The Denver Broncos have faced a difficult offseason before. Last season, they were eliminated at home in their first playoff game. This season, they rebounded and won both home playoff games but ultimately got dominated by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. As of right now, the team is understandably crushed by such a horrible loss, but as the days and weeks go by the Broncos can bounce back from this.
The Broncos are not a team with a ton of holes to fill. Eric Decker and Shaun Phillips are free agents, but outside of those two players most of the core of the team will remain intact. Champ Bailey could retire, as it is clear that he is no longer a dominate player at the cornerback position. If any of the afore mentioned players do leave, the Broncos can overcome their loss.
The main issue for the Broncos against the Seahawks was not necessarily personnel but their approach to the game. Peyton Manning and the offense focueds on trying to create favorable matchups and attacking the defense’s weaknesses. In normal circumstances that works most of the time, however, against the Seahawks that plan should have been dumped early.
The Seahawks were prepared for the Broncos’ quick passing game and they fell behind so quickly the run game was never a real option.
One of the things the Broncos may want to look into this offseason is an up-tempo offense. Manning likes to run the play clock down below four seconds before he snaps the ball. It may be more advantageous against teams like the Seahawks to run plays quicker. There were times early in the game where the Broncos would come to the line quickly and the Seahawks would still be scrambling to line up properly but Manning never ran a play.
The other thing the Broncos may want to look into this offseason is implementing more deep passes in the offense. Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor were extremely comfortable because they pretty much knew Manning would not test them deep. Safeties should never be able to assume the deep half of the field is not in play. It allows the defense to play the short to intermediate passing game more aggressively.
The storyline coming into the game was how many offensive weapons the Broncos had. After the game was over their offense did not seem so high powered. Eric Decker was held to one reception for six yards. They have to become more comfortable in spreading teams out. The Broncos should have a five wide receiver, or four receiver and one tight end package that allows them to spread out defenses. Also a set of plays that get Trindon Holliday the ball in space so he can help spark the offense. It would be a package just to give defenses a different look, and something to be concerned about.
The Broncos had the No. 1 offense all year long so it may seem illogical to say the offense needs tweaking. At first glance that may be true but a deeper look may tell a different story. The Broncos defense plays best when they have a lead and they can rush the passer. They never had that opportunity Sunday. Also, their main concern was Marshawn Lynch coming into Sunday’s game and they held him in check. Lynch only had 39 yards rushing on 15 carries. Although the defense could stand to improve, it was not the defense that cost the team the Lombardi trophy.
The Broncos will look themselves in the mirror just as they did last offseason and they will once again be motivated to rebound from a difficult defeat. Things may look bleak right this moment for the Broncos but I would not be shocked to see them in the hunt for another Super Bowl next season.
Photo Courtesy: Kirby Lee