Broncos Preview Capsule
DENVER BRONCOS (6-10)
New faces: HC Vic Fangio, OC Rich Scangarello, QB Joe Flacco, TE Noah Fant, LG Dalton Risner, RT Ja’Wuan James, SS Kareem Jackson, RCB Bryce Callahan, DE Dre’Mont Jones, WLB Malik Reed, QB Drew Lock, RB Theo Riddick, WR Juwann Winfree.
Key losses: C Matt Paradis, QB Case Keenum, RT Jared Veldheer, NT Domata Peko, ILB Brandon Marshall, CB Bradley Roby, SS Darian Stewart.
Strengths: Defense, as usual. Von Miller, Bradley Chubb combined for 26½ sacks last season. They expect more under Fangio, longtime defensive guru getting first head coaching gig at 61. Jones gives Broncos more push up middle. Harris is lone remaining member of original “No Fly Zone” secondary. Newcomers Jackson, Callahan provide fresh upgrades.
Weaknesses: Defensive weak link: inside linebacker, where Broncos bypassed Devin Bush with 10th overall draft pick, trading with Steelers, then selecting Fant at No. 20 instead. Offensive line also big question mark aside from Risner. OL coach Mike Munchak must fix LT Garett Bolles, C Connor McGovern. RG Ronald Leary coming back from torn Achilles tendon, James has dealt with sore hip.
Fantasy Players to Watch: WR Emmanuel Sanders has regained form after dual-ankle surgery (torn left Achilles tendon, “tightrope” surgery on right ankle). RBs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman healthy again, could be NFL’s next big 1-2 punch.
Vegas Says: Win Super Bowl 95-1. Over/under wins 7.
Expectations: Coming off worst two-year stretch since 1971-72, 8-8 would mark progress. Moves by GM John Elway scream win now! He gave Harris $3 million pay raise this season without extending contract, kept Sanders at $8.5 million, traded for Flacco ($18.5 million), committed $105 million for FAs James, Callahan, Jackson.