The Denver Broncos‘ preseason is finally over and the team will open up regular season play Sept. 7 at home against the Indianapolis Colts. The main points that Broncos fans can take away from the preseason is that this team is very deep and very good on defense, while the kicking game and return game needs vast improvement.
Denver only allowed 36 combined points in all four preseason games. This statistic shows great depth because much of the preseason did not include starters on both ends. However, the stat also shows that the Broncos will be much improved on defense during the regular season. The acquisitions of DeMarcus Ware, Aquib Talib and T. J. Ward have and will pay off for Denver.
The Broncos should also be encouraged that the only significant injury on defense was to linebacker Danny Trevathan, who should return in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. Defensively the Broncos will also benefit from the return of Von Miller, Chris Harris, Derek Wolfe, Rahim Moore and Kevin Vickerson, if Vickerson does make the cut.
The kicking game will be an eyesore for Broncos fans during the first four games because of the suspension of Matt Prater. However, this should not affect the team in the win-loss column because Denver will begin 3-1 regardless if Prater was playing or not. The only possible exception would be if Denver needs a game-tying or game-winning field goal at the Seattle Seahawks, which should not be a realistic scenario.
Losing Trindon Holliday to the New York Giants will prove to be a huge loss for Denver’s return game in 2014. Nobody has shown they are capable of doing a good job returning both kickoffs and punts during the preseason, with the exception of Jordan Norwood, who suffered a season-ending injury during a preseason practice. It appears that Denver will rely on Omar Bolden and Isaiah Burse to handle these duties unless the team decides to bring a player in who is not currently on the roster.
Two other stories developed in the preseason as well. Wes Welker did suffer his third concussion since November of 2013 in Week 3 of the preseason against the Houston Texans. Welker should have retired because this is an issue that does not look good for him long-term. Odds are that Welker will most likely suffer another concussion due to the position he plays on the field, which will almost certainly end is career and likely will give him permanent problems in his life after football.
It is understandable that Welker wants to finish out his contract for two primary reasons. Welker has never received that big-money contract that every player dreams of and he has never won a championship in the NFL. Welker has too much of a chip on his shoulder to stop playing football right now.
Welker was on the Denver sideline at the Dallas Cowboys in the preseason finale, and based on comments made by head coach John Fox, it appears Welker could be ready for a return early in the regular season. The Broncos should be fine even if they choose to sit Welker through the Week 4 bye because of the strong play of Emmanuel Sanders, Andre Caldwell and Cody Latimer during the preseason.
The other story that developed for the Broncos during the preseason is that this team has a new attitude. Like it or not, that attitude in Denver is here to stay. After being very quiet during the offseason, the Broncos clearly showed that they will not be pushed around the way they were during the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning has taken on a leadership that we have not seen from him during his tenure. Manning has made a statement that this is his team and that he will do anything to stick up for it, including calling his teammates out in a press conference and getting a taunting penalty and fine in order to support them.
The good thing is that the dreadful preseason is finally over and it is time to play some real football. The Broncos look primed to make another run at a championship in 2014.