With defensive minded head coach Vic Fangio on his way to the Mile High City, many Denver Broncos enthusiasts (myself included) expect a culture change and a hard nosed gritty style of defense. But what can be said on the other side of the ball? Will the Denver Broncos offense continue to bore? Some people think so. Others view the Broncos as a dark horse playoff team. Lets break down the offense group by group.
John Elway and company traded for veteran and long time Ravens starter Joe Flacco. A pesky injury benched the 6’6 245 lb gunslinger and he was quickly ushered out with the rise of Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. He is the unquestioned starter, being given the green light by Head Coach Fangio and Mr. Elway. Last season, Flacco threw for 2,465 yards to go with 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions before the injury.
Behind Flacco, things are a big more muddled. Veteran Kevin Hogan and rookie Drew Lock will compete for the backup position. Early reports from the Denver Broncos training camp state that Lock may be gaining the upper hand in the battle for the second quarterback spot; given the somewhat bad luck the Broncos/rookie qb relationship has been, only time will tell.
One of the more intriguing running back duos in the league last year, second year backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman are poised to eat up the bulk of the Broncos carries. Phillip Lindsay is coming off a surprise pro bowl year as the first ever undrafted rookie, and is as explosive as he is powerful. The latter, highly touted back Royce Freeman is off to a great camp as well, competing for starting reps. Devontae Booker currently is the number three back and the best pass blocker out of the three backs. The Broncos also signed recently available ex Lions rb, Theo Riddick, a pass catching specialist.
The Broncos wide receiver core was headlined and stabilized by Demaryius Thomas, who is now a Patriot. Veteran Emmanuel Sanders also had his woes. He suffered a brutal achilles injury in the twilight of the 2018-19 season, but has stayed optimistic about playing week 1. With the de-facto number 1 in Thomas traded and Sanders’ season ending injury, younger wideouts had the chance to step up. Red zone threat Courtland Sutton and speedster Dasean Hamilton will be lining up with Emmanuel Sanders if the latter is good to go week 1. River Cracraft could carve out a role on special teams.
The Denver Broncos offensive line can best be described as shaky the last few seasons, seemingly always plagued by penalties and failing to protect quarterbacks like Case Keenum, Trevor Siemian, and Paxton Lynch. However, things are looking promising after being fortified by draft pick Dalton Risner.
Munchak was the long tenured offensive line coach for the Steelers. The offensive line has picked up its play, and hopefully will be a much better unit than the previous year. Garret Bolles, the often penalized offensive tackle, has looked impressive in camp.
The last personnel group, the tight ends, might just be the most intriguing of all. Highlighted by multiple high draft pics, each of the Broncos tight ends (excluding Fant, the rookie) have spent time on the IR list. Between Fant, Jake Butt, Troy Fumagalli, and Temarrick Hemingway, Fant and Butt will be the starters. Fant has at times looked great, and at times looked forgettable. However he has the potential to develop into a matchup nightmare. He is still a rookie, and needs to adapt to the quickness, speed, and physicality of the NFL.