On Tuesday Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro on The Afternoon Drive discussed the question of leadership in the Broncos locker room. Is there a void of leadership with the departure of Peyton Manning, or are the Broncos still in solid shape in this area?
Overall, Goodman and Shapiro believe that even with the loss of players like Peyton Manning and David Bruton the Broncos are in good shape leadership wise. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Even though teams usually look to their quarterback as their leader, the Broncos are now a defensive team. DeMarcus Ware, a player who arguably saved Von Miller's career, is one example of a proven leader in the locker room that can help this team through a transitional season. His leadership role on the team is an asset I don't think can be underestimated.
Miller himself can also be looked at as a leader, as long as he steers clear of any of his previous problems. Miller looked for awhile like he was on a path to a yearlong suspension, but instead he's the reigning Super Bowl MVP and is headed towards a giant (and well-deserved) contract. Players that made mistakes early in their careers, and then cleaned up their act, can end up being great role models for young players. The Broncos also have Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib as leaders on defense. Although Harris is a much better candidate as a leader in my opinion, as he does not accidentally-on-purpose poke opposing players in the eye.
Offensively the leaders are a bit harder to find. All Broncos players from last season no doubt learned something about leadership from Peyton Manning. Manning was under fire most of the season, but held the respect of his teammates along the way. It's unlikely Mark Sanchez will be looked at to lead much, even if he becomes the Broncos starting quarterback. I think the Broncos are more likely to look towards someone like Emmanuel Sanders as an offensive leader.
The Afternoon Drive talks quite a bit about a comment Kubiak made about Demaryrius Thomas potentially stepping up as more of a vocal leader this season, but I agree with them that being vocal just isn't who Thomas is. And he shouldn't be forced into that role. If DT can get rid of the drops that plagued him last season, that should make everyone happy. Sanders on the other hand IS vocal and has a great work ethic with boundless enthusiasm. I think other offensive players will look to him when they need a spark.
Hopefully C.J. Anderson, Matt Paradis, and Owen Daniels (if Kubiak is able to bring him back) can all step up their game as leaders next year. Paradis in particular has a great opportunity to lead a new offensive line next season.
A discussion about the Broncos QB depth chart.