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State of the Broncos - Training Camp Preview
David Dorey
July 20, 2009
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This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2009.
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Training Camp Opens: July 30
Head Coach: Josh McDaniels (1st year)
Stadium: INVESCO Field at Mile High  Surface: Grass
2009 Schedule   2009 Roster   2008 Statistics   2008 Record: 8-8

QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2006 48 130 1 454 256 56% 2995 11.7 20 18 27 16
2007 46 211 1 515 326 63% 3759 11.5 21 15 13 15
2008 57 200 2 619 386 62% 4545 11.8 25 18 3 7

Quarterback - This will be a major year of change for the Broncos with a new head coach who is not afraid to get rid of the star players. Jay Cutler had an outstanding year in 2008 but was swapped to Chicago. Now Kyle Orton is shaping up to be the starting quarterback and he ushers in an entirely new offensive style imported from New England. Orton has never been much more than a game manager in Chicago whose best attribute was his lack of turnovers. The only certainty here is that the Broncos will not be #3 in pass yards again this year.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2006 426 1887 4.4 10 86 63 73% 385 1 7 17 18
2007 375 1698 4.5 9 81 59 73% 423 1 11 19 21
2008 316 1558 4.9 13 61 43 70% 413 2 19 25 18

Running Backs - The rushing attack has been on the decline in Denver for several years and 2008 served up the final notice that these were not the Broncos we remembered. The success of the passing game led to making Cutler a star but came out of the fortunes of the backfield. Now the Broncos have spent their #1 pick on Knowshon Moreno to fix all their ills and brought in a gaggle of veterans like Correll Buckhalter and Lamont Jordan to add to Ryan Torain and Peyton Hillis. The new offense from New England historically used a committee backfield back before the NFL thought it was cool. But Moreno is going to carry the hopes of this offense, the question is how often the coaches will let him do that.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 281 150 53% 2092 13.9 13 17 18
2007 333 188 56% 2502 13.3 14 12 16
2008 423 260 61% 3014 11.6 15 3 8

Wide Receivers - As Cutler improved, the Denver wideout rankings spiked up but that is all about to change unless Kyle Orton takes a tremendous step forward. Brandon Marshall became a star with Cutler around and had over 1250 yards in each of the last two seasons. But now there are many questions around Marshall including his coming off hip surgery in the offseason, needing to learn a new offense, gain chemistry with Orton, a perpetually renewed desire to be traded and a potential suspension from a March arrest when he had a firearm. Oh yes, and Orton has never had a receiver gain 100 yards. Eddie Royal had a very encouraging rookie season and remains, but he may miss the long ball from Cutler more than anyone. The Broncos brought in several veterans as well - Jabar Gaffney and Chad Jackson with New England ties and Brandon Stokley to all vie for the slot receiver role that likely has little value. There are a lot of factors yet to be know about the Broncos but at least Marshall and Royal remain the starters. If Marshall is traded away, it would make this unit look like just a mishmash of castoff has-beens and never-weres.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 82 43 52% 518 12 6 19 13
2007 109 81 74% 891 11.0 8 7 8
2008 128 83 65% 1118 13.5 8 4 5

Tight Ends
- The Denver tight ends have been good for fantasy value these last couple of seasons but Tony Scheffler may be hard pressed to repeat last year (40-645, 3 TDs) thanks to the new scheme not emphasizing the position. Orton certainly likes throwing to tight ends which is favorable though so the usage of Scheffler and Daniel Graham is still undetermined.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - This training camp is wide open for fantasy relevance to be determined. A new scheme and new coaches will work with Kyle Orton to see if he can be anything more than just a game manager. Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal get to see how the pass routes change and how well - and how often - Orton will be using them. Lastly, we all want to see what Moreno has as the first running back drafted this year. Since most rankings take into account the risk and unknowns here, training camp could uncover some very undervalued players... or just indicate this is going to be a long year in Denver.

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Ease of Schedule for Quarterbacks
Ease of Schedule for Running Backs
Ease of Schedule for Receivers
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