Denver Broncos picked as most improved AFC West team by PFF
The Denver Broncos were picked as the most improved team in the AFC West by Pro Football Focus after all the moves they made this offseason…
Just one offseason removed from winning a Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos were a completely different team on paper. Losing as many free agents as they did, the expectations for the 2016 Broncos were a lot different than the Peyton Manning-led 2015 squad.
Regardless of his talent, the expectation with Manning on the roster was that the Broncos would compete for a title. Without Manning on the roster? It was anyone’s guess how the team would do.
Because of the Broncos’ elite defense, many (like myself) expected the Broncos to still compete for an AFC West title in 2016. They won nine games this past season, but finished third place in one of the toughest divisions in football.
Nine wins would have been enough to win the AFC South last season, but the Broncos missed the postseason and it was probably for the best. Gary Kubiak retired, and the Broncos completely overhauled their coaching staff. Not only that, but John Elway made some big time changes to the offensive line, adding three new starters in Garett Bolles (left tackle), Ronald Leary (guard), and Menelik Watson (right tackle).
The message this offseason has been clear, and it’s that the Broncos want to get bigger, faster, and tougher on both sides of the football. The improvements made by the Broncos this offseason did not go unnoticed by Pro Football Focus, which named the Broncos the most improved team in the AFC West this offseason:
"The AFC West wasn’t a big player in free agency, with the most significant additions for most teams coming via the draft. Each team has at least one significant addition, but the team that clearly went to work addressing an area of weakness is the Denver Broncos. They added Ronald Leary to address a weakness at guard, and then grabbed Garett Bolles with their top pick to fix their left tackle problem. Leary didn’t allow a single sack in 2016, compared to the four that Max Garcia did playing left guard for the Broncos. Carlos Henderson also has the ability to make an impact early, as he led all FBS wide receivers last season in broken tackles, with 48, 22 more than anybody else."
The Broncos talked this offseason about adding ‘juice’ to the offense, and they did just that, not only by adding Bolles but by bringing in players like Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie, and of course — Jamaal Charles.
Free agency wasn’t the most eventful for the Broncos, but they got better on the offensive and defensive lines before bringing some much needed playmakers through and after the draft.