Thursday, July 25, 2013
Manning, Welker have Broncos poised for Super Bowl run
By Jason Vida, ESPN Stats & Information
USA TODAY SportsThere's plenty of hype and intrigue for the Denver Broncos entering the 2013 season. SportsCenter is at Broncos training camp on Thursday and will try to answer some of their most important offseason questions.
Wes Welker (left) will catch passes from Peyton Manning (right) this season after being acquired by the Broncos in the offseason.
Is Peyton Manning the best QB in the NFL?
Coming off neck surgery, Peyton Manning led the NFL in Total QBR last season and posted his second-most passing yards and passing touchdowns in any season.
According to Total QBR, Manning’s 2012 season was the second best by a quarterback in the last five seasons. He’s also the highest-rated quarterback in the NFL during the last five seasons.
The Broncos appear to be in good position to compete for a Super Bowl title.
Manning, who turned 37 on March 24, will look to join Johnny Unitas and John Elway as the only starting quarterbacks 37 or older to win a Super Bowl.
What impact will Wes Welker have on Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker?
Last year, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker became the third pair of teammates in NFL history to each have 85 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in a season. And the Broncos added Wes Welker, who has reached five straight Pro Bowls, to the wide receiver mix this offseason.
Welker led the league in receptions, receiving yards and receiving first downs when lined up in the slot in 2012. Manning completed a league-high 71.7 percent of his passes to slot receivers last season.
Will the Broncos fix their running game?
The Broncos cut Willis McGahee, their leading rusher in each of the last two seasons, in June. Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno are expected to compete for the starting running back job.
Hillman was drafted in the third round in 2012. Ball was drafted in the second round in 2013. The Broncos are the only team to draft two running backs in the first three rounds of each of the last two drafts.
The Broncos led the NFL in rushing in 2011 but ranked 16th in 2012.
What would the Broncos lose if Von Miller is suspended?
Two-time Pro Bowler and 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year Von Miller is reportedly facing a possible four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Denver plays the Ravens, Giants, Raiders and Eagles in its first four games. Collectively, those opponents have better passing offenses and are better at protecting the quarterback than the Broncos’ final 12 opponents.
Since sacks became official in 1982, Miller is one of four players with 30 sacks in his first 2 NFL seasons.
Do the Broncos have the league's easiest schedule?
The Broncos will have a chance to avenge their playoff loss to the Ravens on Sept. 5 in Denver, the first game of the 2013 NFL regular season.
It will also be a reunion game for Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil, a Bronco from 2006-12.
Based on 2012 results, the Broncos will play the league’s easiest schedule in 2013. Of the seven teams that entered the season with the league's easiest schedule, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, only the 2006 Bears advanced to the Super Bowl (lost to Peyton Manning and the Colts).