That's right, Bronco fans. Training Camp is just around the corner, which means we're about to embark into a glorious period of the year called football season. It can't get here any sooner for fans and players alike, many on which are still trying to get over the heart wrenching loss to Baltimore last January. Despite the loss, there's plenty of room for optimism and I'll tell you why. Although I don't believe a team can "win" the offseason, I do believe the Broncos had a wonderful offseason offensively and defensively. More importantly, the Broncos were able to do what the major contenders in the AFC weren't able to do and that is significantly improve their team. Let's look at how.
Ultimately, the biggest move was the signing of former New England WR, Wes Welker. During his 6 year tenure in New England, Welker was able to revolutionize how teams use the slot WR. Welker was able to rack up over 100 receptions in 5 out of 6 years in New England. Although I don't believe Welker will eclipse 100 receptions for Denver, I do believe his impact will be great. With his speed and ability to create separation, he adds a different and dangerous dynamic to the offense.
The upgrades on offense didn't stop with Wes Welker, the Broncos were able to address their run game, a glaring weakness of a year ago. In free agency, the Broncos were able to get one of the top offensive linemen free agents with OG Louis Vasquez. Vasquez is a monster of a man at 6-5, weighing in at about 335 pounds. He can protect the QB and block very well for the runningback. He was really one of the only bright spots last year in San Diego's line, only allowing 2.5 sacks. A vast difference from the other 4 starters who allowed 46.5 sacks. Denver didn't stop with Vasquez, however. Broncos would use their 2nd round pick to draft RB Montee Ball out of Wisconsin. Ball was a product of consistency and dominance for Wisconsin. He finished with over 5,100 yards and 77 touchdowns in his 4 year college career. Ball will look to challenge Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno for the starting spot. However, it is more expected that it'll be a running back by committee.
Mr. Elway and Co. were able to fill some holes on the opposite side of the ball by adding depth in the defensive line and secondary. After losing out on former Bronco Elvis Dumervil due to the Fax Debacle, the Broncos were able to fill Elvis' production on a fraction of the price with former Charger LB Shaun Phillips. Phillips collected 9.5 sacks for a Charger defense that was very limited to rushing the passer. Denver also was able to add some sorely needed beef in that defensively line with additions of former Jacksonville DT Terrance Knighton and North Carolina DT Sylvester "Sly" Williams. Knighton is no stranger to current Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio and was actually drafted by Del Rio in Jacksonville. Williams, another 6-3 330+ DT was drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft. After adding some depth in the defensive line, the Broncos looked to sure up and add depth to the secondary. They did so by adding two former Pro Bowl defensive backs in Quinton Jammer and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to finish out the offseason.
It has been a busy, productive 6 months since the playoff loss. Denver has down very well to be put in the position to contend for a Super Bowl. So rejoice Denver fans, the new season is upon and there's plenty to be excited about. It's never too early to start booking your flight to New York, right?