Free Agency Frenzy: The Broncos Moves Make Them Super Bowl Favorites
Published June 9th, 2014
The Denver Broncos went to the Super Bowl in 2013 and got the tar kicked out of them. It was never competitive. The best offense in the history of the NFL, statistically speaking, only managed to get eight points in garbage time. Peyton Manning looked off from the very first play of the game, as did the entire offense.
The one bright spot was wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. He set a new record for catches in a Super Bowl, he scored the only Denver touchdown, and he went for over 100 yards. He also did most of that with a separated shoulder. Other than Thomas, though, it looked like none of the players from Denver even showed up for the game. The Seattle Seahawks scored on offense, defense and special teams, pushing Denver around and winning with ease.
John Elway hated it. He had been involved in similar Super Bowls when he was a player, and there is no doubt that watching his team get manhandled like that brought back a lot of memories that he did not want to dwell on any longer. In his position now of helping to run the team, he knew that he had to do something to turn the ship around.
The 2014 offseason has shown that Elway knows exactly what he's doing, and it has put Denver in a position to be the favorites to win the Super Bowl, despite the beating they took.
The problem with the Broncos in 2013 was simple: They weren't physical. The defense was all right, but it mostly relied on the offense to score a lot of points. They were a finesse team, and they could usually win with that during the season. The playoffs got physical, though, and the Seahawks were the kings of physical play.
The Broncos needed to be mean. They needed to be tough. They needed to make other people feel afraid of them, to dictate on defense how they wanted the game to go.
The first three free agents that the Broncos signed took care of that problem. The first was T.J. Ward, the hard-hitting safety out of Oregon who played four years in Cleveland. He's an enforcer, almost a linebacker, and he loves to just destroy people coming into his part of the field. The second was Aqib Talib, a shutdown corner who had been with the New England Patriots. He's also physical, and he's a big corner who knows how to push receivers around. Finally, they added DeMarcus Ware, a dominant defensive end/linebacker who made a name for himself in Dallas.
When Ware was signed, he said that the Broncos were getting some "nastiness". He was 100 percent correct. It's a mentality change for the Broncos, recalling the fabled "Orange Crush" defense from the past. All three players upgrade their respective positions and they all bring physicality and meanness. It's a copycat league, and the Broncos are simply copying the Seahawks.
The only difference is that the Broncos offense is incredible, while the Seahawks offense was very average. With a defensive makeover and basically that same offense, led by Peyton Manning, Denver has to be the favorite to win it all.