The Broncos Offseason is Officially Over
The Denver Broncos reported for training camp on Thursday. Training camp can be rightfully labeled as boring, but at least it signals the end of the offseason.
Denver is staring down the barrel at a compelling 2017 season, at least from an outside perspective. You know the issues they face, and the narratives they are trying to fight.
Peyton Manning’s Ghost
The Broncos, and specifically their quarterbacks, are haunted by a Peyton Manning sized ghost. Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian are in year two of replacing a legend, while newcomer Chad Kelly, albeit injured, is getting his first taste.
Look, nobody wants to be the guy replacing a legend. Lynch and Siemian had that unfair misfortune in 2016. They showed flashes, but nothing was consistent enough to be confident in either quarterback. Enter Chad Kelly.
Kelly was Mr. Irrelevant in the draft. You could spend an entire post just arguing whether the injury or off-field issues hurt his draft stock more. For the sake of my sanity, I’m just gonna stick with they both tanked his draft stock.
I watched Chad in his two years at Ole Miss, I’m an Ole Miss fan okay. Chad has his faults, there is no denying them. He sometimes takes boneheaded risks and a stellar receiving core that featured two first round draft picks (Laquon Treadwell and Evan Engram) bailed him out a lot.
However, Chad had plenty of wow moments. He has a gunslinger mentality paired with a rocket launcher for a right arm. He’s also a dual-threat with serious wheels, so that helps.
Chad could completely bomb out in the NFL and nobody would bat an eye. However, he may be the most talented quarterback on the current roster.
I’m not saying Chad is going to win this job in training camp, that would be idiotic. The guy is still on the injury shelf for heavens sake. However, don’t be surprised if he sees reps on the field during the season. I say this because I have the utmost faith in Lynch and Siemian repeating last year’s mistakes, but I could be wrong.
Denver’s offensive line production has been hot garbage in recent years, and that is putting it nicely. I’m still amazed they were able to win a Super Bowl. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe the 2015 Panthers or Broncos would have defeated the 2016 Patriots or Falcons.
Denver has tried to address the offensive line issues. They drafted Garrett Bolles and signed multiple Free Agents like Ronald Leary. This could improve the offensive line, Leary certainly will, but the amount of improvement is up for debate.
Bolles is inexperienced at best. Denver is ridiculously weak at the tackle spots, and Bolles is going to be expected to fill one of the two slots.
Don’t Waste This Defense!
Denver’s defense, and specifically Von Miller, won them a Super Bowl in 2015. They could do it again with just a little help from the offense.
Why do I firmly believe this? Von Miller.
Sure, the defense has begun to age in a few spots. TJ Ward, Aqib Talib, even Chris Harris in a way. Notice a trend? They are all in the secondary, which will be an issue sooner than later. We all know speed is a necessity on defense, and, well, father time is undefeated.
You still have a great defense, and Denver has been quietly getting the replacements through the draft. (See Shane Ray for Demarcus Ware.) Plus Von Miller’s don’t just grow on trees, so don’t waste his talents. Please.
The AFC West is Insane
Excuse my language, but this division is, quite frankly, a bitch to play in. Let us run through the teams real quick. Oakland, Kansas City, and San Diego … err Los Angeles I mean. Sorry, still haven’t gotten used to that one yet.
Gone are the days of Denver being a juggernaut that crushes the rest of the division.
The Raiders have Derek Carr, the Chiefs have Alex Smith, and the Chargers have Phillip Rivers. So, you are the only team without a bonafide starting quarterback, that is a problem. Unless John Elway has secretly invented a time machine, he nor Peyton Manning will be walking through the door.
Last year both the Raiders and Chiefs went 12-4. Also, it doesn’t help that many are considering the Chargers a threat to contend for a wild card spot this year.
New Head Coach
Vance Joseph has taken over for Gary Kubiak. Joseph spent 2016 with the Dolphins before taking a step up the coaching ladder.
Elway struck Super Bowl gold with his hire of Kubiak, time will tell if Joseph has similar success.
In the spirit of fairness, Kubiak had Peyton Manning, albeit a shell of his former self. However, Peyton was a tremendous team leader and always had the offense in the right situation. Peyton didn’t win many games for them, but he didn’t lose them games either. He managed the game and let the defense win, so basically he copied prime Alex Smith.
Nevertheless, storylines are in abundance for the 2017 Denver Broncos season. It should be exciting, Denver is going to see where they stand in the AFC West pecking order, which may lead to an even more interesting offseason. Plus, football games are football games!