The Broncos were one of the most intriguing stories of 2011. Led by Tim Tebow and a fierce defense, Denver won the AFC West and a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Despite a successful season, the Broncos have the look of a team that could take a big step backwards in 2012.
The first order of business for the Broncos is to decide if Tebow is their long-term answer at quarterback. Tebow's success was well documented this season, but questions remain about his passing skills. If his consistency and accuracy don't improve, Tebow may find himself on the bench.
The other big issue facing the Broncos is how are they going to replace their aging stars. Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey have been great for many years, but both missed time this year with injuries. When those guys are out of the lineup, the Broncos defense was much worse.
Also, the Broncos don't have a backup plan if leading rusher Willis McGahee gets hurt. McGahee was their backup plan, but after a brilliant season in 2011, where he rushed for 1,199 yards, McGahee is Denver's best running back.
However, McGahee will turn 31 in October and has a lot of mileage on his wheels. Denver needs to have a backup plan for its backup plan.
Lastly, the Broncos 2012 schedule is brutal. Road games at New England, Baltimore, Atlanta, Cincinnati and home games against New Orleans and Houston are all tough match-ups for Denver. Plus, look for the AFC West to be better in 2012 than it was in 2011, especially the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Broncos aren't going to sneak up on anyone in 2012 and the playbook on how to stop Tebow has been written. Could be a long season in the Mile High City next year.