Broncos loss of offensive super weapon could be telling in 08'

M VHCorrespondent IJuly 8, 2008

2007 NFL regular season

Week One

With no time outs QB Jay Cutler moves the Broncos into position to try a field goal.

With 8 seconds on the clock Jason Elam hurries the Bronco special teams unit onto the field and boots a game winning field goal, propelling Denver to a 15-14 victory over the Buffalo Bills as time runs out.

Week Two

After tying the game in regulation, Elam seizes the victory, kicking a 23 yarder in overtime, cementing the win over Oakland, 23-20.

Week Six

Elam sinks the Steelers with a game winning field goal from 49 yds out as time expires.

Broncos 31-28.

Week Sixteen

Elam’s 30 yarder in overtime this time steals a "W" from Minnesota, 22-19.

Last year, four games chalked in the Denver Broncos win column thanks to Jason Elam.

Elam was the difference between 7-9 and 3-13, quite literally.

He finished the year 27 of 31for an 87.1% average including a 50 yarder.

Thats nothing compared to the record tying 63 yarder earlier in his career, adding to over 20, 000 points he put up for the Broncos during his time there. He also set the record, scoring more points for a single team than any other man in NFL history.

At least 215 of them against Oakland.

The 3 time Pro Bowler was originally drafted by the Broncos with the 70th selection overall in the 3rd round of the 1993 NFL Draft. Though taken in the 3rd round, he currently has his cleats on display in the NFL Hall of Fame, but starting in 2008, the record setting clutch kicker will be doing his scoring for the Atlanta Falcons.

Some will remember in March, the troubled Falcons signed him away with a 4 year, $9 million dollar contract with a reported $3.3 million guaranteed.

It didn't make much of a wave at the time, so how bad is the news for Denver?

It could be catastrophic. Elam literally held the Broncos from the edge of oblivion last year.

They may have improved their team enough to be more competitive than last year, but judging by their off season moves, it would be a surprise.

Elam is gone and odds are he will be missed.

Taking his place?

That will remain and unknown for now, but currently on the roster...

2nd year kicker out of Central Florida Matt Prater who has been dumped by Detroit, Miami, Atlanta(!) And Miami again before being “snagged” by the Broncs. His NFL experience consists of being 1 for 4 in 2 years with Atlanta.

Challenging him for the starting spot is rookie kicker Garrett Hartley from Oklahoma. Hartley, a free agent, has never kicked in an NFL game.

Last word had it the Broncos were drying out, I mean, "trying out" former Colt K Mike Vanderjagt, but were not impressed enough to sign.

Still early and anything can happen, but at this stage I’d say Elam’s departure could be an ominous portent of the decline to come in Denver.


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