It’s about a week away from the start of training camp for the Denver Broncos and the mile high city is in a tizzy with anticipation. No one is quite sure what the 2012 season will bring for the newly revamped team. With one of the craziest off seasons in the team’s history, players and fans alike are excited for the opportunity that is Peyton Manning. The front office has bet the farm on a quarterback who hasn’t played a single game in over a year and is coming off multiple neck surgeries. That quarterback also just happens to be one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL.
With one of the toughest schedules in the NFL, a Manning led Bronco team is going to need top flight production from all positions on the team not just the QB. No doubt Manning is the main player in the spotlight and all eyes will be on him when training camp opens, but if the Broncos hope to go deeper into the playoffs than last year they will need more than Manning.
Defense and Special Teams played a huge role in getting the Broncos into the playoffs last year and while the attention has been focused on Peyton, the front office has locked up some key players in other areas as well. Matt Prater just signed a 4 year contract to keep one of the leagues better kickers in Denver. With any luck Prater will be doing more kickoffs and less last second heroics.
The secondary of the Broncos will look quite a bit different in 2012 with the absence of Brian Dawkins and Andre Goodman. Goodman had one of his better years in 2011, but with several young cornerbacks on the roster and the signing of Tracy Porter the team felt Goodman was expendable. Brian Dawkins absence late in the 2011 season was evident and it didn’t take the Broncos long to bring in veteran Mike Adams to compete with their pair of Rookie safeties.
One of the biggest positions of concern for the Broncos this year and continuously is linebacker. In his second year Von Miller is just about the only sure fire starter. Aside from Miller it is an open competition in training camp. DJ Williams can’t seem to stay out of trouble and is rumored to be released by the team. DJ’s replacement will definitely be a former Kentucky linebacker. Training camp will determine if the consistent, but undersized Woodyard, or his understudy rookie Danny Trevathan will take over for DJ who is out at least the first 6 games on suspension.
Even more so than some, it is a great year to be a Denver Bronco fan. Pat Bowlen has proven to be one of the best owners in the league and it is clear that he and John Elway are united in their vision to bring the Lombardi trophy back to the mile high city. They have invested the money, brought in the talent, and now await the results of their efforts. They are not alone in their beliefs that the team has a legitimate shot at a championship; Peyton reportedly turned down more money and a stake in the team from Titans owner Bud Adams. In just a few short weeks we will know if that belief is rooted in years of football knowledge or simply a side effect of all the surgery.
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