Denver Broncos: More Questions Than Answers at This Point
The Denver Broncos have had one of the most interesting offseasons this year. After their collapse in 2008, they fired HC Mike Shanahan who was with the organization since 1995. They brought in former OC of the New England Patriots, Josh McDaniels, to take over. Since McDaniels took the helm, he has made some decisions that have left Bronco fans and NFL fans alike, scratching their heads. The most mentionable move was his attempt to trade Pro Bowl QB Jay Cutler for Matt Cassel who led the Pats to an 11-5 2008 campaign, after Tom Brady went down with a season ending knee injury. The trade for Cassel never happened but the damage was already done, and Cutler was left with a sour taste in his mouth. Cutler was instead traded to the Chicago Bears for QB Kyle Orton, a couple of 2009 draft picks, and a first round pick in 2010.
Kyle Orton was a stud in his college career at Purdue, but has not been quite as impressive since his NFL debut in 2005. However, Orton is coming off of his best season yet. In 2008 he threw for a career high 2,972 yards, 58.5 comp. %, while throwing for 18 TDs to 12 INTs. But compare that to Jay Cutlers 2008 stats, (4,526 yards, 25 TDs, 18 INTs, 62.3 comp. %) and it's easy to wonder if Denver's passing game will be half as effective as it was in 2008. Then again, Orton will be playing behind an O-line that is typically known for imposing their will on the opposing defensive linemen. Also, Orton will be working with a more talented WR corps in Denver, with or without Brandon Marshall. Only time will tell whether Orton will do better or worse than his breakout 2008 campaign.
Another noteable change in Denver's coaching staff this offseason, was the hiring of former 49ers HC Mike Nolan as their DC. Nolan will attempt to repair a defense that has been less than stellar the past couple years. Under Nolan, the defense will be switching from the 4-3 to the 3-4. It still remains to be seen whether they have the right personnel to effectively make the transition, or if they will have trouble adjusting.
Denver has made some strides this offseason. They aquired veteren FS Brian Dawkins from the Philadelphia Eagles. Dawkins is a 7 time Pro Bowler and should make a huge difference in Denvers secondary along side veteran CB Champ Bailey. They also aquired OLB Robert Ayers and RB Knowshon Moreno in the first round of the draft. Although Moreno is buried on Denvers depth chart, it will be interesting to see what impact if any he'll make in the 2009 season.
I'd like to hear some opinions on whether or not Denver will struggle in 2009 due to all of the changes they've endured. Personally, I think they will have some trouble adjusting, and are probably headed for a rough season, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
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