5 Questions Facing The Denver Broncos
5 Questions Facing The Denver Broncos
Super Bowl or Bust.
This seems to be the consensus mantra the Denver Broncos are facing as they start training camp for the upcoming season.
Loaded with stars all over the field, the Broncos' window may be closing ever so slightly with players like Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey getting up in years. Denver seems to be the odds on favorite to be hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy at season's end, and you can almost sense the urgency among them.
"This is my only shot," quipped Bailey to the Denver Post, realizing that he and the Broncos let a great opportunity slip through their hands a season ago. "I don't know what's to be said about next year. I'm looking at right now as my only shot. I hope everybody in that locker room feels the same way, because nothing's guaranteed in this league. We could all be in different places next year."
Head Coach John Fox understands that the season has its ups and downs and things don't always go to plan. "We're going to embark on a very long season and I'm sure there's going to be some adversity as well as some prosperity along the way," Fox said. "This will be no different. There's always a lot of noise. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's bad. You had better be able to focus through the noise."
It seems like the Broncos are fully aware of what is at stake this season, and the bumps in the road that are certain to accompany it. With all this in mind, the Broncos could be answering many questions at season's end if they do not end up as Super Bowl Champions.
Let's take a look at five questions the Broncos face entering the season.
5. Has Peyton Manning Regenerated Enough Strength In His Throwing Hand?
After the season Manning put together a year ago you may think this question is absurd. But is it? Manning needed to wear a glove on his throwing hand once the temperatures dipped in order to give himself a better grip on the football, and with the Super Bowl being played in New York -- in the cold -- this seems like a very fair question.
Manning and the Broncos can only hope that his grip on the football has improved with time, as he will need it come playoff time.
4. Will Ryan Clady Be In Perfect Health?
Ryan Clady's shoulder might be just as important as Manning's hand is. Clady, amazingly, played with a torn rotator cuff in the last two games of the Broncos' season, including their playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Protecting Manning is the Broncos' number one priority and they will need a healthy Clady to do it. Clady, will miss the first couple weeks of practice in training camp as the Broncos want to err on the side of caution, but he should be ready for some sort of action by the time Denver plays their second preseason game. Clady has come back from injuries in the past, only to turn in Pro Bowl seasons, so the prognosis on this front looks good.
3. How Much Will The Loss Of Elvis Dumervil Hurt?
The fax machine snafu that cost the Broncos Elvis Dumervil may still be felt late into the season. Combining with phenom Von Miller, Dumervil gave the Broncos one of the leagues best pass-rushing duos in football.
With Dumervil gone, where will Denver look to in order to generate a pass-rush of equivalent? Truth is, the Broncos' pass-rush will suffer this season. Simply put, Dumervil cannot be replaced, so the Broncos can only hope someone steps up and takes advantage of the opportunity that exists.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has said many times during the offseason that Denver will use a variety of options in order to create pressure opposite of Miller. That is of course if there is a Miller the first four games.
2. Will Von Miller Be Suspended For Four Games?
Did he? Or didn't he? I wonder how many people actually believe that Miller is innocent in his appeal of a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Miller has vehemently denied smoking marijuana (which is what reports indicate Miller is guilty of) and claims he has not done anything wrong.
Coach Fox will give Miller the benefit of the doubt until the situation has been resolved. "Right now there is no penalty to my knowledge," Fox said. "He'll get every rep with the first team until we hear something differently."
If Miller is indeed suspended for the Broncos' first four games, the pass-rush will be in serious trouble.
1. Will The Transgressions Of The Broncos Front Office Hurt The Team On The Field?
Suits manage and uniforms play. That is the basic structure of any professional sports franchise. Denver has had some trouble in the "suit" department this offseason, and although it really shouldn't hurt the team's performance you have to wonder how much of a lingering effect the mistakes made by executives Matt Russell and Tom Heckert will have.
At least one player has a logical answer. "I think the best remedy for all of it is training camp," said Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen. "Bury ourselves in our work and ignore all the nonsense that has gone on. Obviously, you can't ignore it completely. The best remedy for this is to be around your teammates and have positive influences on each other and immerse ourselves in our work."
The Broncos will need to work harder than ever to reach their ultimate goal.
Mike De Marco is a columnist for rantsports.com Follow him on Twitter @mikedemarco77 “like” Mike on Facebook and add him to your Google Network.