Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
They can, because…
Addition by subtraction
John Elway has yet to let his team down and he’s not about to start now when it matters most. What happens this offseason will be vital in keeping the Broncos’ championship window open and Elway knows it.
He won’t be able to throw around cash to his heart’s content, but Elway has proven that he has a knack for working out contracts that are friendly to the present and future of the team.
That knack should lend Elway more leeway to work with the Broncos’ salary cap number, thus allowing himself more opportunity to sign true impact-players in free agency, despite losing stars like Julius Thomas in the process.
Elway decided to clean house after the Broncos’ loss in the divisional round and it’s going to pay dividends for his Super Bowl hopeful team. He and former head coach John Fox “mutually parted ways”, Adam Gase hit the road for Jacksonville for another offensive coordinating gig, and Jack Del Rio is now running things out west for divisional rival Oakland Raiders.
In their respective places sit Elway’s “guys” in head coach Gary Kubiak, OC Rick Dennison, and DC Wade Phillips. Another great pickup is former Houston Texans’ defensive line coach Bill Kollar, who is an absolute huge steal for the Broncos.
Regardless, all were handpicked by Elway with the current state of the roster in mind, as well as the future of the organization. They each fit the team perfectly and have all, at some point, had high levels of success in their careers.
In short, the Broncos finally have a coaching staff that matches their product on the field.
Denver’s upcoming regular season schedule, as a whole, is fairly difficult. It ranks as the third hardest in the NFL, per Evan Massey of FanSided, coming in just behind the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.
Still, it’s not as much of a bear as the Broncos’ 2014 schedule was, one which featured a grueling five-week stretch of playoff hopefuls and divisional rivals, with three of those games coming on the road.
Looking at their new schedule, Denver will have tough opponents to play on the road like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Colts, and the Detroit Lions, but it’s their home schedule that will give the Broncos a considerable boost.
For the first time since the 2011 regular season, the Patriots will have to play in Denver (Can you believe it?). Not only that, though, but the Broncos also get to host a plethora of top teams in the NFL. The likes of the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, and Cincinnati Bengals will have to make the trip to the Mile High City.