We are exactly one week from kicking of the 2009 season and our roster is looking great! We've upgraded the secondary, the new OLB's have all shown some ability, the d-line has held the point, pre-season or not.
Our QB position will be fine, both healthy and competent. The RB's are much more physical and we have big play ability with Buck and Knowshon. The WRs' are looking awesome, McKinley, Lloyd, nice to have that depth. The O-line looks like it's taking the longest to assimilate, hopefully they don't hurt us too bad early, but they are talented and will be fine.
Orton's injury hurts us, but it's minor and hopefully a wake up call to the rest of the roster to ratchet up their play and intensity at Cincy. It's a team game, but the QB's will be fine, most pass attempts will be "beneath" coverage not "into" coverage.
With all that said, it's a long season, an apparent brutal schedule looms and we will be trying to gel to find that crucial team identity. Training camp usually provides the bulk of a team's "lost for the season" injuries, this assumes we remain healthy (we're due for that, right?)
1 - Marcus Thomas - he's learned all of the D-line positions, the backup NT is a rook, we need Marcus to prove that he belongs in the NFL.
2 - Jack Williams - the Fonz is a rook as well, we need Jack to play smart in the slot in nickle and dime. Nolan will blitz to force the action to Champ's side, Williams will be in the slot on that side early on until the Fonz earns his chops.
3 - Olsen - McD won't keep the bigger Olson on the side if Hamilton and Weigmann aren't big enough in the middle, we might see Olson at LG and Hamilton at center in the 2nd half of the season.
4 - Lloyd - he's shown some big play flash, Gaffney is ailing, BMarsh is just getting started, we need Lloyd to make some plays in the first half of the season.
5 - Woodyard - plays special teams and nickel D, will be on the field at many crucial times. He's shown the ability, if he takes his play recognition to the next level, he's on his way to making a name for himself and helping us put up some wins.
Assuming our veterans perform at or near their best years, we have a mix of youth on this roster that could easily propel us over the top and into a winning season. Don't let Orton's arm, Cutler's departure or the schedule fool you, the Broncos are on the cusp of winning with this roster and schemes that we'll use the players in.