What are the keys to the Broncos success in 2007? | PostIndependent.com

What are the keys to the Broncos success in 2007?

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of the Sports Panel. Each week, members of the panel will be asked a sports question and they will provide an answer.

I think two keys to the Broncos’ success this year will be their offensive line and their run defense.The offensive line will be so important because the team will be operating under an inexperienced quarterback. An inexperienced quarterback needs the extra protection that perhaps a more veteran quarterback might not need as much. Veteran quarterbacks like Peyton Manning have become adept at reading defenses quickly and making quick decisions that allow them to get rid of the ball early when needed. Younger quarterbacks often take time to acquire that skill and often hold onto the ball longer.The run defense is important because of the division the Broncos play in. They will have to face San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson twice. They will also face Kansas City twice, a team who is still looking for a quarterback and who will probably rely heavily on their run. The Oakland Raiders will probably have to rely on the run some as they may end up breaking in a rookie quarterback sometime in the season.

The keys to the Broncos’ success in 2007: OK, first we have to define success, right? Just making the playoffs isn’t enough for Bronco fan, is it, so how about saying, “10 wins” and at least one playoff victory?That established, the keys would be: Jay Cutler, the offensive line, Jay Cutler, a defense that holds the opposition under 20 points a game, Jay Cutler, Bly and Bailey playing up to the hype, Jay Cutler … Winning their home games (especially against San Diego), a couple on the road in division … not underestimating the Raiders. Did I mention Jay Cutler? No lining up behind the guard, OK? Wait a minute — the last Bronco QB to do that had a pretty good career, so maybe THAT’S the key. Yeah, Cutler lines up behind a guard for one snap early in the season, and the Broncos are on their way!

The key for the broncos to be successful this year is their quarterback, Jay Cutler. Cutler needs to take charge of his team this year and cut back on interceptions and fumbles. He needs to prove himself to his team, and make the Broncos work as one. I personally think the Broncos made a mistake cutting Jake Plummer, but that is my opinion. Everyone needs to realize that Elway is not coming back and people need to start accepting the way different quarterbacks play. My question to everyone is: Is it always the fault of a quarterback when a team plays poorly? The Broncos really need to stop blaming certain individuals for causing the team to lose and realize it is not one person that brings a team down, it’s many. I really hope they figure this out; otherwise, it could lead to another disappointing season.

Playoff Bound? With the loss of Jake Plummer in the off season and no real big draft picks, many wondered if the Broncos were doing the right things. This preseason has defiantly shown everyone that the Broncos team from last year is gone. For Denver to be successful this year the team has to have their “A” game ready. The defense has already proven to be one of the best in the NFL, and with the addition of Dre Bly from Detroit it can only get better. The main key to this year is the offensive side of the team. Travis Henry will have to prove himself at the running back position, while Jay Cutler will have to step up his game. In his second year Cutler will have to prove his accuracy and his strength to get the offense going.

Sadly for Bronco fans, John Elway, the old Mile High and the great orange uniforms are not coming back, but the 2007 team does have a chance to return to dominance. The key is a resurgence of a high-power, high-scoring offense. Fans throughout the Rocky Mountain region are nervously fretting over the Broncos’ defense throughout the preseason. All of these fears can be soothed with an offense that puts up over 20 points a game, controls the ball, and keeps the opponents’ offense off the field. The Super Bowl champion teams did not have great defenses. They were decent units that usually played with a lead and could key on teams passing often. The 2007 Broncos need to duplicate the fast starts and big leads of typical Mike Shanahan teams. Then they can grind the game out with Travis Henry, take the pressure off the defense, and win the division.

It would seem to me after watching the preseason games that the key to the Broncos success this season will be if the offensive line is able to give Cutler time to run the offense. They will also have to establish their running game. And the true key to the entire season would be for Mike Shanahan to retire. In my opinion, he has held this team down for the past three seasons and it is time for a change.Defensively, they struggled a bit during the preseason and it may take longer than they hoped to adjust to their new defensive scheme. On the positive side, the Broncos defensive backfield with the new addition of Dre Bly should be the best in the NFL. And, as with all teams, injuries or lack of injuries will be key.

“Tangibles” are “balanced” offense, “devastating” defense!Great teams’ running attacks “set up” their passing game – “hand in hand,” as in “hand off.”QB Cutler is incredibly accurate – needs time to throw and produce a ground game, with Henry, Bell and Sapp running wildly and the “O” line blocking/holding without penalties!”D” looks really “beefed up” after letting “Veal” go.Now, ESSENTIAL “intangibles.”With opponents’ “lip reading” prevalent, Coach Shanahan still calls plays with the laminated play sheet covering his mouth. This season’s threat is advanced Google/Earth technology, allowing teams to “zoom in” on his “scripted” opening play sequence, which now must be “encrypted.”Cutler must stop wearing his cap backwards … my NFL sources confirm that QBs with “bills forward” have a 4-to-1 winning advantage. Finally, Ron Smith’s presence is indispensable – not to play hurt, but dress for games, be a decoy drawing “double coverage” on “third-and-long” situations, opening up other receivers!

DEFENSE. This one word will determine how the Denver Broncos’ season will go. After an offseason of tragedy, and then an overhaul of the defense, this season is a real question mark. If the defense continues to play the way they have in the preseason, I can see some doubt if this club can even make the playoffs. Jay Cutler is not ready to carry this club yet, so it will need to rely on Champ Bailey and friends to help carry them. Right now, I don’t see it happening this year.Prediction: 9-7, as in very optimistic 9-7.

A few obvious questions come to mind. 1). Can Jay Cutler keep it together in his first full season as starting quarterback? 2). Is D.J. Williams able to hold the defense together? And, 3). Will demanding Broncos fans complacently accept the team’s likely 8-8 finish, as they get stomped by more stacked rivals such as the Chargers and Patriots? I don’t foresee any major derailments in surefire Hall-of-Famer Mike Shanahan’s legacy, but the Broncos’ 2007 highlights probably won’t be high enough.

I maybe a foolish optimist, but I think the Broncos offense will be great. Jay Cutler will air it out, Javon Walker and Brandon Marshall will have amazing years and the running game is in good hands with Travis Henry and Cecil Sapp.The big key, I believe, is defense. So far things just aren’t clicking with Jim Bates’ new system. The guys are going to have to figure it out or Bates will have to change some stuff. Getting rid of Gerard Warren, Kenard Land and Demetrin Veal when Ebenezer Ekuban will be sitting the rest of the season with an Achilles tear is really worrisome to me. The secondary might be stacked, but if things aren’t going well up front, teams are going to run all over us this year. Hopefully the Broncos can figure it out or else it could be a very long season.

All I have to say about the Broncos’ chances in ’07 is thank goodness they play in the same division as the Raiders. That’s good for at least two wins. And they should be able to beat BYE in Week 6. Just a hunch.Seriously, though.On offense, Travis Henry is a good add. Considering Shanahan’s knack for working wonders with average backs, a healthy Henry should rack up 1,500 yards or more this season, taking pressure off second-year passer Jay Cutler, the pride of Santa Claus, Ind., which, by the way, has a great “adventure park” called Holiday World.Putting up points shouldn’t be a problem for the Broncos.Who knows what will happen on defense? Champ, Dre and Lynchy are a nice 1-2-3 punch in the secondary but, beyond that, there are so many new pieces to mesh together. How quickly they can work out the kinks will dictate the team’s fate.Prediction: 8-8.

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