Because You Have to Have Hope in Denver

William LippContributor IJuly 1, 2009

ENGLEWOOD, CO - JUNE 12:  Running back Peyton Hillis #22 of the Denver Broncos warms up during minicamp practice at the Broncos Dove Valley training facility on June 12, 2009 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

On multiple news stations in this country the Denver Broncos are predicted to finish dead last in not only the AFC West, but also the entire NFL.  Will it happen? That is what everyone wearing navy blue and orange is hoping won't.

Kyle Orton is in at QB.  In his career Orton has been a winner, but hasn't won games with his own ability.  At the same time, the offense in Chicago was designed so he wouldn't have to win games, and would not have to strain his abilities above what the bare minimum required.  Does he have the ability to win games by himself? We hope he does.

Wideout Brandon Marshall has demanded to be traded out of Denver.  Whether it's a contract deal or a rebuilding team that is making him want out is still left in the open.  If it is just a contract problem then he might find it best to just play because his offseason problems are no secret to anyone.  If he plays well and doesn't cause any trouble next offseason then he'll get a very nice contract.  Otherwise we don't know what he should be paid.  You can't pay a guy top dollar who could miss half a season.

The running back position is wide open.  Correll Buckhalter has always looked good in career, but has never been the main attraction in a running game.  Rookie Knowshon Moreno appears to have the ability to be the head back in a multiback system, or even the one and only guy.  What nobody knows yet is if he's the real deal.  As they say in basketball, it's a completely different game between playing the game and playing against a folding chair.  Finally we have Peyton Hillis.  Hillis was a good fullback for the Broncos in 08.  He spent one game at running back looking very strong until his season ended early with an injury.  Can he possibly become the big dog and carry the ball?  Between any of the three it should be a good competition.

Denver's defense, which was absolutely terrible in 08 is now run by a new coach and is under a new system.  The 3-4, which has worked for New England and Pittsburg the past few seasons, has taken hold in Denver.  Because of the Broncos' inability to get any kind of defensive line together maybe it'll work.  Elvis Dummervil could easily because a player such as Terrell Suggs or Demarcus Ware and build up some easy sacks.  If not him then maybe somebody else will step up strongly into the position.  Rookie Robert Ayers was drafted because they thought he looked like a guy that could fill that spot.  Between Champ Bailey and newcomer Brian Dawkins, Denver's secondary should be strong.  A lot of changes in the defense will be fun to watch.

It's a new era in Denver.  While some think the season will be a wash, we have to remember, it is the NFL and weirder things have happened.  While I believe a super bowl is unreal right now, maybe we'll get lucky, maybe we'll make the playoffs or at least knock off a team that is supposed to be good this year.