As the regular season approaches I have several things I will be watching closely on both sides of the ball. I can't remember a season where I had so many questions and still believe that the Broncos are headed in the right direction and will make the playoffs as a wild-card. I do not think that they are ready to unseat the Chargers for the division crown, but there is nothing that I would like better. Additionally, I am a team first guy, and perhaps that is why I completely am drinking the McDaniel's kool-aid. I think for years we have been way undersized, and we addressed that in the off season. I also believe that teams win; even though, ESPN would have us think that superstars drive the sports world. I know teams need play-makers, but hi-light real plays are made just as much by all the little fundamental things teammates are doing I will start with defensive questions after the jump.
Number 1: can we stop the run???? So far in the pre-season the answer has been NO!! This hast to change for my playoff prediction to come to fruition I believe we will stop the run for three reasons. First we will run blitz more than we have which has been almost not at all; second we have our line-backers almost healthy and in the place they will play during the year. finally Bannan and Williams will play regular season games with much more intensity. While it was terrible last year I believe that our run defense this year will be a strength, but Jacksonville and MJD will tell us a great deal Go big fellas attack the line of scrimmage and kick some#@$!
Number2: Can our line-backers cover the short range passing game??? It is my belief that this is one of the biggest keys to our Defense. Our corners and safties are as strong a group as there is in the league. We now have beef up front and depth up front but we really don't have a name line-backer DJ is the closest with Doom down for the season. I am glad they did't save a roster spot for him let him get 100% healthy PLEASE!! So far this year we have had terrible underneath coverage and the flats have given up some big gains Short passes must be three and four yard gains not 5-7+ yard gains We have got to be right there to make the tackle when the ball gets there good QB's will take what you give them and right now it is like taking candy from the Broncos this must change and is why we are not ready to take the AFC West title from the Chargers.
Number 3: Will we have a pass rush???? I am not sure about this but I also know that this is where team must come in. We don't have a dominate pass-rusher with Doom out so how will we make-up his 17 sacks. We most likely won't but as a whole I think our pass rush could be better as a team than last year. It will start with the 3 down lineman McBean, Williams, and Bannan who must get some inside push!!!! We had none of that last year. several of Doom's sacks came because QB's held the ball forever because there was no middle push. Next we need Ayers and Moss/Hunter/ who knows to have solid 5 to 6 sacks each. I think we are built to do this but if we can't 10-6 could quickly become 6-10.
What I don't need to question is our "D" backs even nickel and dime packages Phonze's being cut tells. you how much better we are there.
Now to the offense which is going to take a huge step this year. I believe the Broncos will be in the top 12 in the league in scoring offense this year but to do it they must do a few things much better than last year.
Number 1: Can we convert on short yardage???? We were awful at this last year. and may be early in the season this year until we get our offensive line all in place. We lost so much time of possession last year due to the inability to convert 3rd and less than 2. The reasons I think this will be better is first a bigger line, second year two in McD's running system and third the opposing defense's fear of multiple threats. Last year in short yardage teams doubled B-Marsh and stacked the line a balanced passing game makes it easier to run even in short yardage situations
Number 2: can we score touchdowns instead of FG's????????? Kyle Orton is the key here let us hope the first two games are an omen of things to come; and even a little Tebow mania around the goal line will help Here is to Prater kicking fewer FG's and more extra points
Number 3: Can the Rookies contribute???? For the Broncos to go 10-6 they must get big boost from guys with bad haircuts. JD Walton is the most important because he will probably be the only rookie starter I watched him a great deal in the big 12 he will be fine if he dosen't wear down due to the longer season, Beadles will most likely be a back-up at three positions and play quite a bit he is perfect for that role Academic all american, Perish Cox needs to make a couple huge return plays and keep eddie healthy Cox will also play in the Dime for sure and perhaps the nickel an any event he will have a big role. Decker and Thomas they will be the 4th and 5th recievers they need to be productive. Finally Tebow I hope he gets named the number 2 QB because while he is not ready he has the "it" factor and just finds ways to make plays Quinn doesn't have that.
So those are my questions, but overall I think we are a deeper bigger team with a much improved QB GO Broncos!!!This Old Man is counting on you.