Has any team had a more tumultuous camp then the Denver Broncos? HBO must be really disappointed that this season’s Hard Knocks isn’t about the Broncos. What a soap opera we have going on in the Mile High city! Everyday there seems to be a new surprise and none of them a welcome one. First came the news of executives Matt Russell and Tom Heckert! Both were charged with DWI within a month of one another.
Next, Von Miller was suspended for failing the leagues substance abuse policy. Miller is currently appealing and both the team and many pundits believe Miller will be playing in game one. However, we’re still waiting. As of now, he is still suspended for the first four games of this Superbowl or bust season.
Then came the news of Dan Koppen’s season ending injury. Koppen was already the starting center by default due to J.D. Walton’s unexpected need for another ankle surgery. The team was forced to sign Steve Vallos and also go after retired offensive lineman, Ryan Lilja. Fortunately, the Broncos also have Manny Ramirez in the stable as well. Still, Ramirez has never started an NFL game at center and Vallos has actually started less than a full season’s worth of games in his five years as a pro. Lilja does bring experience to this group but here’s the catch, most of that experience was at the guard position.
So, Miller should be coming back, the disgraced executives have been dealt with and suspended (Russell was suspended indefinitely) and now steps have been taken to mitigate the damage done by Dan Koppen’s injury. Whew… we’re in the clear, right?
No, not yet. Only two days later Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie went down with an ankle sprain. Fortunately, the sprain seems to be a minor one and Rodgers-Cromartie should be ready even before the season starts. The Broncos have a lot of depth in the defensive back department as well. So, that injury wouldn’t have been a complete disaster but Rodgers-Cromartie was brought in to anchor the cornerback corps and allow Chris Harris and possibly Quentin Jammer to improve Denver’s tight end coverage. Having him on the field should have a tremendous impact so let’s hope he does in fact return.
Just yesterday Joel Dreesen came up lame and appears to be out at least two weeks. It looks as though he has had a set back in his recovery from off season kneecap surgery. Apparently, Jacob Tamme suffered a pulled quad a week ago as well. Again, tight end is a very deep position on this Bronco team but depth can easily change with injuries and the Broncos are starting to get really good at producing them.
All of these injuries only ten days into camp? It certainly shows you how difficult getting to a Superbowl can be. It’s about talent and preparation, of course, but it’s also about luck and being hot and healthy at the right time. There is a lot of camp left and a long season ahead. Last season did not end the way the Broncos would have liked and so far this season is not off to the ideal start either. For an anxious Bronco fan none of this is providing relief. The fans realize this 2013 campaign is most likely Peyton Mannning’s last chance at a Lombardi trophy… and with Peyton’s fortunes rest Bronco nations.