Denver Broncos: 5 Realistic Predictions for 2011
Despite popular opinion, the Denver Broncos will be one of the main reasons why the 2011 NFL Regular Season will be "Must-see TV." With the third toughest schedule in the league and every analyst in the business against them, the Denver Broncos look to show how a team that stays together, even in the fury of a media storm, will prevail against adversity.
During the short, post-lockout, off-season fans have failed to push past the confusion of an otherwise translucent quarterback controversy in Denver and acknowledge that John Fox and staff have put together a powerful NFL roster.
The Denver Broncos will be successful in 2011, but not for the same reasons that some bold prophets have alluded to thus far.
Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee Run Defenses into the Ground
The Prediction: Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee will take the lead as head coach John Fox's new game plan changes the look of the Denver Broncos' offense. Moreno will have his best year yet from the backfield as he rushes for over 1,400 yards.
Willis McGahee will finish drives consistently and finish the season with over 15 touchdowns.
Head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will come together and form a run-first offense that looks to decimate linebacker corps and sail past opponents' secondaries.
The Denver Broncos haven't been a run-first offense for some time now. Since the departure (firing) of Mike Shanahan, Denver's running game has slid, and slid, and slid, and now resides as one of the least successful rushing groups in the league.
This all changes in 2011 as Knowshon Moreno enters his third year—joined by newcomer Willis McGahee. Running backs have a short shelf-life in the NFL and the third year is a crucial one. At this point a tailback should be in his prime and running for the best seasons in his career.
Knowshon enters this year fully aware of the expectations and has shown nothing but promise during Broncos Training Camp. He's faster and lighter than he was in either of his previous two years. Gaps in the line seem to open before him like Moses parting the Red Sea.
Moreno's career now depends on his ability to prove to the Denver Broncos coaching staff and fans that he was worth the 12th overall pick two years before. In 2011 he will rise to the occasion and do just that.
Kyle Orton Remains Starter and Commands the Offense
The Prediction: Kyle Orton will remain the starter for the Denver Broncos during the entirety of the 2011 regular season, and will once again challenge the league for the passing title.
Just as the title implies, let's be realistic.
Kyle Orton will continue to dominate this position battle. For anyone who doesn't likely correlate domination to Kyle Orton, you must not have been watching for some time now. Maybe you've been paying a little bit too much attention to that other guy.
Even as the new-and-improved Denver running game takes shape, Kyle Orton will silence the Tim Tebow fanatics as he does exactly what he intended to do in 2010—pass for over 4,000 yards.
If Orton can pass for 3,600 yards (in only 13 games) when every member of every opposing defense knows he's going to pass the ball, just think what he can do when two dangerous tailbacks, and his own intelligent play, can make use of misdirection and play-action.
By week 4 of the 2011 regular season, nobody will be able to remember why there was ever a controversy concerning Kyle Orton's job.
Denver's Defensive Unit Returns to Glory
Prediction: The Denver Broncos defense will be one of the toughest in the league. Former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's defense was ranked seventh in overall defense in 2009, Dennis Allen's 2011 squad looks to make that season look like child's play.
Take a team that boasted greats like Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey, D.J. Williams, and Brian Dawkins. Add to that team Von Miller, Rahim Moore, and a coach that thinks, eats, breathes, and sleeps defense.
What do you get?
The 2011 Denver Broncos defense.
Critics and NFL analysts seem to forget the stellar coordination and talent on the defensive side of the ball that led the Broncos to their 6-0 start during the 2009 NFL Regular Season. The same group of skilled and athletic men take the field for Denver this year, and they've invited some friends.
Second overall pick Von Miller has already displayed an insatiable taste for hard hits, great open-field tackles, and sacking the quarterback in his short time in training camp and the preseason. What's even better is that he happens to line up behind 2009 NFL sack leader Elvis Dumervil.
Rahim Moore, during the second week of preseason against the Buffalo Bills, showed us all just how he plans to deal with receivers entering his side of the field (and racked up a hefty fine in the process,) as he delivered a nasty blow to Bills receiver Donald Jones.
There will be no shortage of smash-mouth football during the Denver Broncos regular season contests in 2011.
By the time the clock hits all zeroes against the Broncos, opposing teams are going to be hearing footsteps.
Tim Tebow Will Contribute; All Will Be Pleased
Prediction: Tim Tebow will contribute to the Denver Broncos' offensive strengths during the 2011 season. It just won't happen the way many of his fans believe it will.
Whether you're a "Tebowmaniac," or one of those elusive, almost invisible, but ever-so-talked-about "Tebow Haters,"—I think they're called critics—you're bound to be pleased by his additions to the scoreboard this year.
Just as it was in 2010, Tebow will be used as a special package, goal-line and short yardage situation, tailback. He will not come in as the prolific starting quarterback that so many fans— they might all be blind—have claimed he will.
But don't dismay loyal Superman fans, and patient Denver Broncos fans, Tebow will not disappoint.
Tim Tebow will join Willis McGahee, Brandon Lloyd, and Eric Decker as the Denver Broncos score more touchdowns than a Denver fan has seen since, well, a long time ago.
You won't have to be a crazed "Tebowmaniac" to appreciate how Tim will continue to supplement this offense. As long as the colors on the jerseys in the end-zone are blue and orange, how could any Bronco fan really be upset?
Denver Broncos Will Win the AFC West in 2011
Prediction: The Denver Broncos will come home with an AFC West Division Championship in 2011.
That's right, I said it.
I might be the only one that's making this prediction. I might also be the only one paying enough attention to the team to know this is very possible this season. I know some of you are watching, but it's hard to focus with all that "Tebow trashing" going on.
After the dust settles, and the tears are dried, the light will finally shine on what John Fox and John Elway have put together in Dove Valley.
Unfortunately for some of the teams on the Denver Broncos' schedule this year, they won't know until it's too late. Of course that's great news for the rest of us.
Don't agree? See you again in about 19 weeks.