Well, here we go again. Another year is upon us and I am looking forward to sharing it with you.
I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed the off-season. I know I did. But I’m also ready for football to get going. Broncos training camp 2008 has begun and with it comes the hope for a great year. I know right now I am extremely interested in what type of year the Broncos will have.
It will be interesting to see who steps forward over the next few weeks of camp and through the pre-season games. While I’m eager to follow all the developments, there are three areas in particular I’m watching closely.
NUMBER ONE - The defensive line. We all know that, for a lot of reasons, the Broncos did not play well up front on defense last year. The entire defense struggled but along the line, it just seemed like it was worse. The Broncos simply have to do a better job stopping the run.
The Broncos are still young up front with guys like Elvis Dumervil, Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder and Marcus Thomas. There are also some veterans such as Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engleberger. Dewayne Robertson is one of the newcomers. I have to believe with the return to a one-gap concept and the experience the young guys got a season ago, this unit will be better. And let’s be honest, it has to be better.
In particular, I am really looking forward to seeing if Elvis Dumervil can continue to raise the level of his play. Can he become one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL?
NUMBER TWO – The offensive line. Again, this unit was beset by injuries a season ago. But football coaches seem to agree that without being able to run and stop the team, a team will not win consistently.
I don’t worry too much about the Broncos running backs. They always find guys who can carry the ball effectively and they have depth at that position right now.
But the key to any running game is the guys in the trenches. Welcome back Tom Nalen and Ben Hamilton. Welcome to Denver, Ryan Clady. Has Mike Shanahan ever proclaimed a draft pick, even a first round selection, to be a starter on draft day? I can’t recall it. It will be fun to see if Clady turns out to be the real deal.
NUMBER THREE – Team chemistry. There were clearly locker room issues in 2007; several players have talked about that already in training camp. There were guys who were in it for themselves and that just won’t fly. It’s not about stats, it’s not about who gets credit, it’s not about who has his name in the paper or who is on radio or TV. It’s about doing whatever it takes to win games. Period. If you have a group of individualistic players in the locker room, forget it. The Broncos made an effort to get rid of those guys in the off-season. I applaud that.
So far, there seems to be a good vibe around this team. But it’s early and adversity is just getting the pads out, too. I’m optimistic the Broncos will have better chemistry this year. Time will tell.
What has you most interested as training camp gets into full swing and the pre-season games get started? I always welcome your thoughts. I read every one and I’ll respond as I can.
Thanks so much for reading and here’s to a fun 2008 season!