Denver Broncos won the AFC Conference Championship in 2013 and played in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks had a convincing win against Denver to win their franchise's first Super Bowl. Denver was led all year by quarterback Peyton Manning and their high octane offense. In an era now where passing the football is dominating the NFL game, and Denver had one of the best pass offenses, Seattle's defense took us back into yesteryear when defenses and a solid running game won Super Bowls.
Denver will have most of its core offensive starters back in 2014. Only wide receiver Eric Decker (New York Jets) and running back Knowshon Moreno (Miami Dolphins) want be back. As long as Peyton Manning is in a Broncos uniform they have a chance of winning many football games. Having left tackle Ryan Clady back is a huge boost. He missed most of the 2013 season and the playoffs.The defense gets an infusion of young and veteran talent to help a defense which struggled against the pass. Von Miller returns at linebacker after an injury filled 2013. His pass rushing was definitely missed by the team especially in the secondary. Long time Bronco, corner back Champ Bailey (New Orleans Saints) also signed elsewhere. The secondary will have a new look in 2014 and a key All-Pro pass rusher will wear the Broncos orange. Look below at the new faces who should make an impact for Denver.
DeMarcus Ware - defensive end
DeMarcus Ware was one of the biggest signings in free agency this off season. Ware has battled injuries over the last few years, but when healthy is one of the most feared and versatile pass rushers in all of football. He can play with his hands down at defensive end or standing up as a 3-4 linebacker. Denver had trouble producing a consistent pass rush in 2013, but with the addition of Ware and the return of a healthy Von Miller the Broncos should improve dramatically in 2014.
Aqib Talib - cornerback
Aqib Talib was signed away from the New England Patriots to be the Broncos shut down corner. He plays with a physical style and attitude to compete with any receiver in the NFL. He has good size, speed, and confidence. Talib takes it upon himself to cover the other teams best receiver, whether that be a wide receiver or tight end. Having DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller applying pressure to opponents quarterbacks should make things easier for Talib and the rest of the secondary. The old saying of,"pressure burst pipes" should be on stage with this defense. Talib should have plenty of opportunities to clean up quarterbacks mistakes with interceptions.
Emmanuel Sanders - wide receiver
Emmanuel Sanders is another free agent acquisition, but this time for the offense. He adds a dimension that Denver lacked last year and that is home run speed at wide receiver. Maybe with the exception of pro bowler Demaryius Thomas, Denver really never had anyone like Sanders on the team. He will replace Eric Decker in the lineup who had more size and helped move the chains, but lacked that burst to get deep often. Sanders improves the Broncos vertical passing game soon as he gets on the field. There has been plenty of talk lately about Peyton Manning and how his arm is not as strong as it was. Once he hits Sanders a few times on deep patterns the noise will quiet down.
T.J. Ward - safety
T.J. Ward has gotten aboard the Peyton Manning train also. He left Cleveland to sign with Denver in hopes of winning a Super Bowl. Ward will bring a physical presence to the secondary with his tackling and hard hitting style. He brings leadership to the back end of the defense. Broncos are hoping Ward's physical play will rub off on his secondary mates which was missing last year. The signing of Ward and Talib will give this secondary a totally different look and style of play.
Bradley Roby - cornerback
Bradley Roby was drafted in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft and should compete immediately for the nickel back position. Roby is a gifted athlete with the foot quickness to cover and type of receiver. He struggles with consistency at focusing and discipline at times. He has above average ball skills and good instincts to break on passes and make plays on the ball. He will have time to develop his technique playing behind Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, and last year's rookie Kayvon Webster. Roby needs to get stronger to be better equipped at covering the bigger receivers in the NFL. Roby needs time to mature on and off the field. The Broncos look like a great fit for him considering all of the veteran leadership.