Here we go. Full squad workouts are upon us at Broncos training camp. It is time to start the countdown to the regular season.
I am eager to see how this training camp goes. I have been impressed with the off-season work the Broncos have put in and now I am ready to see how this team comes together leading up to the regular season opener on September 13.
Here are the top three areas I’ll be following in camp:
1 – The progress of the defensive line. The common thought is that the Broncos’ defensive line is average at best. That certainly may be the case. But I’m not ready to say that yet. I want to watch this group over the next few weeks and see where it stands.
Perhaps people don’t think much of the Broncos’ defensive line because there are not a lot of recognizable names or players who have proven themselves to be dominating. Both are tough to argue. But does that mean that the guys the Broncos have can’t play? Does it mean the group as a whole is no better than last year’s defensive line? I’m not ready to go there.
There is no doubt the defensive line has been a sore spot for the Broncos’ defense the past few years. I am hopeful this unit will be improved in 2009.
2 – How will the revamped secondary come together? I know, this is another issue related to the defense. I really like the moves the Broncos made to rebuild this unit. They signed two veteran safeties in Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill. They also drafted Darcel McBath and David Bruton. At corner, former Dolphin Andre Goodman and second-round draft pick Alphonso Smith are among the newcomers. And oh yeah, the Broncos still have a guy named Champ Bailey at the position.
As things stand now, I like this group. I’m eager to see how these guys play together and what kind of impact they can have. Head Coach Josh McDaniels has said that one of his goals is to have a defense that creates more turnovers. I think this is a secondary that can contribute to that.
3 – Which offensive players will step up to be big-time threats? I have no idea how the Brandon Marshall situation will turn out. Regardless, the Broncos need others besides Marshall to emerge as big-time producers. I believe Tony Scheffler is poised to have a huge season. I think Knowshon Moreno is a guy who could have a major impact. I’m interested to see who the others are who will come to the forefront.
In general, I think the Broncos’ offense will do a better job controlling the ball and be more effective in short yardage running situations (especially in the red zone). But a team needs playmakers and beyond Marshall, we don’t know who those guys are yet.
Finally, if I had to pick one area in which I have the most confidence, it is the offensive line. This group is on the verge of being downright dominating. Ryan Clady had a really good rookie year and Ryan Harris wasn’t far behind. Talk about having two young, talented, bookend tackles. That is exactly what the Broncos have.
And the interior is pretty good, too with Casey Wiegmann, Chris Kuper and Ben Hamilton. I’ll take that group any day. Those five guys with a healthy and deeper running back corps could make for a super good running game.
The time for talk and speculation is over. It is time for the Broncos to get down to the business of football. Bring it on.
What are the most interesting areas you’ll be following this training camp? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.