Denver Broncos: Are They Contenders in '08?

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Denver Broncos: Are They Contenders in '08?

The Denver Broncos have been known over the past few years as contenders. They have been AFC champ's six times, twice a super bowl champ, and consistently have made the playoffs.

So why are they slipping now within the last two years since the 2005 AFC championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers?

There are many reasons why this team is having a hard time. For one, they have been sustaining many injuries over the past two years, from Al Wilson, to Javon Walker, to the tragic death of a great cornerback Darrent Williams. This team has seen its share of unfortunate events.

But what has happened with the Denver Broncos and the mystic about this team? The feeling that every time you enter the Mile High Stadium no matter if you are the New England Patriots, or the Pittsburgh Steelers, you are destined to lose?

There can be many answers, but my simple one is too much change and too much youth. The Denver Broncos have one of the youngest offenses in the NFL and that will lead to some inconsistency sometimes.

But the great news is, and I mean great, is that the third year for a young player is his breakout year. Especially with Mike Shanahan. Under him, many players have thrived in their third year. Just look at the chart.


QBs IN THIRD SEASON UNDER MIKE SHANAHAN
Year
Position
Team
QB (Yr.)
Team Rec.
Playoffs
Notes
1982
Off. Coord.
Florida
Wayne Peace (3rd)
8-3
Bluebonnet Bowl (L)
School-record 70.7 completion percentage
1986
Off. Coord.
Denver
John Elway (3rd)
11-5
Super Bowl XXI (L)
First Pro Bowl selection, ninth in NFL in passing yards (3,485)
1991
Off. Coord.
Denver
John Elway (3rd)
12-4
AFC Championship Game (L)
Pro Bowl, eighth in NFL in passing yards (3,253)
1994
Off. Coord.
Steve Young (3rd)
13-3
Super Bowl XXIX (W)
NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, Pro Bowl, first in NFL in passer rating (112.8)
1997
Head Coach
Denver
John Elway (3rd)
12-4
Super Bowl XXXII (W)
Pro Bowl, fourth in NFL in TD passes (career-high 27), sixth in NFL in passing yards (3,635)
2001
Head Coach
Denver
Brian Griese (3rd)
8-8
None
Eighth in NFL in TD passes (career-high 23)
2005
Head Coach
Denver
Jake Plummer (3rd)
13-3
AFC Championship Game (L)
Second in NFL in INT avoidance (1.5) and set club record with 229 consecutive passes without INT, seventh in NFL in passer rating (90.2), selected to Pro Bowl after injuries

Third-year won-loss record (seven seasons): 77-30 (.720)

So is this the year for Cutler? I along with many others say yes. He is already under the radar for what he can do. Now with his diabetes, people will even think more that he cannot perform. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

He has gotten his strength back and his weight back up. Also, do not forget about Brandon Marshall, as long as he can stay out of trouble he will be in the top five for receivers. I see an amazing year for Marshall this year. I am talking about 14 TD's and 1500 yds. receiving.

Do not listen to all the other media when they say that the Broncos will have a losing record this year and won't make the playoffs. Look at all the young talent they have that will only get better over time.

Here are some names for you that have proven themselves. Elvis Dumervile, Jarvis Moss, Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Selvin Young, D.J Williams, Tony Scheffler. Also the rookies look to be coming along as well too. Ryan Clady and Eddie Royal should contribute immediately and should be a pleasure to watch.

The Broncos have the talent and the coach, they will soon catch up to the Chargers maybe this year or next. Look for the Denver Broncos to have an 11-5 or 10-6 record this year based on the schedule.

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