to the year.
General Manager John Elway has set a high priority for restructuring this aspect of the depth chart. Fans eagerly anticipate a solution to this quarterback carousel. That solution may have been found in the signing of Case Keenum, the quarterback from Minnesota who emerged last year to lead his team on quite a run. While the starting QB spot may not be fully cemented at the moment, there is no question that the Broncos have solidified the offensive line with the moves they have made in free agency. Bringing in OT Menelik Watson from the Raiders and G Ronald Leary from the Cowboys, Denver wanted to make sure that, no matter who is under center this season, they will have plenty of time in the pocket to make the right decision. Drafting OT Garrett Bolles in the first round out of Utah last season turned out to be a great move, as he became a starter for this team. Broncos fans surely feel that, when looking at the receiving corps, you can’t make a wrong decision. Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are a quarterback’s dream as they stretch the field and make the big plays in coverage.
The defensive side of the ball has experienced some regression following the Super Bowl win as they lost several key starters in free agency. The Broncos defensive leader, linebacker and Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller dedicated himself to the idea of keeping the defense playing as dominantly as they have in the past few seasons. The result was a resurgence that saw the Broncos climb the defensive ranks to give up the third fewest yards in the league. Field position, however, was a problem for this team as they were 22nd in the points allowed. Aqib Talib, the force to be reckoned with in the Denver secondary, has been traded to the Los Angeles Rams. Undoubtedly a major loss, the Broncos will regroup and remain a threat to opposing quarterbacks in the passing game. The organization decided to address the defensive struggles via the draft by selecting Bradley Chubb out of North Carolina State. A powerful defensive end that can get to the quarterback in a hurry, Chubb will line up opposite Von Miller to give the opposition more than they can handle at the line.
John Elway wears a suit and sits in the luxury suites these days for Broncos games, but for 16 years he was the leader of this team on the field, taking snaps under center in his retired number 7. Leading the team to back to back Super Bowl victories following the 1997 and 1998 seasons, Elway is a legend not only in the Denver area, but in football history as he is enshrined in Canton as a Hall of Famer.
Other notable players to have worn the Broncos orange include shutdown cornerback Champ Bailey, explosive wide receiver Rod Smith, prolific tight end Shannon Sharpe, and elite running back Terrell Davis. For more information about the Denver Broncos click here.