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Denver Broncos, Season half over or just getting started?

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It’s the mid-way point in the season for the Denver Broncos and the team is in a better position than last year, but still has some things to work on if they hope to make a Superbowl run. There is no doubt that Peyton Manning is a big improvement over Tim Tebow, but what else will it take for this team to compete for a championship?
1) The Broncos must stay healthy. There is no doubt that this team looks much better than last year, but there are a few positions on this team that an injury or 2 could really sway the Broncos season. At wide receiver the young tandem of Decker and Thomas have emerged as a formidable pair for opposing defenses and the veteran Stokely has proved to still have quite a bit left in the tank. However an injury to either Decker or Thomas could derail the Broncos hopes for a serious run in January. Both the offensive and defensive lines are playing well right now, but neither have much in the way of depth and the Broncos offensive line has already had its share of injuries and can’t sustain many more.
2) The Broncos must continue to run the ball well. The Broncos lead the league in rushing last year and that was a large part of what led them to the playoffs. This year the Broncos are currently ranked 17th in rushing, not bad considering the amount of passing that a Peyton Manning led offense entails. However when the snow starts flying and the season wears on the Broncos will need that rushing game to wear teams down and ultimately compete for the Lombardi trophy. A major factor as to whether the Broncos will be able to continue their rushing success is directly tied to our first bullet point; Health. Without a healthy offensive line and a healthy Willis McGahee. Expect the Broncos to continue to limit the touches of McGahee in hopes of saving him for the playoffs.
3) Improve their Special teams play. Even though Trindon Holliday recently set a franchise record for the longest touchdown at 105 yards, there is no doubt the Broncos special teams needs work. In that very same game Holliday poorly fielded another kickoff, thinking it was going to roll into the end zone and instead the Broncos were forced to start their drive at the 1 yard line. In previous games they have had very little production from their return game and even committed some turnovers. In the playoffs there is very little margin for error and Denver will need all the help they can get from their special teams.
4) Improve their turnover ratio. Currently the Broncos have a -4 turnover ratio. Early on the team was plagued with fumbles and unfortunately they weren’t able to recover any of them. The fumbles have slowed and the defense is doing a better job of forcing turnovers and turning them into scoring opportunities. This needs to remain an area of focus for the team. The Chicago Bears are a great example of how a good defense can lead a team to victory as their defense is outscoring some offenses.
5) Play with Urgency. All of the things above won’t matter in the least if the team doesn’t continue to keep their eyes on the goal. This team is built to win now, not 5 years down the road. While there is a good mix of veterans and youth on the team, some of the highest profile players; Peyton Manning, Champ Bailey, Willis McGahee, have only another few years of production in them. If the Broncos legitimately hope to hoist the Lombardi trophy once again they need to be focused on doing it now. This current team probably has a lifespan of 3 years max and then may be faced with another rebuilding phase depending on the development of rookie Brock Osweiler among others. If the veterans on the team can stay healthy and help to keep the youth focused the Broncos have a true top 5 opportunity to win it all this year.

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