The Denver Broncos are coming off their first losing season since 2010. What does this team have to do to reverse their recent misfortunes?
As we have learned, it doesn’t take too long for a team to rise from the NFL ashes and win a title. The Philadelphia Eagles were 7-9 and last in the NFC East in 2016. Earlier this month, they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy and are still celebrating in the City of Brotherly Love.
It also doesn’t take much for things to go awry. In 2015, the Denver Broncos were Super Bowl champions thanks to one of the great defensive seasons in league annals. This past season, the club finished dead last in the AFC West with a 5-11 record – the franchise’s first losing campaign since 2010. All told, this is a team that has finished a combined 14-18 the past two years after posting a total of 15 victories (including playoffs) back in ’15.
Head coach Vance Joseph returns for his second season at the helm. But what can Broncos’ head honcho John Elway do to help his sideline leader’s and club’s cause? Here are a few suggestions.
5. Find a play-making tight end
Over the course of two seasons from 2013-14, tight end Julius Thomas caught a combined 108 passes for 1,277 yards and 24 touchdowns. Of course, those were the days of quarterback Peyton Manning and those prolific offenses that racked up lots of yards and points.
Fast very forward to this past season. Denver Broncos’ tight ends Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman, Austin Traylor and A.J. Derby (now a member of the Miami Dolphins) combined for 50 catches, good for just 657 yards and five scores. Yes, Green is better known for his run-blocking but it was Heuerman that wound up being the team’s tight end when it came to this attribute in 2017 (via Pro Football Focus). Now the former is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next month.
Of course, the team did invest a fifth-round selection last April on University of Michigan prospect Jake Butt. But the 6-foot-5, 246-pound pass-catcher. However, he spent all of 2017 on the non-football injury list so it’s a matter of wait-and-see. In any case, it’s safe to say that the Broncos could use a reliable downfield presence at this position – regardless of who’s playing quarterback for the club this season.