Over the next month, I’m going to be previewing all of the NFL teams in preparation for the 2012 season. I’ve decided to start things off with the Seahawk’s old rivals from the AFC West. From the emails I receive, it seems that very few of still you share the feelings of rivalry for the these teams like I still do, but that’s ok. Seattle’s been in the NFC for some time now. But for me, the Broncos will always be team I enjoy watching beat the most, even if they only get the opportunity to do so every few season.
Helping me out with this is Kim Constantinesco, the awesome editor of Predominantly Orange.
Key Free Agents Retained: Britton Colquitt, Lance Ball, Joe MaysKey Player Additions: Peyton Manning, Jacob Tamme, Tracy PorterKey Players Leaving: Brian Dawkins, Tim Tebow
Quick Thoughts on Draft: The Broncos got arguably one of the meanest and toughest defensive tackles in the draft in Derek Wolfe. It was the team’s biggest need. The team went all out in the second round when they picked QB Brock Osweiler to develop under Manning. Good move, but he will be holding the clipboard for a long time.
Quick Thoughts on 2012 schedule: The Broncos have the second most difficult schedule in the league. A season opener at home against the Steelers on Sunday night kicks things off the right way. It will be exciting to see Manning in the AFC West.
Most Interesting Roster Battle: Knowshon Moreno vs. rookie Ronnie Hillman. Willis Mcgahee is undoubtedly the team’s go to guy, but the battle for the complimentary back is down to Moreno and Hillman.
Biggest Strength Heading Into 2012: Look no further than a more composed offense under Peyton Manning Having him man the ship will in turn aide the defense.
Biggest Weakness Heading Into 2012: With Brian Dawkins gone, the safety position is the team’s biggest question mark. The Broncos acquired Mike Adams in the offseason to bring in some experience, but there’s still a lot of youth there.
Biggest Question Still To Be Answered: Can Manning stay healthy? That’s everyone’s biggest question and the issue that has the most impact obviously. The funny thing is everyone is talking about his arm strength. In ’09-’10, when Manning attempted a throw from beyond 21 yards, he had a 30.5% completion percentage. What that means is if Manning never regains his arm strength, he can still be effective.
2012 Prediction: 11-5. AFC Division Champs.How are the fans reacting to the Tim Tebow-Peyton Manning exchange? I know that getting Manning is a dream come true for some fans, but aren’t other heartbroken that Tebow is gone?The true fans are excited about Peyton Manning’s arrival. We haven’t had an elite QB since John Elway and the team has won just two playoff games in the last 13 years. It was time to bring greatness back to the Mile High.As for Tim Tebow, it was difficult to see him go. The team caught lightning in a bottle last season with him at the helm. In a perfect world, he would have stayed and developed under Manning’s eye. However, that’s not how the business side of things work. Many Broncos fans will become secondary Jets fans.
The Broncos play in what is probably the easiest division in the NFL. As long as Norv Turner is wasting the talent that they have in San Diego, the Broncos should control this division. Kim’s 11-5 prediction seems about right to me.
Their defense was real reason that they won the division last season (not Tebow and his 46% completion percentage). Combine that great defense with a Peyton Manning offense and the Broncos are legitimate superbowl contenders. All that remains to be seen is whether or not Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning.