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Team checklist: Denver Broncos

John Fox, John Elway, Brian Xanders AP

Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels can coach offense, but their player procurement was abysmal overall.

That leaves Broncos coach John Fox, G.M. Brian Xanders, and VP John Elway with a lot of work to do. Here’s what we think they should do after the lockout.

1. Sign a starting defensive tackle. And then one more.

This could be the biggest roster hole in the league.  After passing on Marcell Dareus with the No. 2 pick, Fox is currently staring at Kevin Vickerson and Louis Leonard atop the depth chart.  Fox admitted he must address the position in free agency.

2. Decide on Dawkins quickly.

Brian Dawkins is among the team’s leaders.  He may have to take a paycut from his $6 million salary to come back after the Broncos drafted two players at the position.  It’s a delicate decision for a new staff because Dawkins is so respected.

3. Trade Kyle Orton if the price is right.

Denver’s quarterback quandary is a tough one.  Does this staff truly believe in Tim Tebow?  Do they need to see him practice for a few weeks before committing to him?

It makes sense to deal Orton because he’s not under contract for 2012.  But we’d only do it for a halfway decent draft pick (third round) or it’s not worth hurting the 2011 Broncos.  Orton is probably the best quarterback at present on the roster and that’s not worth dumping unless you get something significant in return.

4. Find a complement to Knowshon Moreno.

We don’t rank this as high as the Broncos seem to, but it’s still an important move.  The team may need to sign two players because there is very little behind Moreno.  (LenDale White? Lance Ball?)

The Broncos beat writers all seem to think Moreno is headed for a reduced role.  That means DeAngelo Williams could be in play.

5. Convert defense quickly.

About that switch to the 3-4 defense we installed two years ago . . . yeah, guys forget that.  The transition to Fox’s 4-3 scheme could create more problems than solutions in year one.

Robert Ayers is playing a position he wasn’t drafted to play.  Guys like Elvis Dumervil and D.J. Williams can fit in any scheme, but other front seven parts are less clear. Middle linebacker is open, with rookie Nate Irving having a legitimate chance to start.

No. 2 pick Von Miller seemed like an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker; instead he’ll play the strong side.

6. Get the wide receivers healthy.

Second year player Demaryius Thomas may not be ready for a while after Achilles surgery.  Eddie Royal is coming off hip surgery.  This is a deep position for Denver, so they should be able to survive in the meantime.

7. Add defensive end depth.

Another 4-3 problem.  After Dumervil and Ayers, this is a shaky group.

8.  Show John Elway in public a lot and keep blaming Josh McDaniels for everything.

That should buy the new regime a year until the fans get restless again, because this roster has a long way to go.

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39 Responses to “Team checklist: Denver Broncos”
  1. benh999 says: Jul 1, 2011 5:33 PM

    I can’t for the life my figure out why Orton is so underrated. He put together two fairly impressive campaigns with a pretty subpar supporting cast. We’ve seen worse QBs than him dealt for first round picks. Given how QB-needy so many teams are, the price will almost certainly end up being pretty high.

  2. trbowman says: Jul 1, 2011 5:37 PM

    Brady Quinn for the win.

  3. shaqattaqer says: Jul 1, 2011 5:49 PM

    Kyle Orton sucks on 3rd down, and sucks in the 4th quarter. Get rid of him please.

  4. kilo0986 says: Jul 1, 2011 6:01 PM

    That last one is my favorite :D

  5. p4hbiz says: Jul 1, 2011 6:06 PM

    I’m sooo happy to see 3 losing qb’s on the roster, cause face it they’re not beating my Oakland Raiders…

    I hope like hell Tebow is the starter week1, cause the Raiders will put up a lot of scores that day.

    GO Raiders!!

  6. forevercorr says: Jul 1, 2011 6:26 PM

    1. DT is the top priority. You’re right on there. Jamal Williams is rumored to want to resign, but he hardly saw time last year in the 3-4 scheme, which is more his style.
    2. Dawkins is set. Fox has made it clear that the Broncos will honor his contract this year, even if B takes a more limited role on the field. I would be more concerned if I were Renaldo Hill.
    3. Orton has been discussed in many circles as an option equal to or greater than Kolb. Denver will get at least one second for him or address position needs.
    4. DeAngelo Williams likely already has a contract drafted in Dove Valley. I imagine there will be at least one other signing.
    5. The primary players on the D have experience in the 4-3. There may be a signing at MLB depending on how quickly they feel Irving will develop.
    6. Thomas is unlikely to return until November. He would be nice to have, but this isn’t a position of need.
    7. Jason Hunter showed promise, but it is shaky.
    8. Corner back may be Denver’s second biggest need behind DT. Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman are still talented, but are not spring chickens. Perrish Cox will likely be suspended or in jail. The rest are fine for depth but cannot be expected to step in if one of the two starters can’t go.
    Just my thoughts.

  7. thetwilightsown says: Jul 1, 2011 6:34 PM

    Provided there is an opening day… “Dear season ticket holders, tough break! At least you’re not a retired NFL legend… Then you’d really have something to cry about! Love, your pimps, the NFLPA* and NFL Owners”

  8. thetwilightsown says: Jul 1, 2011 6:35 PM

    Fans first… NOW!!!

  9. umiami11 says: Jul 1, 2011 6:35 PM

    Hurricane McDaniels came through and crushed Denver’s roster however, if they can fill that glaring NEED at DT (maybe stop the run for the first time in 4 or 5 years) this could be a 8-8 or 9-7 football team.

    Please be 16 games!!!

  10. Matt says: Jul 1, 2011 6:40 PM

    Go back in time and un-fire Shannahan probably should have been #1 on the list. As Raiders fans, my entire family cheered when the Donkeys canned him. 58 points sure felt good too.

    Denver needs identity on offense and a new defensive line. If Tebow is the guy, make him the guy. Trade Orton. Establish a Tebow-friendly scheme, and all that jazz. If their QB conundrum and DL despair isn’t fixed, da Raiduhs could put up 58 again….in the first half.

  11. 808bronco says: Jul 1, 2011 6:45 PM

    p4hbiz

    why…does Tebow play defense??

  12. North American Bowl says: Jul 1, 2011 6:53 PM

    Hire Tom Cable…

  13. joetoronto says: Jul 1, 2011 7:10 PM

    To you Orton backers, stop looking at his stats and start watching him play, there’s a big difference.

    The guy padded his stats big time while behind large in many games last season.

    Orton or Tebow, it doesn’t matter, the Donkeys are going nowhere fast.

    3-13

  14. 808raiderinparadise says: Jul 1, 2011 7:34 PM

    1.) Team Pastor (Tebow) … CHECK!
    2.) Worst D-line in NFL … CHECK!
    3.) New Coach with new Defensive scheme changing in shortened off-season to pull it off…CHECK!
    4.) New Coach notorious for pounding the ball on offense, with bad RB’s to work with … CHECK!
    5.) Jon Elway’s gigantic horse (bronco) teeth probing the sidelines … CHECK!
    6.) Bottom of AFC West postion of 2012 … CHECK!
    7.) Week 1 MNF loss in Mile Low stadium to Raiders … CHECK!

  15. jerseynut says: Jul 1, 2011 7:43 PM

    Simply put, when faced with a 4th and 10 with 30 seconds left in the game, Orton doesn’t have “IT”. “IT” being the tenacity, leadership and confidence needed to rally a team when their backs are against the wall.

    Trade Orton for a free iTunes download, if we can get a draft pick, so be it. Run with Tebow and if he fails we make a play for Luck next year.

  16. svallen says: Jul 1, 2011 9:09 PM

    Found the 2011 Broncos free agents, and none of them seem to be even viable for keeping.

    Also, is Tebow really going to be the QB they try to go forward with? I mean I would like to see him get some solid time at the position to see if he could be a viable option – but is Fox willing to give him that opportunity?

  17. 808bronco says: Jul 1, 2011 9:52 PM

    when was the last time the raiders were relevant

  18. polishkingski says: Jul 1, 2011 10:44 PM

    orton is a very good qb. just look what the guy has had to work with. he is worth a second round pick easily.

  19. moneymike23 says: Jul 1, 2011 10:54 PM

    Good God! What a mess.

  20. ocgunslinger says: Jul 1, 2011 11:12 PM

    Yeah…..dump Orton because all the guy does is win games with less talent on his side of scrimmage.

  21. Wilie Beamon says: Jul 1, 2011 11:23 PM

    If Tebow can beat Orton out well then you move Orton but if he cant you sign Orton to a 3-4 yr deal and you go from there . The moment you start fooling around with the QB carousel you are screwed .

    Orton is a good QB and hes only 28 yrs and if wins the job there is no reason you cant get 3-4 seasons out of him . The Broncos passing attack was #7 in the league and Elway should build upon that the next few years strengthening your teams infrastructure and depth and building up your defense . In 3 years you could be like the Ravens,Jets,Steelers, were the past few years strong defensive,running teams who may need a qb at that time .

    The Broncos have no infrastructure but a young veteran qb in his prime they need to properly use it to there advantage.

    They have already missed the playoffs the past 5 years they cant afford to simply give up the next two or three and not have it payoff .

  22. sc5000 says: Jul 1, 2011 11:55 PM

    This websites take on Robert Ayers is a little puzzling… Ayers exclusively played d line in college and Joshy boy had the bright idea to use a first round pick on a d lineman and turn him into an outside linebacker. The Broncos moving back to a 4-3 look and moving him back to his natural position should be considered a positive for both him and the team right?… Just cause McD drafted him to play OLB doesn’t mean that he should have been.

  23. ronnie89 says: Jul 2, 2011 12:23 AM

    These Raider fans are hillarious!!! They have one decent season and they think they are the best team in the NFL. Broncos will destroy the raiders in week 1, in front of national tv!! And yes Tebow will be behind center. If you Raider fans are so passionate about your team, maybe you should sell out your games so your not blacked out on tv!! Broncos will surprise a lot of people this year. And beat these Raiderettes twice this year!! GO BRONCOS!!!!!!!!!!

  24. beauregard says: Jul 2, 2011 12:31 AM

    Oh those silly Raider tools. They win the game and Denver and flash it all around for the next year.
    Meanwhile they lost 4 of the last seven and missed the playoffs for the EIGHTH consecutive year……
    I mean, who sweeps the division and doesn’t make the playoffs?
    I guess that Denver game is their only high point and they’ll beat that dead horse into the ground.

  25. ron69 says: Jul 2, 2011 1:07 AM

    It’s fair to say they’ll be in the Andrew Luck’s sweepstakes so maybe its time to deal Orton even for a 5th.

  26. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Jul 2, 2011 1:34 AM

    Jamall williams and a pick for Steve slayton and amobi okyeo or however dude spells it. Some sold depth at two positions while you lose a player that you don’t need. Obviously a no brainer, tie in Garry’s attachment with the team and wade phillips and Jamall Williams. This will be one of the first trades done when the league starts again.

  27. jmetzger5158 says: Jul 2, 2011 1:49 AM

    The broncos are a team that have a lot of trade bait between orton quinn and tebow watever they decide to do. It also may be wise to deal a wide reciever or 2 with loyd thomas royal and young potential eric decker they may be able to trade to help fill a bigger need.
    This team needs to definetly sign deanglo williams so they can run the ball and take pressure off whoever is behind center.
    A solid tightend could be good for them to help work off playaction pass the simpler the broncos make the offense the better they will be.

  28. hanktheking says: Jul 2, 2011 4:22 AM

    Start Tebow at QB and the Raiders will score a lot of points? I’m not sure how that logic works out buy okay…aren’t you forgetting the 40 yard gash ge dropped on you guys as well?

    And to those who wonder why Kyle Orton gets no love; see Tin Man.

  29. joetoronto says: Jul 2, 2011 5:23 AM

    808bronco says: Jul 1, 2011 9:52 PM

    when was the last time the raiders were relevant
    **************************************************
    2010. You do remember 2010, right?

  30. souldogdave says: Jul 2, 2011 10:27 AM

    The Broncos are in disarray. I admire fan bravado, but the Raiders will destroy them on MNF. They are in a serious rebuild mode. Look at the stats, and where they rank in the league. I was yet another who applauded the downfall of Shanarat, and his mewling son. MacDaniels was icing on the cake. You reap what you sow, good luck with Andrew in next years draft.

  31. Matt says: Jul 2, 2011 1:26 PM

    The only thing sweeter than a Raiders win is a Donkeys loss. Good thing I get both on MNF Week 1.

  32. 808bronco says: Jul 3, 2011 5:50 AM

    joe toronto

    8-8 and no playoffs = relevance in Oakland. my how the great franchise has fallen =(

    Is John madden still available? John Gruden maybe?

  33. bwisnasky says: Jul 3, 2011 9:17 AM

    808bronco says:
    Jul 1, 2011 9:52 PM
    when was the last time the raiders were relevant

    ————————————————-

    Okay.. if you don’t like 2010 as an answer… how about 2002, which if I’m not mistaken is more recent than 1998, which was actually the last year the Broncos were relevant.

  34. broncobeta says: Jul 3, 2011 8:36 PM

    bwisnasky says:
    Jul 3, 2011 9:17 AM

    Okay.. if you don’t like 2010 as an answer… how about 2002, which if I’m not mistaken is more recent than 1998, which was actually the last year the Broncos were relevant.
    ——————————————–

    2010 isn’t answer, they didn’t go to the playoffs.

    2002 is not more recent than 2005. The year the Broncos went to the AFC Championship after a 13-3 season.

    This is a horrible argument to have anyway, it’s like arguing over which fat chick is hotter.

    808raiderinparadise,

    In a list the following number formats are acceptable: 1) and 1.

    The format you listed, 1.), doesn’t make any sense.

  35. bwisnasky says: Jul 4, 2011 7:46 AM

    2002 is not more recent than 2005. The year the Broncos went to the AFC Championship after a 13-3 season.

    —————————————————-

    Yes.. but the Raiders are still the only team other than the Patriots, Colts and Steelers to represent the AFC in the Superbowl the past decade.

  36. broncobeta says: Jul 5, 2011 12:18 PM

    bwisnasky says:

    Yes.. but the Raiders are still the only team other than the Patriots, Colts and Steelers to represent the AFC in the Superbowl the past decade.

    ———————-

    What was the score? Whenever I search Oakland Raider Su… Google instant just shows Oakland Raiders Suck.

  37. bwisnasky says: Jul 5, 2011 10:06 PM

    And just how many Superbowls have the Broncos lost through the years…. oh yeah… and what was the score of that 1990 Masterpiece against the other team in the Bay?

  38. frostymugobeer says: Jul 20, 2011 5:15 PM

    Let’s all play nice with the raider fans…..we have to remember that many of them had never seen their team reach that lofty .500 mark until last year.
    let them bask in the glory of it….it could be another decade until they reach such heights again !
    new team motto……..
    just win ( as many as you lose ) baby!

  39. jefflangan says: Jul 26, 2011 12:11 PM

    Why does Kyle Orton never get the respect he deserves? He had 3000+ passing yards, 20 TD’s, and 9 INT’s. He was top-5 in the league in passing when he was benched. It’s not his fault he didn’t have a running game that was consistent, with all the running backs getting injured, and a high-school level defense. He is a game manager. Give him a decent team, and he can succeed. Denver needs a constant QB. And Tebow isn’t it.

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