I got together with the lead editor of the Denver Broncos fan site Predominantly Orange, Kim Constantinesco, in order to help preview the season for one of the Super Bowl favorites this season. I sent her some questions and here are her responses:
Which player(s) on roster need to step up in order for the season to be successful?
As much is made of the Broncos’ big names (Manning, Miller, Thomas, Welker, Bailey), I think a successful Broncos run this year depends a lot on the team’s offensive line. Of course there’s the issue of whether they can protect Manning and open up the run game, but can they stay healthy enough to have the opportunity to do so?
Starting center J.D. Walton went through another ankle surgery and will miss half the season, at least. The team re-signed veteran Dan Koppen to replace him. Left tackle Ryan Clady is still recovering from shoulder surgery and right tackle Orlando Franklin had offseason toe surgery. Guard Chris Kuper had another ankle surgery in the offseason as well.
The line gave up just 21 sacks in Manning’s 583 pass attempts (7th most attempts in NFL). For some perspective, the guy that was sacked the next least number of times was Eli Manning with 19 sacks, but he had 536 passing attempts.
In 2012, the team was 16th in rushing (114.5 yards per game). However, Willis McGahee is gone now.
Can the body parts hold up enough to continue to protect Manning and to generate enough power to open up some holes for rookie Montee Ball, Knowshon Moreno, and Ronnie Hillman.
What position battle(s) will you be paying attention to during training camp?
I’m really looking forward to seeing who wins out the starting right cornerback position. People assume that just because Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed with the team that he’s an automatic lock to win the spot. However, Chris Harris is one of the hardest workers in practice and he’s coming off of a great season (3 INT, 61 tackles, 2.5 sacks). DRC had 3 picks, 51 tackles, and no sacks last year.