After falling short in last year's AFC playoff game versus the Baltimore Ravens after the amazing long toss by Joe Flacco the Broncos seemed devastated. Then, this year completely "choking" in one of the worst Super Bowl Championship games ever, the Denver Broncos now have to really focus on areas to help them over that hump. With that being said, here are a few issues that need to be addressed by Denver this off season:
Make Changes To Secondary
After witnessing how horrific the Broncos secondary played in the Super Bowl versus the Seattle Seahawks, it is clear that change is needed there. One of the first orders of business should be to renegotiate Champ Bailey's $10 million year salary so that Denver has more money to work with for free agency and the draft. Bailey only played in five regular season games in 2013 due to his injured foot. In those games, he racked up a total of fourteen tackles and three deflected passes.
Champ isn't at the level that he once was which is understandable that comes with age. He is still reliable covering the slot man, but when it comes to covering the outside forget about it. There has been reports flaring that Bailey may be making a move to safety next season. When asked about the possibility, Champ made the following statement:
" If it makes sense, it's something I'd definitely look into."
With Champ Bailey and Rahim Moore at safety they may be a slight bit better at covering the zones. It all depends on what head coach John Fox wants to do.
Cornerback Dominique -Cromartie's contract is up and it is unknown whether he will decide to remain in Denver. If he does there are other guys to look at to replace him such as New England's Aqib Talib who shut down Broncos wide receiver Demarius Thomas in the AFC Championship while he was in the game before he left due to injury. Other than him, it may be smart to focus on drafting some more secondary and make it younger. As soon as the issue with the secondary is addressed the Broncos' defense will be much better.
Operation Protect Peyton
Obviously, the Super Bowl didn't go his way, but Peyton still had the best season any quarterback has ever had in history. His 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 yard season shatters any other quarterback's performance. One of the flaws that was exposed in the game versus Seattle was the offensive line not being able to protect Peyton. Almost as soon as he made his dropback, on his first step he had a Seattle jersey in his face. Now, not even the great Peyton Manning can't overcome that pressure every time.
The two interceptions he threw in the game were both because of all of the non stop pressure he was consistently receiving. Prior to the Super Bowl, the offensive line seemed like they would do just fine without star offensive tackle Ryan Clady, but the lack of depth was exposed in the Super Bowl. Just like defense, bringing more depth to Denver on the offensive line would be a smart task to pursue this off season, whether its from the draft or free agency something needs to be done in order to compete against a dominant defense like Seattle's.
The main thing for the Denver Broncos to keep in mind is that it is not the end of the world. They still have Peyton Manning and weapons on offense even if they lose both Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno to free agency they have other guys that can step up like Montee Ball and Wes Welker.
The main focus has to be defense, if they want to continue to compete at a high level, having the number one offense and the number twenty two ranked defense will not win a championship. Not to mention, the defense allowed 24 points per game which also is 22nd in the league. The secondary allowed 274 yards per game which ranks 27th. After that kind of performance from a defense, it is simply that that has to be your main priority to fix going into the off season so this may be Denver's most important off season in team history.
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