FanPost

Better or Worse in 2010? Chibronx brings the Nerdy Tables. You Bring the Debate

My goal in this post is to provide clear-cut grounds for debating the team's status heading into 2010. I'm offering a simple table that lists each position, then categorizes whether the starters or back-ups this year are liketly to be better or worse than last year.

Lots of you have done season previews. And I like almost all of them. My problem is with the rating systems. We all know the Broncos better than we know other teams. So when we grade a unit as a "5" or a "7," I'm not sure what it means. If we were to grade all 32 teams, the average unit at every position should get a rating of "5." This is exceedingly unlikely to happen.

So let's focus on what we do know. We know the Broncos, and we know how good the players were last year. I've tallied each position, taking into account injuries, age, upside/downside, and decided simply if the position is better or worse. I think this provides a more solid reading of where the team is.

Here's the jump. The punchline is that I think the quality of the starters will be on balance unchanged. But if you look away from the OL, depth is massively improved.

Here's my take, with notes to jump-start your argument. If you see a plus, I'm saying the team's improved. 'NC' means no change. A minus means the Broncos are worse off.

Better or Worse? The 2010 Broncos by Position

2008

2009

Starters

Depth

Comments

Ryan Clady

Ryan Clady

-

+

Clady will be at diminished health. Beadles swinging over to OT cannot be worse than Polumbus. He just can't.

Ben Hamilton

Zane Beadles

+

+

Beadles is a rookie and will have problems. But Hamilton was alternately overmatched/disinterested last year. Hochstein tried, but wasn't very good.

Casey Wiegmann

J.D. Walton

+

NC

As Ted Bartlett put it, Wiegmann spent most of the year "going backwards on roller skates." Walton will have his gaffes, but won't get pushed around. No difference between last year once you get to the back-ups.

Chris Kuper

Chris Kuper

NC

NC

Kuper's health is iffy, but it was last year, too. I don't see a change.

Ryan Harris

Ryan Harris

NC

NC

Harris missed half the season last year. He's injured already this year. At this point in his career, 8 health games is the only reasonable expectation

Dan Graham

Dan Graham

-

NC

Graham is on the wrong side of 30, and Scheffler's pass-catching skills will be missed. I hope for big things from Richard Quinn, but won't bank on them.

Knowshon Moreno

Knowshon Moreno

NC

-

In January, Knowshon was a sure bet to improve. But missed time in TC, plus more injuries make that an unlikely proposition. Buck is older and less trustworthy. The position is downgraded simply due to health.

Kyle Orton

Kyle Orton

+

+

It's just one 'plus' on the chart, but it's a big one. Orton looks much better than last year. We can debate Tebow and Quinn until we're blue in the face, but they can't be worse than Chris Simms. They just can't.

Brandon Marshall

Jabar Gaffney

-

+

I don't really think Gaff is a drop-off from the over-rated Marshall. He'll pull in more big plays, stretch the field a bit more, and drop fewer balls. But this is a 'conservative' analysis, so I'm giving the haters the benefit of a doubt.

Eddie Royal

Brandon Lloyd

NC

+

I wish Bay-Bay was healthy enough to be the starter. Royal was not himself last year. It doesn't matter who starts -- all of the WRs look better.

Brandon Stokely

Eddie Royal

+

+

I think Eddie will do better in the slot. And Decker will do nicely in the role if it's asked of him.

Kenny Peterson

Justin Bannon

+

NC

The critics mis-understand how big an upgrade this is. Kenny Peterson is out of football and not a good player. Bannon is above average. It's a huge upgrade, although LKS is still LKS.

Ron Fields

Jamal Williams

+

+

Big upgrade. Better starter, better back-up.

Ryan McBean

Ryan McBean

+

+

McBean appears to have improved, and Marcus Thomas looked like more of a force in the pre-season. Not a huge upgrade at this position, but it's an upgrade.

Elvis Dumervil

Robert Ayers

-

-

For what it's worth, I think the fall-off here will be less than expected. Doom's run defense was a problem, but I liked Ayers'. The team will have to be more creative on Third Down. I think the loss of Reid is an issue -- the guy could bring pass rush.

D.J. Williams

D.J. Williams

+

+

I'm counting on D.J. to do better, now that he's finally playing the same position two years in a row. I like Joe Mays behind him.

Andra Davis

Mario Haggan

+

NC

If this is where Haggan plays, I trust him more than Davis

Mario Haggan

Jarvis Moss

-

+

It's not reasonable to expect more of Moss than  Haggan gave last year. But I see Hunter (who can put his hand on the ground on Third Down -- my personal take on why Jarvis Green got the heave-ho) and Moss as a deeper team.

Andre Goodman

Andre Goodman

-

+

Good player, wrong side of 30. But I like Cox or Jones or Squid or whoever you want to put behind him.

Champ Bailey

Champ Bailey

-

+

Still the champ, still unable to reverse ageing. You have to expect him to be a bit worse. And you have to like his back-ups to improve.

Renaldo Hill

Renaldo Hill

-

+

Our secondary has a one-note theme song. Aging starters, improving back-ups.

Brian Dawkins

Brian Dawkins

-

+

This one will hurt. Dawkins was amazing at age 36 last year. This year, you have to anticipate not just regression, but sizeable regression.

A few comments. This table shows zero net improvement to starting units, but depth improvement at 13 positions. And obviously, not all improvements/drop-offs are equal. If Kyle Orton steps it up big, the net impact on the team is huge. If we can't find a way to generate pass rush on 3rd down, Ayers' solid play against the run doesn't matter. I'll go on record as pointing out that there is big improvement at QB and the D-Line, at least according to my eyes. That's worth a lot, especially if the OTs miraculously stay healthy.

Special Teams:

Lots to feel good about here. I see a high probability of improvement, and very little downside.

Special Teams

Better/Worse

Comments

Punter

+

We all remember Mitch Berger.

Kicker

NC

Prater was good last year; we can't expect him to improve

Return Teams

+

I always thought Eddie was over-rated on returns. I like the multiple options this year, but am unsure how many will be active on game day

Coverage Teams

+

Improved, if only for Joe Mays

 

The Bottom Line:

I would put the over/under at 9 wins. There are too many injuries and there is too much weakness at the OL for something great to happen. But the depth is massively improved. So says me.

But enough about what I think. Who else wants to weigh in? Again, no disrespect to the people who've done write-ups like this. I just think it's easier to debate a better/worse analysis than numerical grades.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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