Bill Strong from Denver here. Ok so here’s the quick scoop from a born and raised Bronco Fan!!! I grew up in the Park Hill area of Denver and went to East High School in Denver. My senior year at East High was the Broncos first Super Bowl, the loss (ugly) to the Cowboys. So I bleed orange and blue…and here are some quick thoughts:
The Broncos just didn’t have much cash to sign big names free-agents this off season. That and the fact that they lost several very good players (don’t let the door hit you on the backside Julius Thomas!!!! Hope they don’t ask you to block down Florida way), leave the Broncos a lesser team than in recent years past. Manning is one year older after a very unremarkable if not terrible final 1/4 of last season, so we aren’t expecting great things from him. Let’s hope he can come back stronger than he left last year but I’m very skeptical. I still wonder, if he was hurt they why start him against the Raiders at the end of the season, and leave him in during a blow-out? Part of me wanted him to retire so we can move forward. Having said that, Manning is still probably better than 2/3’s of the other NFL QB’s so what the heck let’s see what happens.
The upside for this coming year is that John Fox is gone, as is Jack Del Rio…not going to miss these guys at all. Let’s hope Kube’s can get some of that old Mile High Magic back!!!
My gut is the try chance to win the Super Bowl went away with the playoff loss to the Ravens. That was our best chance and I don’t see this year being a jump back up to that level of football. The Broncos have some significant holes, particularly on the O-line. I’m a bit shocked that we didn’t work harder over the past 3 years to have a better line for Manning. There is no way we can win with a sub-par center (I was hope we’d sign the center Hudson from KC who ended up with the Raiders).
So…here is my pre-draft AFC forecast:
The Patriots are the toast of the AFC and will likely represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, with a great shot at repeating.
The Colts are the second best team in the AFC. Their signings this off season were STRONG!
The Broncos are in the 3rd tier, and will have to play solid football to win their division. I guess we will have our fingers crossed that Manning can let his last season be one of his best. Indeed there is hope, but the Manning of last year will not get it done. I look for the Chargers to be improved with a strong push to win the division. The Chiefs will be about the same (I just don’t buy into their QB situation) and the Raiders can’t be much worse and will likely be improved. I could see any of our division rivals splitting with us or beating twice, except for the Raiders who I doubt could beat us at Mile High.
Have fun this summer!
Bill Strong of Denver