Denver Broncos 2009 Preview
The Denver Broncos have had one of the worst off seasons in recent memory and it’s not over yet. Given that they traded away Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler, they aren’t going to be favored too often when it comes to NFL betting odds – as a matter of fact, they are three-point underdogs to the Bengals in the latest week 1 odds.
With a porous defense, an offense with a questionable quarterback, dissention in the locker room and no identity, the Broncos are definitely off on the wrong foot in the Josh McDaniels era.
The Broncos had a huge roster overhaul this off-season, which is never good for consistency. Obviously, losing Cutler, the team leader, will hurt but the Broncos lost quite a bit of other personnel.
Dre Bly, Marlon McCree, Karl Paymah, and Erik Pears are just a few of the names that are gone. McDaniels spent quite a bit of time handpicking the players he wants for his roster so he better produce some results or I’m betting management won’t let his honeymoon phase last too long.
While McDaniels is a supposed offensive genius, we’ll see what he’s made of without Bill Belichick. We’ll also see how good the Broncos offensive line and running game is without Mike Shanahan.
The Broncos appear to be heading into the season with Kyle Orton as their starter, which is a big step down from Cutler. While the offensive line is good and the stable of running backs is healthy, the wide receiver crop might be thinned out if the Broncos trade Brandon Marshall, who no longer wants to play in Denver.
This is a team that for years never had to worry about their running game but now all of the sudden it has to be questioned. There won’t be any more guaranteed 1000-yard backs now that Shanahan is gone.
The Broncos defense was absolutely deplorable last year and with the plan to switch over to a 3-4 defense in ’09, they aren’t going to be much better this year. Some wonder why the Broncos have such low Super Bowl odds, mainly because everyone understands that the first year in the switch to a 3-4 is always ugly, especially if a team is trying to get by without the key elements to such a defensive scheme. The Broncos don’t have the parts for a 3-4 defense, particularly a nose tackle. Most of their front seven aren’t used to playing in this system, which means that they could be really thin up front if (and when) this transition doesn’t work out.
The Broncos added Andre Goodman and Brian Dawkins to the secondary, but both players are names at best. Dawkins is over the hill while Goodman is a marginal starter.
A best case scenario in Denver is that their offense remains elite while their defense somewhat improves. That would mean that Kyle Orton is better than the entire planet Earth believes he is, and that Marshall ends his holdout and is completely healthy after off-season hip surgery.
If that doesn’t happen, then McDaniels will be on the hot seat by the end of the season, if he’s not already in the eyes of the fans. The Broncos defense is going to be amongst the worst in the league, and if the offense isn’t decent the Broncos will be a good sports pick to finish with one of the worst records in the NFL.