The Denver Broncos Are Flying Under The Radar in 2010 With Mile Low Expectations

Kris BurkeCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2010

DENVER - AUGUST 29:  Center J.D. Walton #50 of the Denver Broncos leads the offensive line as he  prepares snap the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during preseason NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Steelers 34-17.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images


Well Broncos fans, the 2010 NFL preseason has drawn to a close and we still have absolutely no clue what to expect out of this year's edition of the Denver Broncos.  Thanks to an injury epidemic, calling what happened in Broncos a "bug" does not do it justice, it remains quite unclear how the Broncos will perform this year.

Aside from the consistently fine play by starting quarterback Kyle Orton, no starting Bronco really was able to get consistent playing time in all four exhibition games, especially at the running back position.  Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno are expected to be ready for next Sunday.  That being said, all three running backs have significant time; and the fourth, LenDale White, is now out for the season with a torn achilles tendon.

While this all seems like it spells gloom and doom for the Broncos in 2010, let's be a little optimistic here.  Coaches in the NFL often say nothing builds character on a team like facing and overcoming adversity.  Leave no doubt about it, the 2010 Denver Broncos have faced more adversity than any other team and we haven't even played a game that counts yet.

Yes, they have faced adversity, but the $64,000 question is can they overcome it?  That answer won't come until after the first few weeks of the season, but for the sake of speculation say the Broncos start off at 4-4 going into their bye week with wins over the Jaguars, Seahawks, Raiders and 49ers and losses to the Colts, Titans, Ravens, and Jets.

It's not quite the incredible 6-2 start of a year ago.  The Broncos have a brutal start to the season, so the team has a much better chance to finish strong; something teams the past two years haven't done.  No one else in the league expects the Broncos to finish strong, so they will be flying under the radar when the games really start to mean something as the season rolls on.

After all these injuries and the presumed rough start to the season, head coach Josh McDaniels can look at his players and honestly tell them, "We've weathered the storm. We had injuries and we overcame.  The first half of our season is a wash and from here on out we are 0-0 with eight games left to play.  Let's go get it."

No one would see the Broncos coming. League insiders have already left them for dead due to the massive amount of injuries suffered in camp plus their difficult early schedule. People are assuming another .500-ish season and that the Broncos won't play well late in the year, because history has not told them to believe anything otherwise.

Of course, this scenario assumes the injury situation the Broncos have been dealing with does not get worse. An injury to Orton forcing Tim Tebow into the starting lineup may not be the fatal blow to the Broncos playoff hopes as many may think, but it certainly wouldn't help given Orton's stellar preseason play and knowledge of McDaniels' offense.

The defense has already been severely wounded with the loss of Elvis Dumervil, for what is likely the entire season.  Although the Broncos hope to have him back at the end of the year when they presume to be making a playoff push.

There are no guarantees in the NFL. That's why they play the games.  There is no way of knowing how this season will turn out for the Broncos.  San Diego could flop and the Broncos cakewalk to the AFC West title.  Or the Raiders could shock everyone and come away with it (please don't throw anything at me!). No team's season goes exactly the way anyone thinks it will.

No one expected anything from the 1999 St. Louis Rams. Look how that ended up.

Don't write the obituary for the Broncos in September, Broncomaniacs.  Things happen when you least expect them.

Welcome to the 2010 NFL season! Buckle up.