The 2015-2016 season was one to remember for the Denver Broncos. Led by the “Sheriff” Peyton Manning and one of the greatest defenses ever, the Broncos were able to win the Super Bowl in great fashion. Despite trying to find there next leader at quarterback, most of their important pieces are returning and should be a problem for the rest of the league. The Broncos are still a top 5 team in the NFL.
Defense is still legit
The Denver Broncos had one of the greatest defenses ever in 2015 and return most of their core pieces. Despite losing Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan to free agency, they are still loaded with talent. Up front they return Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and Demarcus Ware which is always a nightmare for offensive lineman. Miller’s performance in the post-season was a huge factor in bringing back the Lombardi trophy back to Mile High. Second year defensive end Shane Ray looks to also have breakout season as Broncos invested a lot in the 1st round draft pick a year ago.
The secondary was one of the best ever as Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr held down the cornerback position. Talib, the more physical corner, has the ability to take on team’s number one receiver and bully them for a whole game. The big question is if he will miss games due to his gun incident back in June. Harris Jr has proven to be one of the top five corners in the league. His athleticism as a cover corner always puts him in a good position to make a play. T.J Ward and Darian Stewart are back at safety which both were versatile against the pass and run as well. Bradley Roby was always a key component at nickelback which he thrived as a rookie.
Offense still legit despite QB questions
After Peyton Manning retirement, the Broncos are still looking for their signal caller. On the roster they have veteran Mark Sanchez, there 1st round draft pick this year Paxton Lynch, and 2nd year 7th round pick Trevor Siemian. Sanchez has proven himself in the league to be a quality starter when his confidence is high and the running game is going. However he can be erratic at times with the football which causes him to turnover it over a lot. Lynch is promising rookie with an immense amount of potential due to his size and athleticism. He still is a project player, who needs to work on his accuracy and opening up his range being a spread offense quarterback. With Siemian, he still has a lot of question marks still coming from his college days due to an ACL tear and playing in a struggling offense. He has the ability to make the necessary throws but can struggle at the deep ball which the Broncos know they can thrive at due to their athleticism at receiver
As of now the competition is up for grabs but Siemian is starting to open some eyes even though Lynch is supposed to be the future franchise quarterback.
At the running back position, CJ Anderson is back to lead the charge after the Broncos matched an offer from the Miami Dolphins. Anderson has proven he can be a good back in the NFL but being consistent is something he must work better on. The backfield should be deep as Ronnie Hillman returns and adds rookie Devontae Booker who has very high expectations to become great. He might be the future of the Broncos run game due to his good ability to run between the tackles and catch passes out the backfield. The offensive lineman struggled with injuries last year but is back and has made some significant changes. The acquisition of Russell Okung from Seattle and Donald Stephenson from the Kansas City should help improve the line. Both of these veterans have experience blocking for elite running backs. With All- Pro Ryan Clady set to return after an injury in OTA’s last season, the front five will be a major key if the broncos plan to repeat next year.
While that issue is being sorted out, there are plenty of weapons that will always have a chance to break out. The receiving duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders is one of the best in the league. An interesting positional battle that is also wide open is for the starting tight end job. Competing for the job is Jeff Heuerman and Virgil Green. Having good play from the tight end position will defiantly help out the quarterback as they continue to figure out that puzzle piece.
The Broncos did lose some key pieces last year but are set to return as the reigning champions and the kings of the AFC West. With the division rivals Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs quickly making up ground to make some noise, Denver knows this season might be more difficult to repeat. It will ultimately come down to their quarterback play and how well their defense plays. With everything that John Elway has put in place, only time will tell if history can be made.