Our rip-roarin’, QB-battlin’, coach-firin’, trash-talkin’ look at the upcoming season on Colorado’s most-storied gridirons
Too Much Drama, Too Little Football
Storyline Since their 13–3 playoff run in 2005, the Broncos have gone 32–32, the epitome of mediocrity. They have not, however, been boring. Unfortunately, most of the franchise’s drama has occurred away from the gridiron. As 2010 dawns, the Broncos have been undeniably remade in head coach Josh McDaniels’ image, a cast of scrappy, team-oriented achievers who live and breathe football. Still, in the NFL, chemistry enhances talent but seldom trumps it, and the question this year is whether the Broncos have enough of both to start winning games again.
Our guess: a big, fat, wishy-washy maybe. We know Elvis Dumervil will continue terrorizing quarterbacks. We know Brian Dawkins will hit and lead, and that Knowshon Moreno will make people miss. We know it’s likely that Kyle Orton will show teasing flashes of greatness and overwhelm them with just a few too many ill-timed throws and curious decisions.
And we know the entire football nation will be scrutinizing Tim Tebow and his efforts to become Superman—er, an NFL quarterback. Given his rawness, Donkey faithful probably shouldn’t expect Tebow to leap tall defenders in many games this season. Instead, we’re likely looking at another year of promise mixed with struggles in an improving AFC West. The truth is, a record hovering somewhere between 7–9 and 9–7 seems likely. Strangely, that could be a sign of progress in Broncoland—as long as the action stays between the sidelines.
Hot Seat The Broncos haven’t exactly showered Orton with votes of confidence. If he struggles at all, fans and the media will be clamoring for Tebow or Brady Quinn to step behind center.
Key games If the Broncos can survive the gauntlet of Indy, Tennessee, Baltimore, and the Jets in weeks three through six, the rest of the season should stack up fairly well.
Players to watch How well the receivers perform may dictate the QB race, and third-year wideout Eddie Royal will have to lead this collection of promising rookies and veteran journeymen. —Luc Hatlestad
2010 Schedule (all times local)
- Sept. 12: Broncos vs. Jaguars away 11 a.m.
- Sept. 19: Broncos vs. Seahawks home 2:05 p.m.
- Sept. 26: Broncos vs. Colts home 2:15 p.m.
- Oct. 3: Broncos vs. Titans away 11 a.m.
- Oct. 10: Broncos vs. Ravens away 11 a.m.
- Oct. 17: Broncos vs. Jets home 2:05 p.m.
- Oct. 24: Broncos vs. Raiders home 2:15 p.m.
- Oct. 31: Broncos vs. 49ers neutral site (London) 11 a.m.
- Nov. 14: Broncos vs. Chiefs home 2:05 p.m.
- Nov. 22: Broncos vs. Chargers away 6:30 p.m.
- Nov. 28: Broncos vs. Rams home 2:15 p.m.
- Dec. 5: Broncos vs. Chiefs away 11 a.m.
- Dec. 12: Broncos vs. Cardinals away 2:15 p.m.
- Dec. 19: Broncos vs. Raiders away 2:15 p.m.
- Dec. 26: Broncos vs. Texans home 2:05 p.m.
- Jan. 2: Broncos vs. Chargers home 2:15 p.m.