By Kyle Kercheval
As the cool air begins to hit the city of Denver, Broncos fans, and football fans alike are turning the clocks from Tebow Time to Manning Time.
The future Hall-of-Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning, was signed by John Elway and the Denver Broncos over the past offseason under a contract for five years and $96 Million.
With this new edition to the franchise, many NFL analysts and experts now add Denver to their list of championship contenders. But with arguably the toughest schedule in the league, the Broncos are going to have to do more than just “pass” some very difficult tests.
If the Denver Broncos are going to win with Manning, they need to have Manning on the field, and healthy. The offensive line last year for the Broncos allowed a total of 42 sacks, which was the tenth most allowed in the National Football League.
Tim Tebow’s passing accuracy went hand and hand with his pocket presence last year, which must obviously be taken into account when totaling the amount of sacks he fell victim to, as well as the approval of the offensive line. Manning’s health is still up in the air as of late. Even though he took a few strong hits in the Steelers game, he was only tackled for a loss of yards twice, and rebounded from those hits well.
With Denver’s relatively seasoned offensive line, additions like that of former Pro Bowl center, Dan Koppen, should add more depth to the game day roster and ensure the safety of Denver’s new franchise player; he’s number 18 if you haven’t heard of him.
With a solid offensive line comes a solid rushing game. But solid would be an understatement when looking at Denver’s success on the ground last season.
Veteran running back, Willis Mcgahee, was the centerpiece of the Broncos offense last season. Rushing his way to over 1,000 yards and just under 5 yards per carry helped his team earn the spot of number one in the NFL’s rushing offence category.
With Peyton Manning’s passing game and Willis Mcgahee’s running game, Denver’s balanced attack should pay dividends throughout the season. As long as both stay healthy, there’s no reason why Denver can’t put up 20 plus points every game.
According to nearly every football enthusiast in America, Dennis Allen’s (Denver’s 2011 defensive coordinator) defense was one of the main reasons why Tim Tebow was able to pull out some of his amazing Elway-esk fourth quarter comebacks in the 2011 season.
Although Allen’s talents are now in Oakland, the addition of former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, should do nothing more than enhance the Broncos already forceful defense.
If there is one area that needs definite work, it would exist in the turnover amounts. Last season, the Broncos only amounted to grabbing 18 turnovers, putting them in 28th out of 32 teams. Players like the defensive rookie of the year Von Miller, and defensive game changer Elvis Dumervil will have to step up and create more turnovers to lead to more offensive opportunities.
So as the Mile High welcomes the return of football season, as well as a few new faces, some more familiar than others, the Denver Broncos look to build on their success from last year under a new standard time zone. Manning Time in Colorado.