Friday, August 21, 2009
2009 NFL PREVIEW- Denver Broncos
2008 RECORD: 8-8
(2nd in AFC West)
HEAD COACH: Josh McDaniels
Key Additions: QB Kyle Orton (trade/Bears) WR Jabar Gafney (FA/Patriots) CB Brian Dawkins (FA/Eagles) RB J.J. Arrington (FA/Cardinals) DL Darrell Reid (FA/Colts) RB Correll Buckhalter (FA/Eagles) CB Andre Goodman (FA/Dolphins) RB LaMont Jordan (FA/Patriots) QB Chris Simms (FA/Titans) DL Matt McChesney (FA/Dolphins) LB Andra Davis (FA/Browns)
Key Losses: QB Jay Cutler (trade/Bears) QB Patrick Ramsey (FA/Redskins) OL Tom Nalen (retired) CB Dre' Bly (FA) DL Ebenezer Ekuban (FA) WR Darrell Jackson (FA) RB Tatum Bell (FA) RB Michael Pittman (FA) S Marlon McCree (FA) RB Selvin Young (FA)
Offense: The Denver Broncos made a lot of changes, especially at quarterback where Jay Cutler was dealt to the Chicago Bears in exchange for Kyle Orton (2,972 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2008), who will be the Broncos starting quarterback this season. Chris Simms is in Denver as well at quarterback.
The running back position has a wide variety of players vying for spots.
Top draft pick Knowshon Moreno (Georgia) is in the fold along with 2008 Broncos' leading rusher Peyton Hillis, who ran for 343 yards and scored five TDs. LaMont Jordan comes over from New England after going for 363 yards and four scores last season.
The wide receivers enjoyed huge success last year for Denver as Cutler put the ball up over 600 times during the season.
Brandon Marshall was the Broncos' leading receiver in '08 with 104 catches for 1,265 yards and six TDs. Eddie Royal, a rookie in '08, caught 91 passes for 980 yards and had five touchdowns. These two are slated to be the starters in 2009. Jabar Gafney (38 catches and two TDs) was signed from the New England Patriots to help provide depth. Brandon Stokley is also included after catching 49 passes for 528 yards and three touchdowns.
The Tight Ends include Tony Scheffler (40 catches for 645 yards and three TDs), Daniel Graham (32 grabs, 389 yards and four TDs) and rookie Richard Quinn, a second round pick from North Carolina.
The offensive line, a longtime staple of Denver's past successes, has Casey Weigmann at center with Ryan Clady and Chris Kuper at guards and Ryan Harris and Ben Hamilton at the tackle positions.
Defense: This side of the football was terrible in 2008 and probably cost Denver the AFC West title and ultimately, former Head Coach Mike Shanahan his job.
The Broncos ranked 29th in total defense by allowing 374 yards per game with 146 yards coming on the ground and 238 yards through the air. Denver also allowed 448 points (3oth in the NFL) while intercepting only six passes all season and recording just 26 sacks.
In addition, Denver lost its final three games to cough up the division title while allowing 112 points in the three losses.
The secondary will have Brian Dawkins at free safety after spending many years as an All-Pro with the Philadelphia Eagles. Joining Dawkins, who is a true leader on the field, will be Darcell McBath (strong safety), Champ Bailey and Josh Bell, who will be the cornerbacks.
The defensive line will see Marcus Thomas as nose tackle with Tim Crowder and Robert Ayers at Defensive End. Ayers is a first-round pick from Tennessee who will also play linebacker in 2009.
The linebackers in the Denver 3-4 defense are Boss Bailey, Dumas Dumervil (outside LB) and inside backers D.J. Williams and Andra Davis, who was signed away from the Cleveland Browns in the off-season.
OUTLOOK: It will definitely be an interesting season in Denver as new Head Coach Josh McDaniels takes over for Mike Shanahan, who was fired after a long run in the mile high city.
McDaniels has been touted a "boy genius" after helping New England to a 16-0 season in 2007 as the offensive coordinator as well as developing Matt Cassel at quarterback last year when Tom Brady went down with a knee injury in the first game of the season.
There are more problems and drama than a daytime soap opera in Denver as the season looms.
Brandon Marshall, last year's leading receiver and Cutler's favorite target as well, has been complaining non stop since Cutler was dealt after getting off to a rocky start with McDaniel after he was named Head Coach.
There is still a definite possibility that Marshall, along with Tight End Tony Scheffler, could be traded before the season starts.
With so many newcomers and a new system being implemented in Denver, many don't expect the Broncos to contend this season after nearly winning the AFC West last season.
The reality is the Broncos are not as good as they appeared early on in 2008, nor are they as bad as they were in the latter part of the 2008 season. They also have to cut down on the turnovers in 2009 after ranking 31st in the league with a -17 plus/minus turnover ratio.
Look for Denver, with a very tough schedule in '09, to finish 6-10 as they work out the kinks in the new system and McDaniel also makes adjustments as Head Coach after learning from one of the best in Bill Belichick. The Broncos, in the past, have been very good at rebounding after under going changes. Don't expect them to stay down too long.
Week 1- at Cincinnati (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. Cleveland (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at Oakland (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. Dallas (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. New England (Oct. 11)
Week 6- at San Diego (Oct. 19)
Week 7- BYE WEEK
Week 8- at Baltimore (Nov. 1)
Week 9- vs. Pittsburgh (Nov. 9)
Week 10- at Washington (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. San Diego (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. NY Giants (Nov. 26)
Week 13- at Kansas City (Dec. 6)
Week 14- at Indianapolis (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Oakland (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Philadelphia (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Kansas City (Jan. 3)