The Denver Broncos finished the 2013 season breaking records and getting to the Super Bowl. Then they got routed by the Seattle Seahawks by being brutally slaughtered 43-8. Amazing the game went his way considering the Broncos were a scoring machine but from the first snap that went into the end zone, it was one disaster after another. Any given Sunday and I would bet that the Denver Broncos beat the Seahawks 9 put of 10 times but unfortunately the Super Bowl is a “won and done” tournament and never is a good barometer for crowning the best team of any NFL season. GM John Elway had a great free agency and draft and all eyes will be on Denver and the favorite team to make it back to the Super Bowl. Read my article, 2014 Denver Broncos NFL Draft Report Card and Player Analysis and see why I thought GM Elway had a great draft day.
Impact free agency will play in the Broncos 2014 season
The Broncos added the exact players that will make them a great bet the entire season. Losing WR Eric Decker will hurt as he was a big bodied receiver that made clutch catches. Elway tries to limit the impact of the New York Jets signing him by poaching WR Emmanuel Sanders from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Broncos are very comfortable running short slants, screens and dump down passes to the flats so they will work Sanders into the offense very easily and I think Sanders will have a pro bowl year. The loss of RB Knowshon Moreno seems to be a mistake and I would have liked the Broncos to try and keep him or they should have went after Giants RB Andre Brown or Vikings RB Toby Gerhart but Elway was close to the salary cap and probably made the best short term and long term decision thinking that RB Monte Ball would be fine for a team hat will be generally throwing the ball 70% of the time.
Establishing a pass rush
Broncos had a tough time establishing a consistent pass rush with the sub-par play of Von Miller. To make up for that and the loss of DEs Robert Ayers and Jeremy Mincey, Elway signs future Hall of Fame DE DeMarcus Ware. This is a risky move bringing in a player going on his 9th season and releasing two players that are in their athletic prime. Will be interesting to see if DE Ware is the player he is advertised to be. I don’t feel great with this move.
Rebuilding the secondary
Denver had huge secondary issues and Elway decides to solve them by drafting CB Bradley Roby who slid down because of off field issues and signs two studs, CB Aqib Talib and SS T.J. Ward. This instantly upgrades the weakest part of the Broncos defense and if Von Miller returns to his Pro Bowl play, the Broncos are going to be good on both sides of the ball. DT Marvin Austin has been a bust player due to injuries, moving around the league and some off the field incidents. Elway hopes to discipline this player and it is a low risk/high reward move. Austin could be the missing piece of the puzzle preventing teams from being able to run the A and B gap and will allow stunt blitzes and other creative defensive schemes by the Broncos.
Players lost in the off season to other teams
- Robert Ayers, DE–5th season, signed by The New York Giants
- Champ Bailey, CB–15th season, signed by The New Orleans Saints
- Zane Beadles, G–4th season, signed by The Jacksonville Jaguars
- Eric Decker, WR–4th season, signed by The New York Jets
- Trindon Holliday, WR–4th season, signed by The New York Giants
- Jeremy Mincey, DE–6th season, signed by The Dallas Cowboys
- Knowshon Moreno, RB–5th season, signed by The Miami Dolphins
- Shaun Phillips, DE–10th season, signed by The Tennessee Titans
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB–6th season, signed by The New York Giants
- Wesley Woodyard, MLB–6th season, signed by The Tennessee Titans
Players signed in free agency from other teams
- Marvin Austin, DT–4th season, signed from The Dallas Cowboys
- Emmanuel Sanders, WR–4th season, signed from The Pittsburgh Steelers
- Aqib Talib, CB–6th season, signed from The New England Patriots
- T.J. Ward, SS–4th season, signed from The Cleveland Browns
- DeMarcus Ware, DE–9th season, signed from The Dallas Cowboys
Can The Denver Broncos make it to the playoffs in 2014?
The Broncos are a great bet to make another run at the Super Bowl. I think the whole key will be the health of WR Wes Welker. His propensity for getting concussed is a bit scary and he balances the offensive attack and makes defenses less prone to blitz. We all know that Peyton Manning is lethal when given time to pass the ball. Without Welker, the defense can give up the middle and pressure Manning which is exactly what happened in the Super Bowl. I think overall the Broncos improved their team but I still wonder if letting WR Decker walk could be the key for Manning’s pass attack. I still think Denver has the best chance of any team in the NFL repeating.
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