It’s been a disappointing pair of seasons for the Denver Broncos. What questions must the team answer to get back into playoff contention?
Prior to this past season, you would have to go back to 2010 to find the last time the Denver Broncos suffered through a losing season.
In 2016, the club bolted to a 4-0 start but dropped seven of its final 12 games to finish 9-7. A year ago, a 3-1 start morphed into just two wins the remainder of the season. Under first-time NFL head coach Vance Joseph, the Broncos were a 5-11 disaster and the new sideline leader appeared somewhat overwhelmed.
Now, it’s Year 2 for this regime. There’s a new starting quarterback in town and some other fresh faces as well. The AFC West appears to be ripe for the taking as the Kansas City Chiefs have made their share of changes as well while the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders (with head coach Jon Gruden back for a second stint with the franchise) haven’t had a lot of success in recent years.
So can the Broncos do what the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars did a year ago and win division titles after finishing last the previous year? Joseph and company will have to come up with answers to the following five questions if that is to happen.
5. Has the team solved its issues at tackle?
In April of 2017, Denver Broncos head honcho John Elway use the 20th overall pick in the draft to secure the services of seasoned tackle Garett Bolles from the University of Utah. The then 25-year-old rookie was dubbed one of those “safe picks.” But you could have never told that to anyone a year ago as he struggled mightily during his debut campaign despite making 16 starts.
Things seemed to be even worse on the other side as free-agent import Menelik Watson, who came over from the Oakland Raiders, was a disaster at the right tackle spot. Hence the decision by Elway this offseason to send a sixth-round pick in April to the Arizona Cardinals for veteran tackle Jared Veldheer. His influence and his ability and experience at both left and right tackle should pay dividends for not only where he lines up but in terms of schooling Bolles as well.
Of course, Veldheer also comes off a less-than-scintillating year in the desert. In any case, the Broncos need to find the right five guys and keep them in those same five spots. That’s the key to any offensive front.