There's real concern that the Denver Broncos could suffer a heavy fall from grace in 2016/17.
The 8th of February marked a great day for the Manning family, the city of Denver and the state of Colorado as a whole. Peyton Manning clinched his 2nd Superbowl win with the Denver Broncos (the first with the Indianapolis Colts) in a hardnosed effort against the upstart Carolina Panthers, by a scoreline of 24-10. This tremendous season experienced by the Broncos could not have been possible without Wade Phillips, the Defensive Coordinator, steering the Defence to a No. 1 ranking in total yards, passing yards, average yards per rush and sacks which was evident as the Broncos tied the NFL record of 7 sacks in a Superbowl. The team’s defence for the season is in the discussion as being one of the best of all time.
Fast forward 5 months and this team may be in jeopardy of losing its identity completely. Five time NFL MVP Manning has retired only to be replaced with a stable of mediocre quarterbacks in Trevor Siemian (you probably have no idea who the 7th round draft pick in 2015 is), Paxton Lynch (the team’s first round pick in the 2016 draft) and Mark ‘Butt fumble’ Sanchez (you know, the guy who fumbled the ball off his own teammates butt). If you don’t know what I’m on about, see the link at the bottom of the page for some entertainment/education. This was never the plan, as long time back up Brock Osweiler, the heir apparent, saw the dollars being offered by the Houston Texans, packed his bags and left the Broncos high and dry. Respect has to be given to General Manager John Elway who recognised that Osweiler wasn’t a star Quarterback and wasn’t going to pay him as such. To make matters worse, the Defence which became the identity of the team has been hit with its share of losses. Defensive End Malik Jackson who played an often unsung yet vital role in the all time calibre defence was shown the cheese by the Jacksonville jaguars and signed a juicy $85.5 million contract with $42m guaranteed. Owen Daniels, Ryan Clady, Luis Vasquez, Danny Trevathan, David Bruton are among other players who were released and will have an impact on the cohesion of the squad as a whole.
One of the most underrated elements of foreseeing a team’s success in an NFL season is their strength of schedule. The Broncos AFC West division contains the Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders. The Chargers with their improved defence, The Chiefs who were a strong unit last season and the young gun Raiders improving every year will not make it easy for the Broncos. The performance of a modern day NFL franchise hinges much more on its quarterback that in years past. The aforementioned stable of mediocrity the broncos are keeping at quarterback and chemistry issues the team faces going into the next season do not bode well for the reigning defending Superbowl champions. Throw in games against the Panthers, Colts, Bengals, Texans and Patriots throughout the season and you can see why this pundit has a strong lean on the Broncos winning 9 games at most this season.