The 2012 Denver Broncos open training camp this week and fans should be getting geared up for an exciting NFL season. Granted, it will be hard to top the excitement and suspense of the semi-miraculous 2011 season when it seemed like everyone couldn't stop talking about the Time Tebow-led Denver Broncos. It won't, however, be hard to top that team in many other ways. Indeed the Denver Broncos are already a stronger team than they were a year ago.
This time last year there were major questions going into training camp. Who was going to be the quarterback? Would the Broncos hand the job to Tebow and trade Kyle Orton? Can the defense find a way to stop opposing offenses? What kind of a coach is John Fox, and how will John Elway do in his first season in charge of the Broncos?
This week there are none of those questions. The biggest, and most glaring, weakness of the Broncos was at quarterback. That problem was solved by signing Peyton Manning in free agency and trading Tebow away to the New York Jets. While quarterback depth might be an issue, Manning will provide an immediate massive boost to an offense that struggled mightily in 2011.
Indeed with Manning at quarterback, there really aren't many concerns with the offense at all. The offensive line is healthy and young. The running back corps, which guided the Broncos to a league-best rushing attack last year, is back in full force. The Broncos drafted some help in both of those areas which should provide some additional versatility for Manning to utilize. The wide receivers should flourish with a passer the quality of Manning. The Broncos also went out and signed two of the best free agent tight ends to provide even more offensive firepower. No, I don't think the Broncos will have any real questions on offense.
John Fox has had an entire year to instill in his defensive players the kind of play he wants from them. Hiring new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio should provide an even bigger boost of intensity and defensive acumen. The Broncos went out and added players in the secondary that should be a decisive upgrade over what they had last year. Defensive tackle, an obvious weakness this offseason, should get a boost from the return of players who did not play in 2011 due to injury.
For me, the only glaring question that this team has right now is whether or not linebacker D.J. Williams is with the team when his six-game suspension is over. While he could potentially come back to the team and provide a defensive spark, his off-the-field issues could be enough to force the Broncos to trade or cut him. Either way, I don't think it will be a major problem for the Broncos. The lack of distractions (meaning, the lack of Tebow) should help this team focus on the job at hand and ultimately lead to even better team results in 2012.
Julie is a featured NFL contributor for the Yahoo Contributor Network. A lifelong football fan, she started following the Denver Broncos upon moving to Colorado in 2001.
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