The release of the 2012 Denver Broncos Training Camp schedule means the final countdown to football season is officially on.
Camp will begin on Thursday, July 26th and runs through Friday, August 17th. Preseason games start on August 9th, and the date we all have circled on our calendars is the nationally televised Sunday night regular season opener against the Steelers on September 9th.
It’s going to be one of the most exciting preseasons in the history of the franchise and there will be no shortage of storylines. Dove Valley will once again be the unofficial home for a large continent of the national media in 2012. Every Broncos storyline will of course center on Peyton Manning, but there are plenty of other things I’m going to be watching very closely during camp.
Here are my top storylines (aside from Manning) to watch for during the 2012 preseason, in no particular order:
- Knowshon Moreno and the running back situation. This may be the last chance Moreno has to make it in Denver, let alone the NFL. He’s largely underachieved during his time with the Broncos and he’s struggled to stay healthy. With Willis McGahee establishing himself as the starter and the rookie Ronnie Hillman looking to be a difference maker this season, this is the biggest training camp of Moreno’s career.
- The growth of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Thomas introduced himself to the nation in a big way during the 2011 playoffs, and with Manning coming aboard this should be the season where he vaults himself into the elite group of NFL wide receivers. Decker should also make a much bigger impact, and this underappreciated wide receiver group has a good chance of proving a lot of doubters wrong in 2012.
- The new tight ends Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme. I can’t wait to see a Denver tight end making a big impact on the field once again, and we have a good chance of seeing both of these guys become prolific members of the offense. It will also be very interesting to see how production is split between these two.
- Von Miller’s return from injury. The reigning defensive rookie of the year should be an absolute terror once again this season, and now he has two healthy hands to work with. Philip Rivers, Matt Cassel, and Carson Palmer will be having nightmares about Miller in a few short months.
- The revamped secondary. The defensive backfield has quickly become one of the deepest groups on the team with the additions of Tracy Porter, Mike Adams, and Drayton Florence. But they will also have to deal with the loss of team leader Brian Dawkins.
- Derek Wolfe. The Broncos need someone to come in and make a big impact in the interior of the defensive line. If Wolfe turns into a big time playmaker, he could be the missing piece of the puzzle to the roster overhaul that has greatly improved almost every other position.
- How the defense deals with the D.J. Williams suspension. I’m curious to see how Jack Del Rio will adjust the lineup during the time that Williams misses. Hopefully someone steps up and makes a name for himself.
I’m going to take some time off prior to the start of the preseason, but I will be back and better than ever for training camp. Go Broncos!
Tags: Brian Dawkins D.j. Williams Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos Derek Wolfe Drayton Florence Eric Decker Jack Del Rio Jacob Tamme Joel Dreessen Knowshon Moreno Mike Adams Mile High Monday Peyton Manning Tracy Porter Training Camp Von Miller