Rest easy football fans! Training camp is here.
Its always amazing to me to see how many people thirst for Broncos football. Today, training camp opened up at Dove Valley with nearly 2000 people cramming the sidelines at Broncos headquarters to watch their favorite team practice. Most of the time, practice is not very exciting. Tossing the football around, running drills and hitting the sleds for three hours isn't most peoples idea of a good time. But for Broncos fans, its heaven on earth. I respect that about Broncos fans here in Colorado. True Orange and Blue!.
I get asked every day, "How are the Broncos going to do?" My answer is never a crowd pleaser. Truthfully, I don't think the Broncos are good enough to go to the Super Bowl. I don't think they're good enough to win the division. Heck, I am not sure they'll make the playoffs. The Patriots, Colts, Chargers, Ravens and Bengals are all better than the Broncos. If that's true, Denver will be fighting with the Jaguars, Chiefs, Steelers and Jets for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. I think they have a good shot at being the team that makes the playoffs, but some things have to go their way:
1) Jay Cutler has to make good decisions with the football. Nothing kills a team like turnovers.
2) The offensive line has to stay healthy. Last year's injury to Matt Lepsis really hurt. Tom Nalen is on his last legs. The young guys have to step up and play well. Erik Pears and Chris Kuper have big roles and will go a long way in how successful the Broncos are in 2007
3) Broncos have to find new leaders, FAST! The loss of Al Wilson and Rod Smith (who may not play in my opinion) will hurt. Champ Bailey and John Lynch will fill the void on defense. But who will be the go-to guy on offense? Jay Cutler? That's scary.
4) Javon Walker has to put the Darrent Williams tragedy behind him. Walker has taken Darrent's death harder than anyone on the team. He hasn't talked to the media since that night. Hopefully he channels that into a tribute season to his late friend and produces a Pro Bowl season
5) Pass Rush. Will the new editions (Jarvis Moss, Marcus Thomas, Tim Crowder, Sam Adams) help the Broncos put more pressure on the quarterback? They were one of the worst in this category last year. If they can get to the QB once in a while, the duo of Champ Bailey and Dre Bly will be awesome! If the big fellas up front can't put pressure on the QB, Bailey and Bly will be ineffective
Those are my concerns. I do however think the Broncos are an improved team. Travis Henry is the best running back Denver has had since Clinton Portis. Daniel Graham will help create holes and catch a few TD passes. Bly and Champ are two of the best in the business.
In conclusion, the Broncos will be a playoff "bubble" team in 2007. But once a team gets to the playoffs, anything can happen. Anyone remember 1997? Denver makes the playoffs as a wildcard team, then runs the table en route to a Super Bowl win!
It can happen. But it will take a lot of good fortune!
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Until next time, keep living the dream!
Jesse Kurtz, KKTV Sports Anchor/Reporter