When you’re the reigning champions there’s nowhere to go but down, and so down went the Broncos in 2016 failing to make the playoffs one year after winning the whole thing. This season a new coaching staff will try to make heads or tails of their quarterback situation and hope they don’t continue to fall in the standings.
2016 Record: 9-7
Subtractions: DeMarcus Ware, Russell Okung, Sylvester Williams, Kayvon Webster
Additions: OG Ronald Leary, RB Jamaal Charles, RT Menelik Watson
Notable Rookies: T Garrett Bolles, DE DeMarcus Walker, WR Carlos Henderson
Head Coach Gary Kubiak resigned at the end of the season due to health concerns, setting the stage for Denver to make Vance Joseph the franchise’s first African American head coach. He brings with him a new set of coordinators: Mike McCoy (former Chargers head coach) replaces Rick Dennison as offensive coordinator while Joe Woods was promoted to defensive coordinator in place of Wade Phillips (new Chargers defensive coordinator). These are no longer Peyton’s Broncos, but receivers Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have the potential to be one of the league’s better one-two punches. Likewise, on defense, veteran end DeMarcus Ware is gone but Von Miller and Aqib Talib continue to headline a stout squad. The biggest story line for this year’s Broncos is the quarterback competition between Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. With Siemian the coaching staff has more tape to go on, but Lynch has the pedigree. At running back former rival Jamaal Charles joins the fold along with retread Stevan Ridley. Does either have anything left in the tank? Despite Denver’s strengths, inexperience at head coach and quarterback could make last year’s 9-7 record the ceiling for this squad.