Key Additions: Joe Flacco, Bryce Callahan, Vic Fangio, Kareem Jackson, Ja’Wuan James, Noah Fant, Drew Lock, Dalton Risner
Key Returns: Chris Harris Jr., Jeff Heuerman, Zach Kerr
Key Departures: Bradley Roby, Shane Ray, Shaquil Barrett, Matt Paradis, Brandon Marshall, Case Keenum, Billy Turner, Matt LaCrosse
|Week 1||Sept. 9th 10:20 PM ET||@ Oakland Raiders (ESPN)|
|Week 2||Sept. 15th 4:25 PM ET||vs. Chicago Bears (FOX)|
|Week 3||Sept. 22nd 1:00 PM ET||@ Green Bay Packers (FOX)|
|Week 4||Sept. 29th 4:25 PM ET||vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (CBS)|
|Week 5||Oct. 6th 4:05 PM ET||@ Los Angeles Chargers (CBS)|
|Week 6||Oct. 13th 4:25 PM ET||vs. Tennessee Titans (CBS)|
|Week 7||Oct. 17th 8:20 PM ET||vs. Kansas City Chiefs (FOX)|
|Week 8||Oct. 27th 4:25 PM ET||@ Indianapolis Colts (CBS)|
|Week 9||Nov. 3rd 4:45 PM ET||vs. Cleveland Browns (CBS)|
|Week 10||Bye Week|
|Week 11||Nov. 17th 1:00 PM ET||@ Minnesota Vikings (CBS)|
|Week 12||Nov. 24th 1:00 PM ET||@Buffalo Bills (CBS)|
|Week 13||Dec. 1st 4:25 PM ET||vs. Los Angeles Chargers (CBS)|
|Week 14||Dec. 8th 1:00 PM ET||@ Houston Texans (CBS)|
|Week 15||Dec. 15th 1:00 PM ET||@ Kansas City Chiefs (CBS)|
|Week 16||Dec 22nd TBA||vs. Detroit Lions|
|Week 17||Dec 29th 4:25 PM ET||vs. Oakland Raiders (CBS)|
The Broncos have been mired in a spell of mediocrity since winning the Super Bowl after the 2015 season. After going 9-7 in 2016 and two underwhelming seasons of 5-11 and 6-10 records under Head Coach Vance Joseph in 2017 and 2018, the Broncos have decided to go with Vic Fangio as their new Head Coach. The team also brings in new coaching staff, including OC Rich Scangarello, DC Ed Donatell, and OL coach Mike Munchak.
In the three seasons since Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset, there has been no QB to claim the throne. The Broncos brought in the likes of Case Keenum, Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, and Trevor Siemian, who garnered starts, but to no avail. With all those QBs in the rearview mirror, the Broncos traded for Ravens QB Joe Flacco and drafted Missouri QB Drew Lock in hopes of reviving a sputtering offense. Flacco, 34, will be handed the reins to the Broncos offense, but it’s anybody’s guess as to how long he will be in control, and he is likely not seen as the long-term option. The offense brings back an impressive sophomore class, headlined by RBs Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, along with up and coming receiver Courtland Sutton. The Broncos also bring back mainstay WR Emmanuel Sanders, though he remains hobbled from an Achilles injury. With the offensive line in shambles, the Broncos made a big move by signing former Miami Dolphin OT Ja’Wuan James.
The defense returns largely intact, still strong, but not at the level during the 2015 Super Bowl run. Cornerback was the biggest change in the unit, with the “No Fly Zone” essentially disintegrating last season. The Broncos return elite CB Chris Harris Jr. after ongoing contract disputes and bring in former Chicago Bears CB Bryce Callahan and former Houston Texans CB Kareem Jackson to make this unit strong again. The rest of the defense remains strong, with linemen Shelby Harris, Demarcus Walker, Derek Wolfe, and Adam Gotsis returning. The LBs group returns with Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Josey Jewell, and Todd Davis. Safeties returning are Will Parks and Justin Simmons. The defense remains strong enough at all levels to keep this team in games.
The Broncos made strong moves in the draft, with Lock headlining the 2019 draft class. The Broncos also bring in OT Dalton Risner from Kansas State to partner with James and help stabilize a shaky offensive line. The Broncos hope to have big-bodied rookie TE Noah Fant play an integral part in the offense at a position that has been thin in recent seasons. With a group of weapons on the offense, the Broncos need steady QB play to take this offense to levels reminiscent of the Manning era.
The schedule does no favors for the Broncos, as they face the second-toughest schedule in the entire NFL, only behind their division rival Raiders. With two contests each against the high-flying Chiefs and balanced Chargers, divisional games remain a challenge, and winning the division is likely not realistic for this team. In addition, the Broncos welcome the Bears, Jaguars, and Browns to Mile High this year, along with hitting the road for tilts against the Texans, Vikings, Colts, and Packers.
Whether the Broncos stay in mediocrity or not revolves primarily on the improvement of the offense. If the offense makes strides, then the Broncos should be in the Wild Card hunt. If the Broncos start sputtering with Joe Flacco under the helm mid-season, the Broncos will be faced at a crossroads about whether to unleash Drew Lock, something that has been seen a few times recently with rookie QBs. Let’s hope John Elway hits a bullseye on Lock, as one way this can pan out is heading back to the drawing board or having another QB ride off into the sunset in the future.