Denver Broncos: Is Quarterback the biggest problem?
The Denver Broncos aren’t that far removed from their Super Bowl championship team but last year’s team looked much different. When a Super Bowl team regresses, fans start to investigate where the changes were made. Obviously, losing quarterback Peyton Manning was the biggest change. Then bringing in rookie head coach Vance Joseph was another drastic shift in philosophies. After missing the playoffs last season, fans were less than thrilled with Joseph and the team’s last place finish in the AFC West.[RickChitAd]
It would be just as easy for the Broncos to hit the free agent market with a big splash quarterback like stealing Kirk Cousins out from under the Washington Redskins pocket. However, even if we you look back at the Super Bowl run the Broncos had, their offense sputtered across the finish line. Sure, an aging Peyton Manning didn’t have the zip on the ball he should have, but their offense has been in the decline for the past few years. On a team that struggled to find their starting quarterback, CJ Anderson barely eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing. The next closest back was Devontae Booker with only 299 yards. When you’ve got quarterbacks who are struggling and a lone running back teams more often than not crowd the offensive line.
The Denver Broncos have followed the same blueprint every other team failing to find their next franchise quarterback has and doesn’t build their offensive line. With receivers like Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas their offenses has two deep threats who can spread the field but those plays need to have time to develop. Denver needs to swing for the fences in free agency and get beefy players in front of their inexperienced quarterbacks while developing their next one in the draft. The free agent class is littered with 30-year-old quarterbacks so they won’t find their franchise there. At best they’ll find a stop gap.
Then of course there’s their most obvious problem. Other than Sanders and Thomas their receiving threats were non-existent. Devontae Booker was their third best threat with 30 catches and 275 yards. Where was there tight end? Where was their slot receiver? Why did only 2 players break 300 yards? When a quarterback struggles there’s often a check down player who they use as a safety net. While Demaryius Thomas probably loves the pay check he’s earning, he shouldn’t almost double the next pass catcher from the Broncos. Denver needs to bulk up their line but they also need a big body tight end to force defenders to the mid-range passing game. Get a guy who can come over the middle 7-10 yards down the field and leave the short passes to the running backs or slant passes and let guys like Thomas and Sanders fly down field on the deep routes again.
Too many fans wanted Vance Joseph fired this offseason. While he played it safe too often, he can go into this season able to stretch his legs a little more. He’s still got plenty of talent but needs to invest in the right spots. The Denver Broncos could go out and blow all their money on a free agent quarterback and still come back with the same problem they’ve been having. Denver needs to take a page out of the Atlanta Falcons playbook and beef up their line. Once Atlanta went to a healthy dominant line up front Matt Ryan became the player he was projected to be. Quarterback is a need this offseason, but the Broncos don’t need to break the bank to get one.[RickTwitter]