2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Broncos have Super Bowl in their sights

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-07-23 12:52

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Forget about Peyton Manning's neck and right arm. Both held up just fine last year. The question now is about his broad shoulders.

As in, can he carry the weighty expectations of the Rocky Mountain region that will be satisfied with nothing less than a Super Bowl title?

It's especially important with defensive leader Von Miller facing the possibility of a monthlong NFL drug suspension to start the season.

The Broncos roared into the playoffs riding an 11-game winning streak and touting the AFC's best record at 13-3 only to see Rahim Moore flail at Joe Flacco's rainbow pass to Jacoby Jones for the game-tying 70-yard touchdown in the final minute of regulation, the defining moment of their double-overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Front office boss John Elway went all-in, adding Wes Welker, Louis Vasquez and Montee Ball to Manning's stockpile in another offseason spending spree that also saw All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady sign the biggest deal for an offensive lineman in team history.

``I think this is a big year for us,'' Clady said while basking in the glow of his five-year, $57.5 million contract. ``We definitely have a lot of expectations: Super Bowl or bust, for the most part. It's a lot of pressure, unlike last year where we kind of just rolled in and tried to get things together.''

The Broncos are loaded on both sides of the ball and own the league's most electrifying special teams, so all the ingredients are there to make a run at a third Lombardi trophy.

Five things to know as the Broncos prepare to open training camp in Englewood, Colo.

1. GET OVER IT: The Denver Broncos have moved on, even if their fans haven't. That includes Moore, the safety whose blunder led to Denver's playoff loss. Many fans wondered if Moore could ever play in Denver again after his gaffe. The Broncos, however, are sticking with the third-year pro who remains the starter at free safety. ``I think he's over it; I think we're all over it, you know,'' Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. ``I think we all look back and see things that we could have done better. We also look back with a great deal of pride in what we accomplished ... and we want to get ready to be better this year.''

2. TOP TRIO: Led by the shy Demaryius Thomas, the soft-spoken Wes Welker and the selfless Eric Decker, the Broncos represent the antithesis of those high-maintenance superstars who demand the ball every down. These three combined for 297 receptions and 29 TD catches last season.

3. PEYTON'S PROTECTOR: Clady is finally in a good place both fiscally and physically. Manning's blindside protector signed a deal that includes $33 million in guarantees. He skipped last year's trip to Hawaii with a torn right labrum that required surgery. He hopes to be back on the field by early August. He's never missed a game in his career (83 counting playoffs) and the Broncos are confident he'll be in the starting lineup Sept. 5 to face former teammate Elvis Dumervil when the Ravens visit Denver.

4. WEAK LINK? Clady is one of four starters along the offensive line coming off surgeries that eliminated or limited their offseason on-field work. Left guard Zane Beadles was the only starting lineman to come out of last season unscathed. Orlando Franklin (toe, shoulder), Chris Kuper (ankle) and J.D. Walton (knee) also needed operations, and of the three, only Franklin was at full health during minicamps. The Broncos signed Dan Koppen to fill in at center for Walton. Their biggest free-agency signing outside of Welker was Vasquez at right guard. If Kuper recovers from his second surgery in as many years, he'll likely compete for a backup spot.

5. ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BRONCOS: The infamous fax fiasco last spring led to Dumervil's departure to Baltimore, and so now it's up to several others to make up for his locker room leadership and his harassment of quarterbacks, especially with Miller facing the possibility of missing the first month of the season. Shaun Phillips came over from San Diego and Quanterus Smith from Western Kentucky to help fill the void, but Robert Ayers, Jeremy Beal and Malik Jackson hope to show the Broncos they had Dumervil's replacement right under their nose.

---

Online: AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

Victor CruzJul 28 02:23p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) is supposedly faster now than he was before he tore his patellar tendon last season, according to teammate CB Prince Amukamara. Amukamara [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 11:53a

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was waived/injured Tuesday, July 28.

Josh FreemanJul 28 10:43a

Free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Dolphins) was re-signed by the Miami Dolphins Tuesday, July 28, according to his agent, Ron Freeman.

Tom BradyJul 28 10:13a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is expected to have his four-game suspension upheld, a source told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. Smith said on 'ESPN First Take' Tuesday, July [ More ]

Chris CooleyJul 27 10:42p

Free-agent TE Chris Cooley (Redskins) is still considering a comeback, although he said Monday, July 27, in a radio interview that he does not anticipate a team signing him [ More ]

Josh McCownJul 27 10:32p

Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown enters training camp as the team's starting signal caller, but head coach Mike Pettine said Monday, July 27, that McCown is not guaranteed of [ More ]

Markus WheatonJul 27 07:12p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton is believed to have performed the best among the wide receivers during offseason workouts.

Brandon LaFellJul 27 05:22p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Jadeveon ClowneyJul 27 05:12p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Kevin BrockJul 27 05:02p

Free-agent TE Kevin Brock (Bengals) signed with the New Orleans Saints Monday, July 27.

Matthew TuckerJul 27 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Matthew Tucker (undisclosed) was waived from the Non-Football Injury list Monday, July 27.

Da'Quan BowersJul 27 04:52p

Free-agent DE Da'Quan Bowers (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, July 27.

Jonathan MartinJul 27 03:02p

Carolina Panthers OT Jonathan Martin (back) has chosen to retire. Martin will need surgery on his injured back.

Tom BradyJul 27 02:02p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension still has not been announced, and the NFL is now open to talking with the NFL Players Association [ More ]

Doug MartinJul 27 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin could be in line for a big, bounce-back year, in the opinion of beat writer Roy Cummings.

Casey MatthewsJul 27 09:12a

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve due to a hip injury Sunday, July 26.

Casey MatthewsJul 26 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) has been placed on injured reserve due to a hip injury that occurred during the team's offseason program.

Blair WalshJul 26 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings PK Blair Walsh signed a four-year contract extension Sunday, July 26, worth $14 million. The deal includes $5.25 million in guaranteed money.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group