Today marks the start of the off season for the Broncos, and along with the draft, free agency, and camps/workouts, there seems (to me at least) to be a fairly big question looming: in what direction does the Broncos' offense go?
There are two clear options here. They can either commit to the spread option, and begin building a team meant for it. Or they can fall back to the "normal" NFL offense, and see what Tebow can do with a full off season of learning that type of system. Let's cover both:
If the front office and coaching staff chooses to stick with the spread option, not only can it work, but they are already around halfway to having a team worthy enough to use it to compete. Tebow is already ingrained into the offense, and would more of less only need to focus on his confidence in his arm, his mechanics, and choosing when to run vs. when to pass. Of course, this would mean that Quinn and Weber may no longer be the backup QB's, and the team would have to either find a QB or two that could run this offense in free agency, or draft one that is capable of it as well. They would be able to look at guys like (gulp) Vince Young or Pat White, or could draft someone like Russell Wilson from Wisconsin or Darron Thomas from Oregon (I am assuming here that Robert Griffin III will already be off the board). There is no sense in having a pro-style backup QB behind a spread option starter. Also, as far as this offense is concerned, the team would be fairly set at RB, with Willis McGahee more than likely having one or two good years left in him, backed up by Knowshon, Lance Ball, and Jeremiah Johnson. The wide receiver position also would need very little work, only needing to find a few more guys in case some combination of Royal/Decker/Thomas gets hurt. The offensive line was good, albeit young, and could benefit from a bit of depth, most likely by free agency or a late round draft pick. The OL all but disappeared in the Patriots game, but losing the top two centers on the depth chart to injury certainly helped that along. The defensive side of the ball needs the most work. The line was mostly patchwork with veterans and current Broncos, the safety position was both aging and brand new, and the backfield is more or less in shambles. Champ Bailey is well past his prime, and he isn't getting any younger. The team definitely needs more consistent pass defense to stay competitive. The line could use some young blood from the draft. Safety is a bit of a different story, as Quinton Carter is a very promising young player, but we will need some reliable help to provide some insurance, and Dawkins is getting a bit on the older side. Linebacker is where the strength of the defense is right now without question. Dumervil and MIller are quickly becoming one of the leagues best pass rushing tandems, and Ayers/Mays can provide good MLB help. Drafting here would not be a bad idea, perhaps looking at someone like Vontaze Burfict out of Arizona State, Sean Spence out of Miami, or Luke Keuchly from Boston College. All told, sticking with the option is a great choice here, but it would require that everyone involved be on board 100%.
The other option is a bit more tricky. If the team decides to try and return to a more traditional offense, it throws numerous wrenches into the machine. First off, you would be taking everything Tebow has done this season as the starter and throwing it out the window. He would have the full off season to try and learn a pro-style offense, but it would be basically starting from scratch. It would be easier to find more reliable and serviceable backups in this case, but that would be hedging your bets on Tebow being able to produce in this style of offense. As far as the personnel is concerned, the offensive line would need a bit of tweaking, as they were more geared towards run blocking instead of pass protection. The wide receivers would need more work as well, as you would need more of a down field threat to complement Thomas. On the defensive side, the same issues are there. The backfield needs a lot of work, the D-line does as well. To me, this option would require way more than one off season to conform to, so you would be more or less taking a fairly productive playoff season and going back to the drawing board. This choice would be better suited had the spread option not worked as well as it did.
If I had my choice as a fan, I would say stick to what worked. Stick to what got you to the playoffs after starting 1-5. Stick to what led you to being the top rushing offense in the league. Build your defense, and put players around Tebow so that he will succeed. What do you guys think?