Coach: Vic Fangio
General Manager: George Paton
2020 Regular Season Record: 5-11
2020 Season Result: Missed Playoffs
Super Bowls: 3
Additions and Losses – Offensive Outlook
The Broncos offseason has been one filled with question, specifically at the quarterback position. They brought in Teddy Bridgewater through free agency, immediately putting in question who the starting QB was as Drew Lock had previously been the guy. It didn’t end there though, when rumors came out about Aaron Rodgers wanting out, Denver was at the forefront of teams that wanted to acquire him. Once that dream died and the Deshaun Watson rumors started, Denver was once again near the top of the trade options for him. Obviously that never panned out and I don’t think it’s going to this season, so the Broncos were left with Lock and Bridgewater.
After a long and drawn out quarterback battle, it was finally announced just last week that free agent acquisition Teddy Bridgewater had won the starting job. Now there’s definitely some question marks about both guys, as Bridgewater is known for being very risk averse and mistake free, but also lacks play making ability. While Drew Lock is more of a gunslinger who isn’t afraid to go deep, but will also make mistakes and go on cold streaks often. So while I expect both to see the field at some point this season, I’m not too enthusiastic about the teams offensive outlook with either of them under center.
Outside of quarterback, the rest of this offense looks quite good. They traded up in the 2nd round to acquire running back Javonte Williams who has been drawing great reviews all offseason. The team loves this guy and I expect him to immediately fill in for departure Philip Lindsay and form a committee with Melvin Gordon. With a Nick Chubb like style of play, Williams has the potential to play a major role in this offense this season.
Courtland Sutton suffered an ACL tear early into last season, a major blow to their receiving corps. Luckily they had drafted Jerry Jeudy in the 1st round that season, so now that Sutton is back, they form a very solid, young, wide receiver duo. If the QB play is up to par, we could see a big season out of one of, if not both of these guys. We can’t forget about Noah Fant at tight end either. As one of the most athletic TEs around, Fant has slowly came in to form and established himself as one of the better receiving threats at the position in the league. With all these weapons in the wing, Bridgewater and/or Lock have no excuses not to perform. Both are definitely on thin ice and will need to step up if they want to stick around.
Since bringing in Mike Munchak in 2019, this offensive line has drastically improved. Munchak has established himself as one of, if not the best oline coaches in the league and I have full trust in this group for as long as he’s there. 4 out of 5 of their starters from last season are returning, with the one new spot, right tackle, being because Ja’Wuan James tore his achilles back in April, and the team unfortunately released him. To replace him comes Calvin Anderson who was the reserve swing tackle last year. If this line stays healthy, expect a top 10 unit.
Best Player – Courtland Sutton
Breakout Candidate – Noah Fant
Biggest Concern – Consistent QB play
Additions and Losses – Defensive Outlook
While it’s no where close to what their super bowl winning defense looked like, this Broncos defense is absolutely loaded. They’re bringing back all their starters in the front 7,but hopefully this time they won’t suffer a shit ton of injuries. Last year Shelby Harris, Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Purcell, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb all suffered injuries for varying amount of time, which was all their starters on the defensive line. Due to this, we saw some pretty sub par play, especially in the run defense last season. With everyone coming back healthy, we should see some much improved play up front.
If there was a weakness on this defense it would be the inside linebacker position. Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson are definitely serviceable level players, but they’re nothing to write home about. All things considered, with the run defense of Purcell and Harris mixed with the pass rushing abilities of Miller and Chubb, this is definitely a top 10 front 7 in the league.
Now the real strength of the defense is the secondary. They completely overhauled the position this offseason, making some big offseason acquisitions. Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby were both brought in through free agency, two big starting pieces on the back end. They weren’t finished there though, as they brought in Patrick Surtain with their 9th overall pick in the draft. A player most regarded as the top corner in the class, we should see him play a big role right off the bat and help form one of the better trios with Fuller and Darby.
The safety position is lead by Justin Simmons, who has supplanted himself amongst the leagues best safeties, enough so to earn a new 4 year, $61 million contract. That makes him the leagues highest paid safety, and deservedly so. Now that he’s got some much needed help around him, this secondary has enough talent and depth to pummel opposing offenses. Denver definitely knew how important it was to drastically improve their secondary now that they’ve got 2 of the leagues best young QBs in their division. If this group can’t stop Mahomes and Herbert, I’m not sure who can.
Best Player – Justin Simmons
Breakout Candidate – Patrick Surtain
Biggest Concern – Inside Linebacker
Season Schedule, Predictions and Broncos Season Preview
Week 1: @ New York Giants – W
Week 2: @ Jacksonville Jaguars – W
Week 3: vs New York Jets – W
Week 4: vs Baltimore Ravens – L
Week 5: @ Pittsburgh Steelers – L
Week 6: vs Las Vegas Raiders – W
Week 7: @ Cleveland Browns – L
Week 8: vs Washington Football Team – L
Week 9: @ Dallas Cowboys – L
Week 10: vs Philadelphia Eagles – W
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: vs Los Angeles Chargers – W
Week 13: @ Kansas City Chiefs – L
Week 14: vs Detroit Lions – W
Week 15: vs Cincinnati Bengals – W
Week 16: @ Las Vegas Raiders – W
Week 17: @ Los Angeles Chargers – L
Week 18: vs Kansas City Chiefs – L
Season Total: 9-8
The Broncos seem like a fringe playoff team to me. Overall, the roster is very strong, but quarterback is just such a valuable piece of any team, I think that’s what’s going to cost them in the end. It’s not like Lock and Bridgewater aren’t decent QBs, but they just don’t have that it factor, or seem like they can prove they’re the guy. I still see the Broncos as in the same state they’ve been in since Peyton Manning, bridge QB after bridge QB, waiting to find the true franchise guy. With both Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson potentially being on the market in 2022, I think Denver needs to scoop one of them up. With their current roster, adding a superstar level QB would make them immediate super bowl favourites.
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