Let me start by saying that this seasons injuries are of course an issue and that the loss of Elvis being the most devastating but lets take some time to note that if the injury bug stops now, we should have everyone else back at full speed by the start of the season with the exception of Ryan Clady who may take a week or two more.
Yes, missing training camp might add a couple more weeks to have everyone "gel" fully but in what we have done this offseason, lets look at the various parts of the team.
We have a new OLine for the most part but the Clady/Harris duo should remain strong with the main variables being the rookies claiming their places on the line and the speed and manner in which they do it. This is the biggest concern for the broncos season without a doubt.
We will have our running backs back from last year with the addition of LenDale White who should add extra punch for the short yardage issues we had but once again, if the OLine can be average or better, we should be better this year.
Mr. Marshall moved on to South Beach and regardless of any negativity directed towards him, he was a very capable WR and he was the type of player that forced opponents to game plan for. Losing him is a loss of magnitude. Realistically, we cannot expect Thomas to match his production and it is foolish to even depend upon rookie WRs; Randy Moss type rookie years are rarer than rare. However, Eddie Royal is having a reassuringly quiet but productive camp and I sense Eddie will have a year of tons of unspectacular 6-12 yard catches that add up to longer, sustained drives. He may not make sportscenter highlights much but will make 1st downs a lot. Gaffney will be productive but he will never require double teams and 1,000 yards would not be expected from him.
Orton is a year wiser in the system but there are still concerns about his ability to throw the deeper ball. We could do worse than having Ortons production from last year +20% due to his extra experience and comfort in the system.
Will the line be robust enough to keep the pass rushers away?
Perrish Cox plus the added attention to the special teams that McD always seems to put effort into should improve us here. Hopefully Eddie Royal is relieved of his duties here.
This was our achilles heel last year as it was our most glaring low stat area. This has to be better with the addition of a fully upgraded DLine. It cannot be near as bad as last year and should be expected to be the area of most improvement. Camp reports of Bannan being a monster are heartwarming along with the reports of our new nose tackle being all he is reported to be gives us a good sense of optimism in this area.
Oh how sweet it would have been to have Elvis behind this newly upgraded Dline for him to chase poor opponent QBs but it was not to be. Having said that, our Dline is, once again, substantially upgraded and should make up somewhat for the loss of Elvis. Sacks are overrated in that the real stat of interest is QB hurries and I see little drop in production in this area. We will require Moss and Ayers to improve and we can expect that, the question is to what degree.
Our excellent secondary remains intact although a year older.
I think our season depends on the young interior OLine to be honest more than anything else. Last year, if we sustained more drives, we are in the playoffs. If we can get an improved running game with a maintained passing game, we are good. We had excellent pass defense last year so it should be expected it will get better with a surely better run defense.
I didn't mention Tebow so far. Tebow will be in for select gimmick plays and will not affect the overall bread and butter work of moving the ball up and down the field and stopping the other team from doing the same so Mr. Tebow will hopefully deserve the press he is getting this year by producing next year.