The agony of defeat.
After one of the most embarrassing blowouts in Super Bowl history, you wondered if the Denver Broncos could possibly recover and avoid being just another team to lose the Super Bowl and then be almost irrelevant in the playoff race the next season. Peyton Manning and the Broncos looked almost scared in their Super Bowl loss to the Seattle Seahawks, one that could be pretty much summed up in one play.
The opening snap of the game was a bad omen for the Broncos, as Manny Ramirez’s snap sailed over Manning’s head into the end zone for what ended up as a safety. From that moment on, the game was over for the Broncos. They could do nothing offensively, and the Seahawks had their way with the Denver defense.
The 2014 season is not one of revenge for the Broncos — that’s not their style. The 2014 season is about unfinished business. The Broncos know they are one of the best teams in the NFL, and they know that they have the ability to beat anyone that stands in their way. Yes, including the Seahawks.
What 2013 proved to the Broncos is that no matter how good they think they are, they aren’t invincible. The Seahawks showed Denver up on the biggest stage, and showed them how toughness and aggressiveness can make finesse and speed look silly.
All that said, the Broncos won’t change much in their approach offensively. Defensively, everything will take a 180-degree turn for the better. This is a team that is primed to do something that not many teams before them have done: lose the Super Bowl and return the next year.
This is the best Broncos team — on paper — that I have ever seen. Even better than the 2013 version. This is a team that has a chance to win a Super Bowl in 2014 and I think they will stop at nothing to get it.
Key Offseason Changes
The Broncos made a lot of significant changes this offseason, but as was previously stated, they got better. Losing Knowshon Moreno, Eric Decker, and Zane Beadles offensively will certainly be hurdles to overcome, but on paper it’s hard to deny the improvements the Broncos made.
2013 second round pick Montee Ball will take over at running back, and he’s expected to be one of the team’s biggest breakout stars offensively. In place of Decker, the Broncos signed former Pittsburgh Steelers speedster Emmanuel Sanders. Replacing Beadles on the offensive interior is former right tackle Orlando Franklin, who is playing directly next to star left tackle Ryan Clady, who returns from missing all but two games last season with an injury.
On defense, the Broncos got bigger, badder, faster, and just flat out better. The Broncos made some blockbuster moves in free agency by picking up DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and T.J. Ward, but some really big additions will come from players the Broncos already had returning from injury.
Namely, Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, Rahim Moore, Chris Harris Jr., and key role players like Quanterus Smith, Quinton Carter, and Lerentee McCray will all play key roles this season.
The Broncos will also expect rookies to play a big role this season. First round pick Bradley Roby had an up-and-down training camp but flashed some of his star qualities as the preseason came to a close. He looks like a potential starter or at least key contributor in nickel situations.
Offensively, rookie Cody Latimer will see time. He looks like an absolute star with size, speed, strong hands, and the ability to block. If Wes Welker is hurt for any amount of time, I think Latimer will get a significant number of snaps but he could factor into red zone packages as it is.
The Broncos also had undrafted free agent rookies make the team again this season. Arguably the biggest offseason need was for a punt returner, and rookie free agent Isaiah Burse will assume that role this season after Trindon Holliday and his fumbling problems departed to the New York Giants.