The Denver Broncos have had a very busy offseason. While the team should look far different, here are three more moves they could possibly make…
The Denver Broncos are going to have a very different looking team from the one that last took the field on New Years Day. Since the finale vs. the Raiders, the Broncos have seen nearly the entire offensive coaching staff move on, including head coach Gary Kubiak.
Vance Joseph was hired to lead the team moving forward, and brought with him some of the best coordinators and position coaches in the business. Mike McCoy was brought back to be the offensive coordinator after being let go by the San Diego Chargers. As if that wasn’t enough, Bill Musgrave, who coordinated one of the most potent offenses in the league a year ago for the Raiders, was brought in as the quarterbacks coach. The goal; build and develop their first round pick, Paxton Lynch
Jeff Davidson was hired on from San Diego to be the offensive line coach. Davidson has done a phenomenal job at every stop he’s made in the league. He was the offensive line coach for Adrian Peterson during his 2000-yard season, and again in 2015 when the Vikings won the division. Based on the performance on the offensive line of the Broncos since mid-2014 up until last year, his presence should be greatly welcomed.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was allowed to leave, as his contract was not renewed. He headed west to the Los Angeles Rams, and Joe Woods was promoted from the defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator. Aside from Phillips, the vast majority of the defensive staff was retained as the Broncos have had the number one defense in the NFL now for two years running.
Joe DeCamillis was not brought back either, and was replaced by a first time special teams coordinator in Brock Olivo. Olivo was the understudy to Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub. Toub was one of three candidates interviewed for the Broncos head coaching vacancy, along with Joseph and now San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Toub is regarded as one of the finest special teams coordinators in all of football, so Olivo has clearly learned from a great one.
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As for the players on the field, the Broncos have mainly stayed the course on defense. There have been a few additions to supplement some weak areas, while staying with the same core that has done such a tremendous job for the past few years. They did see captain, and future Hall-of-Famer DeMarcus Ware retire after an injury plagued final season. They also lost Nose Tackle Sylvester Williams to the Tennessee Titans after they declined his fifth year option.
Despite the losses, the Broncos were able to add some serious beef to the defensive line. They signed a low-risk, but high reward deal with Indianapolis NT/DE Zach Kerr. At 6’2, 311 lbs, he should help shore up the rush defense that was such a sore spot in 2016. They also added veteran Domata Peko, a NT and former captain of the Cincinnati Bengals. Peko is coming off a down year as he gets up there in age, but should still provide a consistent force in the middle of that defensive line.
In the draft, the Broncos used a second round pick on Florida State defensive end DeMarcus Walker. Walker is likely going to be a player used primarily as a sub-package pass-rusher. Like Malik Jackson in years past, it may take a few years for Walker to reach his full potential. The Broncos also expect to see a lot more of Adam Gotsis this year. Word is, he has been attacking the weight room hard and is far bigger than he was a year ago.
The offensive side of the ball is where the Broncos should look completely different. Denver did a great job, at least on paper, in addressing this offensive line. The Broncos first signing in free agency was LG Ronald Leary. Leary provides an attitude that the offensive line has been missing. He is not afraid to punch someone in the mouth in the trenches and will bring that nasty element that the offense lacks.
The Broncos followed that up by addressing the two tackle spots in the form of Menelik Watson and Garett Bolles. Watson is 6’5, 315 lbs, and like Leary, isn’t afraid to get in a street fight. The Broncos though highly enough of Bolles to draft him in the first round with the 20th selection. While Bolles could stand to add some weight, they see him as the offensive version of Derek Wolfe. Bolles is athletic as they come, and should do a great job blocking the blind side for a young quarterback. This line should be far meaner, and far nastier. The hope is for them go from one of the worst units in the league, to an above average unit, and possibly one of the best in the NFL come 2018.
As for the skill positions, the Broncos added speed speed speed. The Broncos used a third round selection to address their third wide receiver position in Carlos Henderson. Henderson was the best receiver in the country last year in breaking tackles, and has a little Odell Beckham in his game. Adding Henderson to go with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders should be lethal.
On top of that, the Broncos were able to score a first-to-second round talent at tight end in the fifth round. The Broncos selected Jake Butt, who slipped due to a torn ACL suffered in the Orange Bowl. It is unclear when Butt will be ready, but there is optimism that he could be ready for the start of the season. Butt is a tight end that can block, and is fantastic in the pass game. He’s drawn comparisons to Jason Witten, the longtime Cowboys tight end. He, along with A.J. Derby and Jeff Heuerman should provide yet another weapon for the quarterback who is yet to be determined, but likely known.
The Broncos didn’t stop there, as they added two running backs to add the their duo of C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. The Broncos drafted De’Angelo Henderson out of Coastal Carolina. They do like his speed and running style. The big move, however, was adding Jamaal Charles who was cut by Kansas City earlier this year. Charles appears to be fully recovered from the knee injury that has plagued him the past two years. If healthy, Charles is a threat to score every time he carries the ball, and is also a fantastic pass catcher out of the backfield.
This season, the Broncos play a very tough schedule, at least considering how their opponents fared a year ago. However, it is hard to see the Broncos not being better on the offensive side of the ball due to the talent influx in both coaching and player personnel that was added. With that said, there are still three names out there that would make sense for the Broncos.