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Old 08-18-2011, 11:24 PM   #1
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http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog...enver-broncos/

Denverís quarterback battle between Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow was one of the only things that got them national news attention. However, that national attention abruptly ended once the Broncos made it clear that Orton would be their starter.

While they may have finished at the bottom of the AFC West, the Denver Broncos are a team that has the ability to make big strides in 2011. Iím not sure that Iíd say they can make the playoffs just yet, but a winning season is within reach.


Donít believe me?

Here are some reasons to believe, as well as some reasons to expect the same mediocrity that we saw last season.

.

Five Reasons to be Confident

.

1) Improved Receiving Corps

What made the Broncosí offense more enjoyable to watch in 2010 was the emergence of Brandon Lloyd. In addition to leading the NFL in receiving yards, Lloyd also finished at the top of the league in terms of yards per pass route run with 2.41. While you can find out more in-depth analysis about his breakout season here, the fact that the Broncos now have one of the leagueís top receivers makes their offense that much more dangerous.

In addition to Lloyd, newcomers such as running back Willis McGahee and tight end Daniel Fells are both very competent receivers and will be asked to step up in key situations. While Jon Fox may elect to run the ball more consistently, their passing game looks better than it has in the past two years.

.

2) Champ is still Champ

While he may no longer be considered as one of the NFLís elite cornerbacks, Champ Bailey can still play the position at an extremely high level. Last season, Bailey had the highest overall coverage rating for cornerbacks. Sure his 57% catch rate and two interceptions arenít exactly eye-popping, but one thing to note is that he never gave up a big play. Ignoring one very bad game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Bailey allowed just 19 yards per game, with the longest pass he allowed all season being 32 yards (which was against the Chiefs). He may not be getting any younger, but Bailey certainly hasnít shown any signs of his play deteriorating.

.

3) Stronger Up Front

Back in the dark days of the lockout, we ran a ďHelp WantedĒ series where we said that the Broncosí biggest need was at defensive tackle. Naturally, the teamís front office took our criticism under consideration and added both Ty Warren and Brodrick Bunkley to their roster. Unfortunately for Denver, Warren suffered a tear in his right triceps and will miss significant time, but Bunkley should still provide them with an immediate upgrade.

In 2009, which was the last time that Bunkley was an NFL starter, he had a +11.9 run defense rating, which was better than any Broncos defensive linemen over the past three years. Combine that with the return of Elvis Dumervil and the drafting of Von Miller and you have three spots in the front seven that are instantly upgraded from what we saw in 2010.

.

4) The Trials of Youth

There are few areas where you could argue that the Broncos have downgraded. The players who played the most snaps for Denver in 2010, were safety Renaldo Hill, tight end Daniel Graham and receiver Jabar Gaffney, none of whom will be wearing navy and orange next season. Although each of those players had 10 or more years of experience under their belts, only Hill had an overall positive rating in 2010. Itís hard to argue the Broncosí decision to get younger at these positions, and itís even harder to imagine the team being any worse than they were a year ago.

.

5) In Orton we Trust

While people all over the world wanted to see more of what Tim Tebow had to offer, it is easy to forget that Kyle Orton really wasnít that bad of a quarterback. Last season, Orton had a +31.5 pass grade over the first 11 games, and he finished 17th in our new quarterback ratings. While he may never be an elite QB, he is still better than nearly half of the leagueís starters which fans can often forget.

__________________________________________________ _________________________________________________

.

Five Reasons to be Concerned


1) Offensive Line Woes

Although Ryan Clady is still one of the leagueís better left tackles, the other four offensive line spots are questionable at best. As a rookie, left guard Zane Beadles had negative ratings in both pass and run blocking, while fellow rookie Z.D. Walton had the fourth worst overall rating for centers.

On the right side of the ball, Chris Kuper and his -11.0 run block rating isnít much better than his teammates to the left, and at right tackle we just donít know how well second round pick Orlando Franklin will perform. The Broncos may want to be a run first team, but that wonít work if the line plays the same way that they did last season.

.

2) Knowshon Moreno

One of the few rumored destinations for both DeAngelo Williams and Ahmad Bradshaw was Denver. The goal was to pair one of them up with Knowshon Moreno, but both players opted to remain with their former teams. While Morenoís 4.3 yards per carry average is very solid, he hasnít had many standout games in his short NFL career. Since being drafted two years ago, Moreno has only had two 100 yard games, and both of those came against the Kansas City Chiefs. If they want to build an offense around the running game, Moreno is not the ideal back to do it with.

.

3) Quarterback Controversy

Like most quarterbacks do, it is likely that there will be a point in the season where Orton struggles to score points. The second that happens, talks of Tim Tebow replacing him will be unavoidable. Even if Broncos lose a few games despite the fact that Orton has played well, fans will still want to see Tebow take over under centre. Quarterback controversies like this are never good for the locker room, and until one of these players leaves the city, this controversy isnít going away any time soon. Chances are that this will be a distraction at some point in the season; itís just a matter of when it will happen.

.

4) Learning Curve

The Broncos have once again changed head coaches, and with that change comes new philosophies on both sides of the football. The length of the NFL lockout makes it harder than ever for players to adjust to these new schemes, and after two years of playing a 3-4 defense, the Broncos are returning to a 4-3 front. Elvis Dumervil and D.J. Williams are the only front seven starters that were with the team back when they used to play a 4-3, so it will take some time for the rest of the Broncos to learn all of the necessary changes.

.

5) Youth Movement

While the Broncos have a number of veterans on their roster, they also have seven players whom they drafted in the past three years that are expected to start. Three of those seven players are rookies, and rushing players into a starting role is rarely a good thing. Looking beyond the starters, there are only few names that an average NFL fan would recognize and an injury to a key player would easily end any momentum the Broncos may have built.

._________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

.

When you have just had the second overall pick, not much is expected of you the following year and I canít think of anyone who is expecting big things out of Denver. If the Broncos arenít able to put together a solid season, at least they will still get some media attention from their quarterback situation.
.
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:12 AM   #2
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****ing Z.D. Walton
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:26 AM   #3
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Improved receiving corps? I stopped there. We traded Gaffney, lost Bey-Bey probably for the year, and replaced them with no one. Also this dude is trying to sell me on Mcgahee as a "very competent receiver"? Really? He has 1000 receiving yards in his career. The last two years combined he has 29 catches for 140 yards. Watch out!
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by extralife View Post
Improved receiving corps? I stopped there. We traded Gaffney, lost Bey-Bey probably for the year, and replaced them with no one. Also this dude is trying to sell me on Mcgahee as a "very competent receiver"? Really? He has 1000 receiving yards in his career. The last two years combined he has 29 catches for 140 yards. Watch out!
I think he was trying to be nice, bro.

Had to soften the blow of the hammer he brought down on your OL.
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by extralife View Post
Improved receiving corps? I stopped there. We traded Gaffney, lost Bey-Bey probably for the year, and replaced them with no one. Also this dude is trying to sell me on Mcgahee as a "very competent receiver"? Really? He has 1000 receiving yards in his career. The last two years combined he has 29 catches for 140 yards. Watch out!
Decker is a monster, along with Lloyd and Royal will be fine.
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Old 08-19-2011, 03:18 AM   #6
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I would beat up Walton just yet. Center is a rough position and he was a rookie. So he's not Pouncy, big deal. I expect him to have a much better season. I also think Clady will return to form. Last year I think he was still trying to get back all the way from that injury during the offseason. Franklin was a nice pick and Kuper should be better just from the fact Walton is no longer a rookie and Franklin is looking solid on the right.

Not to mention there was not even a hint of a running game last year so teams really didn't have to respect that or play for that. When the defensive line knows what you are going to do 85% of the time, there's no guess work and staying home, they can really get after you. We definitely need to get back to pounding that ball down people's throats. Elway knows this. The 2 Superbowl years, they basically lined up and just ran the ball at will.
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Old 08-19-2011, 03:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZONA View Post
I would beat up Walton just yet. Center is a rough position and he was a rookie. So he's not Pouncy, big deal. I expect him to have a much better season. I also think Clady will return to form. Last year I think he was still trying to get back all the way from that injury during the offseason. Franklin was a nice pick and Kuper should be better just from the fact Walton is no longer a rookie and Franklin is looking solid on the right.

Not to mention there was not even a hint of a running game last year so teams really didn't have to respect that or play for that. When the defensive line knows what you are going to do 85% of the time, there's no guess work and staying home, they can really get after you. We definitely need to get back to pounding that ball down people's throats. Elway knows this. The 2 Superbowl years, they basically lined up and just ran the ball at will.
pouncy actually ranked like 20th on their rankings...dont remember exact number
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Old 08-19-2011, 04:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZONA View Post
I would beat up Walton just yet. Center is a rough position and he was a rookie. So he's not Pouncy, big deal. I expect him to have a much better season. I also think Clady will return to form. Last year I think he was still trying to get back all the way from that injury during the offseason. Franklin was a nice pick and Kuper should be better just from the fact Walton is no longer a rookie and Franklin is looking solid on the right.
Players don't just get better because they are past the rookie year.

If anything, teams have more tape on them to go through their weakenesses and how to attack them.

I didn't see much of anything from the rookie OL to say they will do better. The whole idea of moving away from the zone blocking system was to have a better power running game against good defenses in the playoffs.

Instead our interior OL can barely keep even mediocre defenders at bay.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:00 AM   #9
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I thought they did a pretty good job with their article. Very similar to my Outlook of the team.

Our receiving corp is pretty strong. When Bey-Bey returns we are looking at a top 5 corp of receivers. BLloyd is still undervalued in most NFL circles. And, with a more balanced attack it will take its toll on his production. Plus, you figure they will work harder to get Royal and Decker involved. That may be my biggest issue with Orton, he seems to struggle with distributing the ball.

I still have hope for Walton. I am concerned with Beadles. His blocks in the 2nd level leave a lot of room for improvement. Ultimately it comes down to, if he can pull and make a block in the 2nd level I think Kuper and Franklin can hold their own to the preferred running side. If we can run the ball and put ourselves in good 2nd down situations, Kyle Orton can be very good in play action.

DL, we are going to have to scheme to stop the run. This is a concern to me. Yes, Fox teams stop the run. But eventually talent outweighs scheme and the better teams will outman us. Once again we are still longing for help in the middle... With only a MLB and Safeties to develop for the long term improvement.

Ultimately this is going to be an up and down season. I am struggling to believe this team can put up more than 6 or 7 wins. But tempered expectations will help me to enjoy the season either way so baby steps should be the mantra as we face a brutal schedule. Expect a fast start and then falling back toward the middle of the season. Could make it difficult to realize we are actually steadily improving.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by extralife View Post
Improved receiving corps? I stopped there. We traded Gaffney, lost Bey-Bey probably for the year, and replaced them with no one. Also this dude is trying to sell me on Mcgahee as a "very competent receiver"? Really? He has 1000 receiving yards in his career. The last two years combined he has 29 catches for 140 yards. Watch out!
The receiving corps? I think that's the one position we have the least worries about. Gaffney and Bey-Bey? Please. Gaffney won't even be missed. He was one of those "occassional sparks" that, unfortunately, Bronco fans have been willing to get all excited about lately. 2 TD's which is what he's averaged per year over his career. Bey-Bey showed promise but part of that promise may be injuries. Decker, Lloyd and Royal, I have all the confidence in them, IF we can get a QB who can use them properly.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:23 AM   #11
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How does he even come up with the name Z.D.? It's not even like the Z is close to the J so it wasn't a slip up or typo.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:25 AM   #12
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I'd hold off on any season outlooks until after guys are pulled off the wire on 9/3.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:37 AM   #13
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I thought this was pretty spot on.

I'm very concerned starting Franklin as a rookie RT, he's going to get KO killed. So, maybe it's not terrible after all.

Walton and Beadles have had another off-season to get bigger and stronger, I'd be shocked if we don't see improvement from both. We're deep at the skill positions on offense.

Defense should be improved as well, the only position I don't know we have improved is MLB, I love Mays and his hitting and nastiness, but I dont think he is an upgrade over DJ.

With a tough schedule and some huge question marks in the trenches I could see the team being much improved but not making huge strides in the wins column. It's ok, I love John Fox and think this was a very good off-season (other than the lockout), and we are taking the first steps back to respectability.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:38 AM   #14
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I'd hold off on any season outlooks until after guys are pulled off the wire on 9/3.
What's the fun in that?
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by extralife View Post
Improved receiving corps? I stopped there. We traded Gaffney, lost Bey-Bey probably for the year, and replaced them with no one. Also this dude is trying to sell me on Mcgahee as a "very competent receiver"? Really? He has 1000 receiving yards in his career. The last two years combined he has 29 catches for 140 yards. Watch out!
you see our tight ends last year?

yeah, probably not...we are improved off that alone but please keep banging that drum
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:47 AM   #16
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We'll see. I suppose when you go 4-12 the year before you have to put up with articles and opinions that have you either as bad or slightly worse. Only thing that disproves it is going out and winning.

Which would be nice for a change.

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Old 08-19-2011, 06:28 AM   #17
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i like going into the season with no expectations, that way if some way we are kinda good we will shock the world
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broncoman13 View Post
I thought they did a pretty good job with their article. Very similar to my Outlook of the team.

Our receiving corp is pretty strong. When Bey-Bey returns we are looking at a top 5 corp of receivers. BLloyd is still undervalued in most NFL circles. And, with a more balanced attack it will take its toll on his production. Plus, you figure they will work harder to get Royal and Decker involved. That may be my biggest issue with Orton, he seems to struggle with distributing the ball.

I still have hope for Walton. I am concerned with Beadles. His blocks in the 2nd level leave a lot of room for improvement. Ultimately it comes down to, if he can pull and make a block in the 2nd level I think Kuper and Franklin can hold their own to the preferred running side. If we can run the ball and put ourselves in good 2nd down situations, Kyle Orton can be very good in play action.

DL, we are going to have to scheme to stop the run. This is a concern to me. Yes, Fox teams stop the run. But eventually talent outweighs scheme and the better teams will outman us. Once again we are still longing for help in the middle... With only a MLB and Safeties to develop for the long term improvement.

Ultimately this is going to be an up and down season. I am struggling to believe this team can put up more than 6 or 7 wins. But tempered expectations will help me to enjoy the season either way so baby steps should be the mantra as we face a brutal schedule. Expect a fast start and then falling back toward the middle of the season. Could make it difficult to realize we are actually steadily improving.

Solid post. I do think we are going to struggle more coming out of the gates and and do better on the backside of the season. Pre-season games and the first couple reg season games will tell us more.

I also have a funny feeling that Kyle will pop a breaker during the first few games of the season due to Tebonite reponses to a failed play or two. It will be an epic "plummeresque" type pressure release (grease up that middle finger Kyle). Mark my words. I know I would probably blow a gasket considering the constant Teblowhype, which, without a doubt will continue. I also think that Quinn will see more time on the field than Tebow.
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:45 AM   #19
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Solid post. I do think we are going to struggle more coming out of the gates and and do better on the backside of the season. Pre-season games and the first couple reg season games will tell us more.

I also have a funny feeling that Kyle will pop a breaker during the first few games of the season due to Tebonite reponses to a failed play or two. It will be an epic "plummeresque" type pressure release (grease up that middle finger Kyle). Mark my words. I know I would probably blow a gasket considering the constant Teblowhype, which, without a doubt will continue. I also think that Quinn will see more time on the field than Tebow.

you just couldn't help yourself could you
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:49 AM   #20
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I can see the team winning a lot more with the offseason additions and competent coaching. I think the thing that will make the biggest difference is the defensive scheme. Nolan took scrubs and made them look pretty good. I'm hoping Fox can do the same, and he has much more talent to work with after this offseason.
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:52 AM   #21
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you just couldn't help yourself could you

Just telling it like I see it.

I see this coming to a head and popping within the first few games of the season. I also think, considering all the soap opera type ****, we will finish this season at, or above .500 if we are able to avoid the injury bug and some of this drama goes away early in the season.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:00 AM   #22
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Just telling it like I see it.

I see this coming to a head and popping within the first few games of the season. I also think, considering all the soap opera type ****, we will finish this season at, or above .500 if we are able to avoid the injury bug and some of this drama goes away early in the season.
Its literally a win win situation in the sense that if Kyle is winning, no one will care. Remember the collective sigh in his first year with the Broncos after the Cutler trade when everyone thought we were up **** creek with out a paddle? After 6 games there were people here ready to name him the next Craig Morton. If come out of the gate winning (especially against the Raiders) people will be more willing to play wait and see with the QB position.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:11 AM   #23
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However, that national attention abruptly ended once the Broncos made it clear that Orton would be their starter.
I love that media mopes continue to headline this. It's just a clear example that what they write doesn't need to be connected to reality in any way.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:49 AM   #24
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Fair assessment. The goal this year is to improve in all aspects. The only accurate measure, of course, is wins. Secondary goal--for the FO--is to put a team on the field that is not so drastically overmatched in terms of talent.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:59 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fontaine View Post
Players don't just get better because they are past the rookie year.

If anything, teams have more tape on them to go through their weakenesses and how to attack them.

I didn't see much of anything from the rookie OL to say they will do better. The whole idea of moving away from the zone blocking system was to have a better power running game against good defenses in the playoffs.

Instead our interior OL can barely keep even mediocre defenders at bay.
When Pat Kirwan etc did Broncos camp on SiriusXM NFLN radio, all the guys on the show said they look bigger, for what its worth...
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