2014 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.

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

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

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dwayne AllenNov 23 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) is inactive Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Trent WilliamsNov 23 12:32p

Washington Redskins OT Trent Williams (ankle, knee) is not expected to play in Week 12 because of his injuries.

Danny LansanahNov 23 12:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah is moving from strongside linebacker to weakside linebacker in place of LB Lavonte David (hamstring). LB Orie Lemon will start at strongside linebacker.

Greg JenningsNov 23 11:52a

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) is active for the team's Week 12 game.

Blidi Wreh-WilsonNov 23 11:52a

The Tennessee Titans have declared CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, QB Charlie Whitehurst, WR Kris Durham, CB Marqueston Huff, TE Richard Gordon, DL Ropati Pitoitua, OT Will Svitek inactive for Week 12.

Arian FosterNov 23 11:42a

The Houston Texans have declared RB Arian Foster, WR DeVier Posey, OT Jeff Adams, S Josh Aubrey, CB Kareem Jackson, LB Max Bullough, QB Tom Savage inactive for Week 12.

Andre BranchNov 23 11:42a

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, LB Jeremiah George, WR Mike Brown, OT Sam Young, RB Storm Johnson, CB Teddy Williams, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 12.

Crezdon ButlerNov 23 11:42a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared CB C.J. X. Wilson, CB Crezdon Butler, DL Da'Quan Bowers, OT Kevin Pamphile, LB Lavonte David, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron inactive for Week 12.

Jordan CameronNov 23 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared TE Jordan Cameron, LB Karlos Dansby, WR Marlon Moore, CB Pierre Desir, DB Robert Nelson, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 12.

Rex BurkheadNov 23 11:42a

The Cincinnati Bengals have declared CB Chris Lewis-Harris, WR Dane Sanzenbacher, WR Greg Little, DL Margus Hunt, RB Rex Burkhead, OT Tanner Hawkinson, LB Vontaze Burfict inactive for Week 12.

Dwayne AllenNov 23 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared TE Dwayne Allen, OT Gosder Cherilus, CB Greg Toler, DL Kelcy Quarles, C Khaled Holmes, OG Lance Louis, NT Zachariah Kerr inactive for Week 12.

Arian FosterNov 23 11:33a

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is out Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Brandon WattsNov 23 11:32a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared OT Austin Wentworth, LB Brandon Watts, OG David Yankey, RB Matt Asiata, LB Michael Mauti, DL Sharrif Floyd, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 12.

Dennis KellyNov 23 11:32a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 12.

Josh GordonNov 23 11:22a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not receive a fine or suspension for pleading guilty to driving under the influence charge in North Carolina, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 23 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) was not spotted during early warmups Sunday, Nov. 23, and he's unlikely to play in Week 12.

Lavonte DavidNov 23 10:52a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Lavonte David (hamstring) will miss the first game of his career Sunday, Nov. 23, as he's out for Week 12.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 23 10:32a

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) 'needs a miracle' to play Sunday, Nov. 23, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIINov 23 10:12a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's point of emphasis is to get the ball out quickly Sunday, Nov. 23. Head coach Jay Gruden has dumbed down the offense to [ More ]

Julius ThomasNov 23 10:02a

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) is unlikely to play Sunday, Nov. 23, in Week 12.

Ben TateNov 23 09:52a

Minnesota Vikings RB Ben Tate will be active Sunday, Nov. 23, and have a role in Week 12. RB Matt Asiata will be inactive.

Lamar MillerNov 23 09:52a

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (shoulder, knee) will play Sunday, Nov. 23, according to a source.

Josh GordonNov 23 09:22a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is expected to play 20-30 snaps Sunday, Nov. 23.

Jonas GrayNov 23 09:22a

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray will play Sunday, Nov. 23, after being late to practice Friday, Nov. 21. He'll split carries with RB LeGarrette Blount in Week 12.

Reggie BushNov 22 05:32p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is likely out for Week 12 and is targeting the Thanksgiving Day game Thursday, Nov. 27, to return.

Marcel ReeceNov 22 04:42p

Oakland Raiders FB Marcel Reece earned more carries after his performance in Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 20. Reece rushed for 46 yards during a crucial 17-play, 80-yard drive late [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 22 04:22p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is highly unlikely to suit up Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Josh GordonNov 22 01:32p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon was officially activated from the exempt/commissioner permission list Saturday, Nov. 22. In a subsequent move, the team waived LB Keith Pough.

A.J. JenkinsNov 22 12:42p

The Kansas City Chiefs have placed WR A.J. Jenkins (shoulder) on the Reserve/Injured list.

Charles ClayNov 21 05:52p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and he is doubtful for Week 12 against the Denver Broncos. Clay suffered a setback in practice [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 21 05:32p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is questionable for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Bill O'Brien said Foster would [ More ]

Jason AvantNov 21 04:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs will sign free-agent WR Jason Avant (Panthers), according to a source. Avant worked out for the team Friday, Nov. 21.

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