Denver Broncos: Why Team Didn't Address the Right Issues This Offseason
The Denver Broncos made the biggest splash of them all in free agency when they won the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Coming off an 8-8 season in which they won the AFC West crown, the Broncos decided that their team needed to make a switch from the Tim Tebow gimmick offense and bring in the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player.
With that as well as some other free-agency signings and their draft picks, John Elway has the team he wants to take into battle. While the signing of Manning is great and will sure attract a ton of media and fan attention, the Denver Broncos did not fulfill the issues that doomed them last season.
We’ll start with the team's need to add a dynamic receiver. There is no question that Manning is one of the best choices to play quarterback, but let's be honest, there is not a Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne or a Dallas Clark type of receiver on the Broncos' roster. Peyton Manning signed with Denver knowing that Elway would do whatever it takes in order to win a Super Bowl.
Elway has to know that his team needs an upgrade at receiver and he should have looked to add one either in free agency or the draft. He did not add the talent that he could have to really make this offensive as dynamic and talented as possible.
Another area that could have seen more improvement during the offseason is the Broncos' running back situation. Willis McGahee is getting old and has a problem of running into injuries every year. Knowshon Moreno is coming off an ACL tear and has not panned out to the halfback that the Broncos thought they were getting when they drafted him out of the University of Georgia.
How many games will the Broncos win?
John Elway pulled the trigger on Ronnie Hillman with the 67th pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Hillman, who arrived in Denver via San Diego State University, will most likely be more of a third-down back or used in special sets that can get him into the open field. Hillman had trouble running through the tackles in the Mountain West Conference, so expect the same troubles on a larger scale when he takes the field in the NFL.
If you just look at the stats from last year you may not think the Broncos need an upgrade to their rushing attack which ranked first in the NFL. But Tebow rushed for 660 yards last season, which inflated the rushing yards per game stat; if Manning rushes for more than 50 yards this season, it will be a complete shock. But with a normal NFL offense, the Broncos need an every down back that performs at a high level week in and week out. McGahee, Moreno and Hillman are not the best fits to fill this need.
The defense was definitely what carried the Broncos last year. Their ability to get after the passer was nonstop and instilled fear into each and every one of their opponents. However, if you look at the opponents' rushing yards per game and the opponents passing yards per game, the Broncos were in the bottom half of the league.
They ranked 18th against the pass and 22nd against the run, and to make matters worse they lost Brian Dawkins to retirement this offseason. What Dawkins brought to the table is incredibly hard to replace; he is an excellent player and an even better leader. With the young stars on the Denver defense last year it was important for Dawkins to be the leader that he is. Veteran safety Mike Adams will have to work extremely hard to fill the hole left by Dawkins.
An upgrade on the Broncos' run defense needs to be made if they want a shot at making a Super Bowl run. Elway and the Broncos did not do enough this offseason to make the improvement, as they lost a key to their run-stopping ability when Brodrick Bunkley left in free agency. Denver drafted Derek Wolfe with their first pick in this year's draft, but they needed to do more in order to bolster their run defense.
Getting off to a strong start in the NFL is essential for success, and with the suspension of D.J. Williams for the first six games of the season, the Broncos should of done more this offseason to strengthen their defense.
While Peyton Manning was a tremendous signing for Elway and the Broncos’ organization, the team did not quite do enough to push itself to the cream of the crop in the AFC.
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