After winning their last eleven regular season games, the Denver Broncos appeared to have had everything figured out. Between having the best defense in the AFC while have Peyton Manning as their fearless leader, the Broncos became the overwhelming favorites to win it all. However, when it finally came time for the Broncos to display their dominance in the first round of the playoffs, they historically failed to live up to the hype. Granted, the Broncos weren’t blown out or decisively beaten in a disgraceful fashion. Rather, the eventual Super Bowl Champions outplayed them in critical moments while the Broncos simultaneously made unforgiveable errors of their own that ultimately deflated the morale of this surging team. Yet, even with this shocking loss to a team that appeared to be banged up and weakened, the Broncos still believed and knew that they could have gone the distance. They had all the weapons and potential to give Denver its first Super Bowl victory since 1998. They had one of the best quarterbacks at the helm of their franchise that single handedly rejuvenated this team back to its former glory. However, when it mattered most, the Broncos lacked the discipline and proper execution to garner a victory that most believed would be an inevitable cakewalk.
Since then, Peyton Manning and the Broncos have orchestrated and developed a more dynamic approach to make sure what happened last season won’t be repeated in the playoffs this year, assuming they get that far. Instead of revamping the whole system, the Broncos have attempted to emulate a similar offensive environment that Manning was highly successful with back in Indianapolis. More specifically, the Broncos free agency acquisition of Wes Welker was vital in giving Manning a similar security blanket he had in Reggie Wayne throughout the majority of his tenure with the Colts. While Welker’s presence is certainly a relief for an aging Manning, it is also a breath of fresh air for a receiving corps that has lacked veteran leadership. Although not the biggest receiver, Welker’s quick-minded instincts and his distinctive quickness make him a nagging frustration for any secondary to cover. If Welker’s prolific receiving abilities can match Manning’s hand cannon of an arm, this dynamic duo has the potential to do what Brady and Welker never accomplished with each other; to win a desired championship.
While the Broncos have deliberately gone with a more experienced approach when it comes to passing and receiving, they have made it even more abundantly clear that they wish to go in the opposite direction when it comes to their running game. Despite the fact that Willis McGahee had been an instrumental part of the Broncos rushing attack since he left the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, his season ending injury in week 11 against the San Diego Chargers made his reinvigorated abilities obsolete. After McGahee was waived last month due health concerns, the Broncos decided then and there that they would utilize their newly acquired draft pick. Selected in the second round with the 58th overall pick, Montee Ball has proven throughout his collegiate career that he is the real deal. A two-time consensus All American, Ball has proficiently displayed his innate talents with a high degree of consistency and insatiable running power. Between his accolades of garnering the most touchdowns by a running back (77) and the most career touchdowns (83) in NCAA Division I football along with his numerous Big Ten Conference recognitions, Ball unquestionably has the tenacity and provocative abilities to be an intimidating force in the NFL.
Even with these promising players, the Broncos still have to contend with their division opponents as well. Although the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders will most likely remain stagnant this year, the Kansas City Chiefs look to bounce back from their embarrassing regular season woes after they finished 2-14 overall. After receiving Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers and hiring Andy Reid shortly after his termination from the Philadelphia Eagles, the Chiefs have finally found a stable head coach and a supremely accurate quarterback that seek to give this franchise and its fans the success it deserves.
In the end, while the Broncos have immense challenges and a long regular season ahead of them before they can begin to think about retribution, the fact that they fought through last seasons disappointments to improve themselves in several facets of their game is a promising sign. Rather than succumbing to the lambasting and outrage from the fans and media alike, the Broncos regrouped and forged a new and improved squad which has the potential to out due what last years team accomplished. If Peyton Manning and the Broncos can adjust and fully implement these intriguing changes into their organization, they have a chance to ride off into the sunset with the championship they feel they deserve.