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ESPN's NFL Power Rankings: Denver Broncos Have Much to Prove in 2011

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ESPN's NFL Power Rankings: Denver Broncos Have Much to Prove in 2011
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As the summer draws to a close, football is in the air in Denver, CO.

The NFL Power Rankings compiled by ESPN.com were released on Wednesday as today marks the opening of the 2011 NFL preseason. Experts have the Broncos near the bottom of the league, ranked at 27.

NFL blogger for ESPN.com, Paul Kuharsky eluded that the 2011 season would be marred by the continuous discussion of the Tebow vs. Orton controversy. Some might say that the debate is the most widely discussed controversy in the league so far this year. However, I believe that the Broncos are already over it. It's the media who tries to drag anybody with an opinion about Tebow into the debate.

On the field it's another story. The first team offense is going to get behind any head coach John Fox inserts in there. Tebow will most likely be learning on the sideline during all of 2011—unless Kyle Orton has a major meltdown midseason or is injured.

Instead of focusing on who will be their quarterback, the Broncos are working hard to avenge their poor performances in 2010. The Broncos have a lot of pride. They have pride in themselves and pride in what they know they can accomplish as a team.

The 2010 season was a disaster—one of the worst in Broncos' history—something the veteran players know all too well, which is why they have fully bought in to Coach Fox's game plan.

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AFC West blogger for ESPN.com, Bill Williamson believes that an NFL power ranking of 27 is a fair assessment of where the Broncos are at so far. He also believes that unless they can prove that they have made enough necessary changes to win the division that they will remain near the bottom of the rankings.

As we can see from the Broncos' first depth chart of the NFL preseason, some of Fox's latest additions have made an immediate impact. They believe in the Broncos and are joining them in their search to return to greatness. Brodrick Bunkley and Ty Warren figure to get major playing time at the nose tackle position. Another area of major improvement was at tight end where Daniel Fells sits atop the depth chart after practicing with the Broncos for less than a week.

One of the Broncos biggest offseason acquisitions around the Mile High City was running back Willis McGahee. His presence in the Broncos backfield immediately adds scoring power—especially in the red zone. His veteran leadership will make the young Knowshon Moreno better and will enable Fox to operate his power running schemes on offense to wear down defenses.

Recent draft picks Von Miller, Rahim Moore and Orlando Franklin—all first and second-round picks—have risen to the top of the depth chart and will have the opportunity to instantly shine.

As bad as 2010 was for the Broncos, in 2011 they will make major strides. They have made significant changes to improve both sides of the ball in areas of weakness and the players still have a prideful passion to represent the Rocky Mountain region.

While the experts' NFL power ranking of the Broncos is fair, I believe before the start of the regular season the Broncos are going to be making their way up the rankings and begin proving the nay-sayers and doubters wrong.

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