Don't count your chickens.

When I was a child, I had this nasty habit of planning on things to happen before they actually did. When I was 15 years old, I got my first job at a restaurant serving food and cleaning tables. I worked only on Friday through Saturday, for about 5 hours a night. I made $5.25 an hour. It was my first job, and when payday rolled around, I felt like a "baller" so to speak. My checks were only about 125 to 150 bucks for two weeks worth of work, but I was ecstatic that I could buy my own crap. So excited, in fact, that I started window shopping and planning on spending my money before I'd even earned it yet. As any wise person would tell you, it's not wise to count your chickens before they hatch. You don't know what the future holds, and never buy something you can't afford. After the jump, I'm going to try and explain what we, as Broncos fans, should be excited about, but don't count your chickens before they hatch. Please, follow me!

Alright, first thing's first, if you know me, you know I'm an optimist. I try to find the good in everything. My glass isn't half full, it's two-thirds full and filled with the sweetest stuff there is. That's how I roll. This post may seem a little bit negative in a way, but it's not. I'm trying to approach the 2010 season as level headed as possible, while still remaining hopeful. Call it growing pains, but I don't want to feel let down again, considering our start last year vs. the finish. This is just a list of points that I am extremely hopeful for, especially after seeing 2 preseason games so far. There's some questions in there too, kind of rhetorical, but please answer them if you find it necessary!

1. Is "Kyle Orton to Jabar Gaffney" the new "Tom Brady to Randy Moss?"

This one's hard for me to say, but my early analysis is "yes." All weaknesses considered, TB+RM has been keeping Patriots fans coming back for more and more. I live in New England, I work with Patriots fans. They love seeing Wes Welker do what he does, but they see him almost like a Robin figure in a story of two Batmen. Kyle Orton and Jabar Gaffney are developing a chemistry that could make Orton's dependency on Brandon Marshall look like child's play. I feel like Gaffney is more than Orton's "first choice" on the field. That's what Marshall was last year. I think Orton sees Gaff out there, even in double coverage, and knows that if he throws to him, he'll get the ball 90% of the time. That's special and I look for both of them to have monster years for it. A new deal for Gaff could be coming up in 2011, and it'll be much deserved.

2. Who needs one solid slot receiver when you can have two?

There, I said it. I think Josh McDaniels is going to work something new into his repertoire this year. I think we could see a lot of formations that involve two slot receivers and one wideout as opposed to two wideouts and one slot. It's not a new formation, but Denver finally has the personnel for it. Last night we saw the first bit of Eric Decker, and I am loving what I see. He is wearing 87 with pride and giving that number the justice it deserves.

3. Jarvis Moss and Robert Ayers will help alleviate the stress of not having Dumervil out there.

I'm not one to just forget 3 years of poor play because one good game, but Jarvis Moss was playing like a man on a mission last night. Add that to the fact that everyone has been raving about him this offseason and I love what I'm seeing from him. His potential has always been sky high. If he and Ayers can keep up that smash mouth mentality, losing Dumervil may not be that difficult to deal with. Now imagine for a second that Moss plays like the animal he can be. What if he goes to the Pro Bowl this year? I think that makes Denver a nice bit of offseason trade bait, I'd reckon.

4. Alphonso Smith is not a bust. Not yet anyways.

There's way too much talk in the Denver media (and a lot on MHR) about Alphonso Smith being a bust. A year and a half into his career, and people are saying he can't ever live up to expectations. People say it's because of where he was drafted. They say it's because of what Denver gave up to get him. A big part of me believes people are still using McD's first draft against him. They saw a trade that they wouldn't have made, and automatically assume that he's a fool for it. I am not in that mindset. I think Smith offers terrific skills to this football team. He hasn't had the warmest of welcomes to Denver, but it's not as if he chose to be drafted with a traded first round pick. Stop blaming him for what his superiors did to draft him. He was high up on a lot of peoples draft boards, from what I understand, and if Denver didn't take him when they did, I believe he would have been taken within 10 picks anyways. We'll never know, because teams never share their draft boards and the boards change on draft day anyways, but to label this guy a bust already is absurd. Will he replace Champ? No, I don't think so. I think Perrish Cox was drafted to do that. I think Phonz will eventually replace Goody at the number 2 spot. If he earns the number 1 corner job in a couple years, then that's great. I played corner in high school, and what I was told by my coaches is that you always want your number 1 corner to be the most solid all around, and you want the number 2 to be the ballhawk who takes more risks. Safeties cover the number 2 more than the number 1 for that reason. Then again, it was high school, and not the pros. Nonetheless, that's what I feel Phonz is destined for with this team. His college career reflects that as well.

5. Marquez Branson is going to be a stud.

This guy has gone so far under the radar, you might as well call him the B2 Stealth Bomber. Last night was a great example of why McX got him in the first place. He's got blocking skills (not as good as Graham, but still good) and he knows how to makes plays (better than Scheffler, in my opinion). He offers a solid combination of the two things you need a tight end to do. A good all around tight end is something Denver hasn't had since Shannon Sharpe, in my opinion. I hope Branson can keep doing what he's doing because it's working. I want to see more of what Richard Quinn can do, but that's another argument.

6. Lance Ball and Justin Fargas, meet the Denver Broncos fans -- Broncos fans, meet your insurance policy.

The running game (or lack thereof) has been alarming to me thus far. I think it's a combination of 1) McD trying to fine tune the passing game early and 2) Not using your last set of good running legs in the preseason, for injury purposes. My honest opinion on the matter is that Lendale White could very well go the way of the dodo by week 1, especially considering that he's already injured, and that's giving the coaches a good look at Ball and Fargas. I think those two will take up the other two spots in the run game. If the team carries five, then maybe White makes the team. As of right now, I'd be totally content with Moreno, Buck, Ball and Fargas being the horses in the stable for the season, so to speak. They offer depth at a position that seems to be Denver's weakness in recent years. I love that security especially since Buck has a history of injury and Moreno might just be the same way.

7. No pressure? No problem.

Preseason is for one thing and one thing only: evaluation. I'm no professional coach, but I'm willing to bet that the coaching staff has seen enough from the defensive blitz packages to be perfectly happy hiding them till the season starts. All reports from camp point to Wink staying true to his mantra: Attack and attack some more. I'm assuming that they have the attack part of the defense pretty covered, now it's just a matter of getting the defense to fine tune the coverage parts of their game as well. We've seen almost every defensive play play out like this: Rush 3 + 1 LB, send 3 LB's into coverage. Judging on last years mistakes, this team needs to be better in short to medium coverage, especially in the middle of the field. I think they are working hard on making those mistakes NOW so they can be learned from NOW, not in week 6 or 7 when you need to have that stuff mastered already. Our defense on week 1 should be drastically different than the defense now. I'm no pro coach, but that's what I would do if I were.

8. Brady Quinn makes a lot of mistakes, but he's better for it every day.

Last week, BQ looked like a domesticated fish dropped back into the ocean. This week, he looked a lot the same, but he seemed like he had his sea legs a bit more than he did last week. BQ is going to screw up. That's something we should all recognize, understand and accept right now. He's not going to be a seamless replacement to Orton if Orton goes down. He's simply not, because if he were that solid, there would be much more competition in camp. Yes, KO has more experience in this specific system, but that does not make Quinn worthless. If Quinn does have to step in to a live bullet game, I'd rather he not get jittery because he didn't have a chance to learn in the preseason. He's gonna make mistakes. I want him to make them now, and save everyone the potential headache if he does have to start a game or two.

9. Perrish Cox is the bona fide return man for the Broncos. If he's not, he should be.

Sometimes, you see something special and you just know. There are times where you see a really awesome play from one guy, and you just KNOW he's going to do good things. Last night, I saw that with Cox returning kicks. He was simply the fastest guy on the field when fielding kicks. Watching the game, Reggie Rivers showed how Cox can just cut the defenders angles out before they have a chance to adjust, all with his speed alone. Cox has a natural eye for that stuff, and I can't wait to see what he does this year for our team. He could very easily set the offense up on a short field the majority of the time. Last night he turned a 10-15 yard return into a 65 yard return, it was very Darren Sproles-esque to me. I would say Cribbs, but Cribbs does what Devin Hester does, he jukes and makes grown men look like fools. Sproles and Cox just blaze through the coverage and make you taste dust when they fly by you. This guy is special and for the price, I'm hard pressed to say he's a lock to make the team on ST talents alone.

10. Kyle Orton is the most important player on the Broncos roster. No doubt about it. He is the "franchise", whatever that means.

This one's pretty bold, but hear me out. Seeing what we've seen the past two weeks, I have no doubt in my mind that Kyle Orton is the one reason why the Broncos will contend THIS YEAR. He's got the rep with his receivers and he knows what he's doing out there. HE MOVES AROUND IN THE POCKET!!! That's a necessity considering the O line woes. He's mobile, but not like Tim Tebow. He's confident in the pocket even when it's collapsing. I can't say it enough, Kyle Orton will be the single biggest reason why the Broncos will shock teams. Combine his newfound skills with the schedule (which is pretty weak, if you haven't looked) and this team could very well be looking at 10-12 wins, no problem. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, but I am absolutely in awe with what Orton's done so far. Apparently, so is the coaching staff because he's here for another 2 years at least. Orton, you're my guy, no if's, and's or but's about it. Updated projected stat line: 31 TD's, 8 INT's, 4,400 YDS. MVP contention, but it'll probably be Manning, again.

So that's it. Take it and grind it up and spit it out if you want. Or, have a taste and tell me if you're feeling as good about this team as I am. 2010 could be really special, but again, don't count your chickens before they hatch.

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