Denver Broncos Team Overview 2020

Denver Broncos Team Overview 2020

Broncos Team Overview 2020

Denver Broncos Team Preview 2020

Owner: 

Right now there isn’t and owner but Pat Bowlen used to be the owner.  But Pat died in the summer of 2019 and now one of his 7 children will become the owner. 

First, these children have to be evaluated by 3 board of trustees from the Broncos organization.  It looked like Brittany Bowlen was going to become the owner but now there is internal strife with the decision and the Broncos could be up for sale very soon. 

Joe Ellis is the CEO and president and has been with the Broncos since 1983.  He is now in control of the decisions so it will be interesting to see which direction they head in.

General Manager

John Elway.  Elway was the best quarterback in franchise history and led the Broncos to back to back super bowls in the mid 1990’s.  

He retired in the 1998 and then became the GM in 2011.  Elway did a really good job in organizing the Broncos team in the mid 2010’s. 

He was able to build a team that won a super bowl and it was built on defense.  It was quite the upset too. 

Now the Broncos are in a transition period and he hasn’t brought in the right head coaches or quarterbacks since Peyton Manning retired. 

They have a new young quarterback and a veteran coach.  They have also added a lot of talent in the draft.  It will be interesting to see if the Broncos can bounce back in a competitive AFC west.

Head Coach: 

Vic Fangio.  Fangio is a long time defensive coordinator for a lot of NFL teams since the 1990’s.  He got his first head coaching gig with the Broncos last season in 2019. 

He didn’t have the best of season and it was in large part due to QB Joe Flacco and also a non existent running game. 

The defense isn’t as elite as it used to be but the defensive unit still played tough in 2019. 

GM John Elway has brought in a lot of talent in free agency and the draft so this will be the year to see if Fangio is cut out to be a head coach or not.

Fantasy Outlook for the Broncos

QB: Drew Lock

Lock was on pace for around 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for his 2019 season if he started every game.  He only started the last 5 and went 4-1 as a starter. 

He showed a lot of confidence and swag.  He looked great for the Broncos and showed promise of things to come. 

The Broncos didn’t bring a veteran qb in or draft another young one to compete with him.  This is purely his job now. 

I think he will have a pretty good year in 2020 but I think as long as Shurmer is the OC, than Lock will never reach his potential. 

I don’t think he will throw for 30 touchdowns this season and I don’t think he throws for over 4,000 yards either.  I really like Lock but Shurmer is not a top play caller or offensive mind in the NFL.

RB: Melvin Gordon

I really like Gordon this year.  The offensive line is really good at run blocking in the interior and the tackles are pretty good too.  Shurmer always commits to running the ball so Gordon will definitely get his carries. 

I don’t anticipate Philip Lindsay eating into his carries too much.  Lindsay will be a flash guy here or there but this is Gordon’s backfield as shown by the 2 year $16 million dollar deal. 

Paying a RB $8 million dollars per year is code for, you really like them and will use them a lot. 

Shurmer also isn’t afraid to use running backs in the receiving game either.  The other thing to like about Gordon is that the Broncos have a really good defense. 

This means that they probably won’t abandon the run game a lot in 2020.  Overall, Gordon is being mock drafted late in the 3rd round. 

This would be a steal to get him around the tail end of the 3rd round.  I think he will get 1,100 yards rushing, 10 total touchdowns and 45 catches for 400 yards. 

That would come out to be around 230 fantasy points in half ppr league formats.  That is easily top 10 fantasy running back numbers.  Draft Gordon and be thrilled about it.

WR: Courtland Sutton

This is going to be Sutton’s 3rd season in the NFL.  The 3rd seasons, for WR’s and RB’s, are usually their breakout seasons.  I am on the fence with Sutton. 

I think he is easily a top talent at WR in the NFL but with Shurmer calling the plays and the additions of Juedy and Hamler make me nervous. 

Especially taking him in the early 4th round.  I don’t think QB Drew Lock will throw for 30 touchdowns so that probably means between Sutton, Juedy, Hamler and Fant, there will only be about 6 touchdowns per player. 

Now maybe Sutton takes 2 from Fant and that gives him 8 touchdowns with about 80 receptions for a 1,200 yard season. 

That would put him in the top 12 of fantasy WR’s most likely in 2020.  However, that projection is my ceiling for Sutton and that is a risk I am not willing to put a ton of faith in during this 2020 season under Shurmer.

WR: Jerry Juedy

I’m not drafting Juedy this season.  I think he is an incredible talent and I loved watching him at Alabama but Sutton is the number 1, Hamler is a great #3 and Shurmer is the play caller.  Those are all 3 big reasons not to draft Juedy on your team this season.

WR: KJ Hamler

Just like Juedy’s description above, not a great situation for Hamler to put up huge numbers.  Only pick up Hamler if Juedy or Sutton go down because of injury.

TE: Noah Fant

I think Fant’s a bust.  He lacks heart or toughness.  I can’t put my finger on it but I can just tell he will never be as great as his first round selection should make him.

There are other tight ends later in the draft that will be much more reliable then Fant.

Broncos Offensive Preview 2020:

Pat Shurmer.  Shurmer has been offensive coordinator and head coach of a couple of NFL teams.  He was the head coach of the Giants the past 2 seasons and did terribly.

It is kind of part his fault and also partly the GM’s fault.  However, Shurmers track record is not impressive as a head coach or an offensive coordinator. 

This actually a baffling hire by John Elway and Vic Fangio.  I guess it would be Fangio but I am sure Elway had to approve this too. 

Shurmer’s only top 10 offense in terms of points, was when he was the OC in Philadelphia.  The only problem with that was Chip Kelly was the head coach during that time. 

Kelly was the one calling the plays, not Shurmer.  It’s honestly impressive the Shurmer still has a high level coaching job in the NFL. 

He must be well liked by NFL executives and coaches because his track records stinks.  It’s a shame too because Denver has all of this amazing talent on offense. 

I don’t know, maybe this is the year Shurmer puts it all together but i’m not optimistic about the situation. 

Shurmer’s philosophy is to use play action to open up deep passes down the field.  This is basically every offense’s goal but Shurmer has really stuck to running the ball a lot in order to try and get this success. 

He has run the ball around 47% of the time as an offensive coordinator.  So he isn’t pass happy but he definitely likes to throw the ball if he feels like he has a good quarterback to do so. 

Ultimately, Shurmer is what his numbers reflect.  He has a big enough sample size to make a conclusion that he isn’t one of the top offensive minds in football. 

He is wildly inconsistent and his only true good season was in 2017 with Minnesota.  I expect an average offense this season from the Broncos and Shurmer. 

Head Coach Fangio says he wants this team to be aggressive so I am sure they will try and take some shots down field. 

I think it will be predictable.  It makes me sad because I wanted to like a lot of the Broncos players but I think the safest bet will be Melvin Gordon.

Chiefs Defensive Preview 2020: 

Vic Fangio.  Fangio is also the head coach and he is one of the few head coach’s that also calls plays for the defense. 

There have been a lot of coaches in the past to call offenses but not a lot to call the defensive plays.  Last season Fangio did pretty good with what he had.

  They finished 10 in the NFL in points allowed.  They had a decent pass rush that was middle of the NFL but missed Bradley Chubb for a large part of the season due to a torn ACL. 

They were also pretty good against the pass.  They struggled in creating turnovers and also stopping the run at times.

Defensive Line

So in order to first stop the run, GM Elway traded for star defensive tackle Jurell Casey from the Titans.  He only had to trade away a 7th round draft pick. 

Elway considers it a steal and it really is a steal considering Casey is still producing really good numbers.  The other defensive tackle in this 3-4 base defense is Shelby Harris. 

Harris had a really good year last season and the HC Fangio reached out to him to keep him in Denver for 2020.  This meant a lot to Harris. 

Harris also says he thinks the Broncos are going to shock the NFL in 2020.  The other starter on this 3-4 line is NT Mike Purcell. 

Purcell is regarded as one of the best run stoppers in the NFL.  This should be a much better run stopping unit in 2020 if they can all stay healthy. 

They also have a 3rd round defensive tackle for depth and Dre’Mont Jones and Demarcus Walker who have flashed in spurts. 

All in all this is a pretty good defensive line group. 

Linebackers

The outside linebackers are Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.  Miller and Chubb are excellent pass rushers.

  If Chubb looks like his old self then the 2 of them could be the best pass rushing duo in the NFL.  Malik Reed and Jeremiah Attaochu are the back ups outside linebackers. 

Both of these players are nothing special. 

The inside backers are Todd Davis and Alexander Johnson.  Johnson really is 28 years old and has only played in 1 full season.  That was last year and he did really well. 

He is great at the point of attack and also in the run game.  He isn’t bad as a pass covering linebacker but it’s not his strong suit.  He is also a good blitzing linebacker. 

The same basically applies to Todd Davis.  Davis is another tackling machine but isn’t the best in coverage.  The pass coverage from the linebacking group is a concern to watch in 2020. 

They don’t have any backup linebackers who can play the pass well either. 

Front 7 Conclusion

With all of this being said, the broncos should turn their rush defense into a top 10 or 5 defense in 2020.  Also playing in Mile High is always an advantage. 

The pass rush should be pretty solid too.  They have good interior pass rushers and if Chubb is healthy then this defense under Fangio could be a top 10 or 5 sack defense too. 

Cornerbacks

The secondary has a new face in AJ Bouye and 3rd round rookie Michael Ojemudia at cornerback.  Bouye used to play in Jacksonville but the Jaguars traded him to the Broncos for a fourth rounder. 

Bouye is an average to above average cornerback.  He plays really hard and is always in the right position but doesn’t always make a good play on the ball. 

I would consider him to be a little bit better than Bradley Roby.  Ojemudia played at Iowa and when he got the call from Denver in the 3rd round, he believes that the stars aligned. 

Coach Fangio believes Ojemudia plays the game really well and is corner who could play from day 1.  Elway said they targeted him on Day 2 of the draft and were excited that he was there when they were up to make a selection. 

The other starting cornerback is Bryce Callahan.  Callahan missed the entire 2019 season due to a surgery not healing well.  He is good to go for 2020 and he could be a huge player for this defense. 

Fangio loved having him in Chicago and if Callahan can play like he did in 2018 for the Bears then this could be a little above average corner group. 

The other 2 corners worth mentioning is Isaac Yiadom and De’Vante Bausby.  Yiadom started the first half of the season but it didn’t go well for him. 

He got benched for the remainder of the season.  He is a young corner so maybe Fangio gives him another chance but he didn’t look good last year. 

Bausby replaced Yiadom and did ok.  Nothing amazing but the Broncos signed him to a 1 year deal this off season. 

Between these 5 corners, they shouldn’t hurt the Broncos too much.  It’s not an amazing group but its a group that should play well for most of the season.  I still believe they will get outmatched against top talent. 

Safeties

The 2 safeties are really good on this Broncos defense.  They are Kareem Jackson and Justin Simmons.  Jackson is the strong safety and he made a lot of plays last season for the Broncos. 

Jackson can also cover like a corner.  He is a really good football player.  The other safety, Simmons is a very instinctive and smart player who makes a ton of plays too. 

This was already a defense who was top 10 in defending the pass and only gave up the 5th least amount of passing touchdowns in 2019. 

They essentially only lost Chris Harris Jr. but added Bouye to replace him.  They get Bradley Chubb back and have added Jurell Casey. 

There is a lot of excitement in Denver for good reasons.  I think Fangio and these players take a big step in year 2 and become a top 7 or 5 defense in points allowed in 2020.

Fun Facts About Coaches:

Mike Munchak is the offensive line coach and he is one of the best assistant coaches in the NFL. 

Mike Shula is the QB’s coach and he has been coaching QB’s in the NFL for 25 years.  This is the only hope for Drew Lock to have a monster year but it’s a long shot given that Shurmer is the play caller. 

Shurmer has never played called an offense that made it in the top 9 of scoring offenses.

John Pagano is a defensive coach and he has tons of experience too.  He is related to Chuck Pagano as a brother.

Depth Chart:

Contract year players:

LB: Von Miller

FS: Justin Simmons

SS: Kareem Jackson

LB: Todd Davis

K: Brandon McManus

DL: Mike Purcell

OL: Garett Bolles

Broncos Offensive Line Preview

This O-line is a true middle of the pack O-line.  They don’t have any world beaters but they also don’t have any liabilities. 

Well, Center could be a little problem if their 3rd round pick Logan Cushenberry III doesn’t pan out.  Cushenberry the 3rd is supposed to start day 1 at center after they let last year’s center leave in free agency. 

Cushenberry played at LSU and played against a lot of really good big boys in the SEC.  He is known for his run blocking but didn’t look to good in pass protection. 

Luckily for Cushenberry III, the Broncos added right guard Graham Glasgow.  Glasgow had a really good season with the Lions last year and will probably be the best player on this line in 2020. 

Glasgow is a pretty good run blocker and didn’t give up a sack in 2019.  This was a really good pick up for the Broncos. 

The right tackle will be Ja’Wuan James.  James basically missed all of last season.  He has had a lot of injury problems.  He also isn’t an amazing tackle.  In 2018, he gave up 7 sacks and also had 7 penalties.  Not the best of numbers but isn’t awful either for a tackle.  

He needs to stay healthy and he needs to live up to his contract value.  This is definitely worth watching.  I say worth watching because the left tackle position is Garett Bolles.  Bolles was a former 1st rounder but he hasn’t lived up to the hype. 

He has led the league in penalties a lot of the years he has been in the NFL.  He had 17 last season.  He only gave up 4 sacks but who knows how many he would’ve gave up if he didn’t draw penalties.  The competitor is Elijah Wilkinson or Calvin Anderson. 

Wilkinson played for Ju’Wuan James last season and gave up 10 sacks so he isn’t a great option.  The other player, Anderson, is young and unproven.  His scouting report says that he is slow out of his stance and just a better run blocker than pass blocker. 

Overall, its not the best situation at both Tackle spots and the back up competitors.  This will probably play out to a bad situation between James’ health and Bolles penalties. 

The last player on this line is left guard Dalton Risner.  Risner was considered to be the Broncos best offensive lineman as a rookie in 2019.  They think he can become an all pro for the next decade. 

This is huge praise for Risner.  He played pretty well and only gave up 3 sacks.  Risner was a former 2nd round pick out of Kansas State.

The thing that could be the saving grace for this offensive line in the coach, Mike Munchak.  Munchak came over from the Steelers last season. 

He had a ton of success and is regarded as one of the best assistant coaches in the NFL.  He had some star players in Pittsburgh but always got great production out of his tackles. 

The lack of Tackles taken by the Broncos in the draft or free agency probably shows that Munchak thinks that he can fix them. 

As a Steeler fan, I think Munchak can turn this line around in 2020.  It’s a lot of work but there is enough talent there for Munchak to make a good cohesive group. 

They will be pretty good at run blocking in the interior and also the tackles too.  The biggest problem will be the pass blocking by half of the O-line.

 

Eric

Thank you for reading my post. Dominique and I hope you find our website helpful. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or comments!

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment