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Wild Ride: 2010 Offseason Make or Break For Broncos

Navid Irani -

Where are the Denver Broncos headed in 2010?

That seems to be the question ringing in the minds of Broncos’ fans across the nation heading into this offseason. After a hot 6-0 start in 2009, it seemed as if the Broncos were destined for a return to their glory days. Josh McDaniels’ critics seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye after a heavily criticized offseason. The Broncos’ defense literally went from worst to first. And the offense was simply doing what it needed to do to win football games.

Then came the Broncos’ biggest opponent of 2009: the bye week.

After their week of rest, the Broncos went a shocking 2-8, with losses to rivals San Diego, Oakland, and Kansas City at home, finishing the season at .500. After their falter to the finish line, the Denver Broncos are now gaining a reputation as the NFL’s new choke artists. All the opposing critics that had faded away since the previous postseason have now returned, creating chaos throughout Bronco nation.

Yet, this time around, Broncos fans don’t want an explanation as to why their team faltered again in back-to-back seasons. They simply want to win. With a four-year playoff drought, a call for a return to the postseason now rings clear in the Mile High city.

However, that postseason appearance hangs by a simple thread: the 2010 offseason.

Already, the Broncos have lost defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to the Miami Dolphins only a month after season’s end. Thus, the shoes of a genius who changed the No.31 ranked defense in 2008 to the No. 7 in 2009 are big and waiting to be filled.

Then comes the much too hyped trade rumors swirling around Brandon Marshall. Let’s face it. Regardless of whether or not he wants to stay a Bronco, the man is one of the top receivers in the NFL and deserves to be paid.

And even with Brandon Marshall, the Broncos successfully showed this past year that they can compete with the best but get dominated by the worst. They were on the cusp of being great and finished in the mix of mediocrity.

Sitting at 8-8, the Denver Broncos organization will be made or broken this offseason. Here is the simple recipe for success in 2010.

Free Agency.

Aside last year’s successful pickup of captain Brian Dawkins, Renaldo Hill, Vonnie Holliday, Andra Davis, and a few others, the Broncos have rarely made big splashes in the free agent market. But in order for them to find success in 2010, they are going to have to make a hurricane with free agent pickups. With big names like Chester Taylor, Ronnie Brown, Terrell Owens, Julius Peppers, and Vince Wilfork on the market, Denver can put themselves in a position to compete with the improving AFC West for years to come.

Who the Broncos should go after in the free agent market I cannot guarantee. But what I can guarantee is if the Broncos do not pick up any one of the names listed above or other free agents this offseason, their future seems dim.

Free agency will not be the only deciding factor on the success of this offseason however. The 2010 NFL Draft, which possesses more depth at every position than any other recent draft, will play a key role as well.

It is clear that the Broncos need to go after their weaknesses in this draft, undeniably being the OL, DL, DB, and CB positions.

However, the fans seem to be split on one position, arguably the most post important position in the game: Quarterback.

The fan base is split on current QB Kyle Orton. In his first year with the Denver Broncos, Orton threw for 3800 yards, 21 TDs, and had a QB rating over 85.

Those that favor Orton as the Broncos future quarterback argue that he has consistently improved year by year, and is the only current option to run the helm in Denver. Yet, there are those that do indeed doubt Orton and his ability as the Broncos leader. They claim that Orton’s immobility, mechanics, and lack of arm strength really turn out the flame of this explosive offense.

While many continue to debate, the only opinion that matters is that of Josh McDaniels. As a former offensive coordinator for the Patriots, his opinion on the Broncos offensive players is largely credible. And if he strongly believes in Kyle Orton, then I’m sure Orton will be the Broncos quarterback of the future.

And as the Broncos limp into this exciting offseason, the decisions that will soon be made on Kyle Orton and Brandon Marshall will dictate the plan for this offseason.

The only thing that the Denver Broncos fans can do is to grab onto their horse and get ready for a wild ride: one that may lead them back to the Super bowl, or one that can ultimately lead to their demise.

2 comments:

  1. NOBODY KNOWS! That's the hardest thing about being a Denver fan right now - NOT knowing where we're going!
    Trade Cutler - 2 steps back.
    Cutler plays like a bum in 2009 - 2 steps forward.
    The Cutler trade draft picks - 2 steps forward.

    Trade a 2010 1st round draft pick for a 2009 2nd round pick - 2 steps back.
    Select an undersized CB - 1 step fwd/back?


    The GOOD thing about being a Denver fan right now ... there's not a lot of us left on this bandwagon at the moment ... and I like having the extra legroom! ;)

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  2. Denver wasn't as bad as their 2-8 finish, but by the same token they were not nearly as good as their 6-0 start. Josh McDaniels made a lot of rookie coach mistakes, but my problem with him is that he has the arrogance of a coach trwice his age. As long as he believes "Orton is the answer" or "we can win without Marshall" this team is doomed to mediocrity.

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