Denver Broncos blog, news and rumors


Kyle Orton

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Starter: Kyle Orton
Backups: Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow

Analysis: Kyle Orton is the experienced veteran and rightfully won the starting job in training camp. But the other story (and, if you ask the media, predominant story) of training camp has been Tim Tebow’s rise and fall up and down the Broncos’ depth chart. Once slated to start, he was rumored to be the 4th best quarterback before finally settling somewhere along what we’ll call Depth Chart Position 2.5. I truly expect Tebow is the 2nd string quarterback if for no other reason than the fact that an Orton injury gives the Broncos an opportunity to evaluate Tebow.

Knowshon Moreno

Running Back

Starter: Knowshon Moreno
Backups: Willis McGahee, Lance Ball

Analysis: The real question heading into 2011 is if Knowshon Moreno can stay healthy. While Willis McGahee is a solid #1b, and sure-fire goal line ball carrier, the Broncos need Moreno to live up to his first round draft status. A healthier, somewhat rebuilt offensive line, along with a stronger commitment to the run under head coach John Fox, will help improve the Broncos’ running totals from a year ago, but the Broncos are far removed from their running ways. Can Moreno improve his vision and upfield attack and limit his steps behind the line of scrimmage? More importantly, can Moreno carry the Broncos when his team when his teammates can’t carry him? As a John Fox back, at times, he’s expected to.

Spencer Larsen


Starter: Spencer Larsen
Backups: None

Analysis: Spencer Larsen was over-utilized under Mike Shanahan. He was under-utilized under Josh McDaniels. At times starting at both linebacker and fullback in 2008 under Shanahan, Larsen proved to be a versatile weapon for the Broncos but ultimately settled into his offensive role. But McDaniels didn’t value the fullback, and Larsen’s impact was severely lessened. John Fox is hoping he’s found a happy medium for Larsen – one where he can both focus on and flourish in the role of fullback.

Ryan Clady


Starters: Ryan Clady (left), Orlando Franklin (right)
Backups: Chris Clark, Herb Taylor, Tony Hills

Analysis: The Broncos need this to be a significant area of improvement from 2010. The talented but oft-injured Ryan Harris was allowed to leave as the team brought in Orlando Franklin via the draft (the move would prove proactive so far as Harris was released with an injury settlement by the Philadelphia Eagles). Franklin is a road-grading run-blocking machine, but questions remain regarding his ability to block the league’s better pass rushers. Meanwhile, a 100% healthy Ryan Clady needs to return to 2008-2009 form at left tackle. 2010 was a dreadful year for the former All Pro. The backup situation isn’t pretty; let’s hope Clady and Franklin stay healthy.

Chris Kuper


Starters: Zane Beadles (left), Chris Kuper (right)
Backups: Russ Hochstein

Analysis: At one time early in his career, Chris Kuper looked like he would be a perennial stud. And maybe, with a little consistency in 2011, he can return to that potential. But the interior of the Broncos’ offensive line was far from a strength in 2010. He and Zane Beadles are playing for their 2012 jobs. The fact that Russ Hochstein remains on the roster tells me the Broncos didn’t do a good enough job addressing OL depth in the offseason.

J.D. Walton


Starters: J.D. Walton
Backups: Manny Ramirez

Analysis: This is a position of particular weakness for the Broncos. J.D. Walton, along with the entire offensive line, struggled in 2010. Injuries and indecision by Coach McDaniels led to inconsistencies in the starting lineup from week-to-week — never a good formula when dealing with rookies like Walton and Beadles. As a result the Broncos went from the 6th-ranked offensive line in 2009 to the 30th in 2010 according to Football Outsiders. … Walton will likely fend off Manny Ramirez this season, but it’s worth noting that Ramirez put together his best preseason game in Week Four.

Daniel Fells

Tight End

Starter: Daniel Fells
Backups: Julius Thomas, Virgil Green

Analysis: Talk about overhaul. None of the players filling in the tight end portion of the Denver Broncos depth chart were with the team last year (meaning everyone in 2010 is gone). An added importance has been placed on the position under John Fox, so expect “backup” Julius Thomas to get a handful of starts if and when the Broncos open in two tight end sets this season. Daniel Fells is the prized free agent, the most polished of the three, and the only tight end with any NFL experience at all. Thomas is a project in the mold of Antonio Gates, and while it’s silly to suggest he could have that type of impact long-term, he’s ahead of schedule as a potential starter in Week One. Green is a project, a blocking tight end and special teamer.

Brandon Lloyd

Wide Receiver

Starters: Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal
Backups: Eric Decker, Matthew Willis, Demaryius Thomas

Analysis: Brandon Lloyd enters his contract year aiming to prove that his 2010 breakout season was no fluke. Publicly happy that Kyle Orton will be continuing to be the man throwing him footballs, Lloyd’s production will undoubtedly drop from a year ago due to the scheme change, but expect him to still be the Broncos’ clear #1 receiver, and another candidate for the Pro Bowl. … Eddie Royal and company will fill the void felt by Thomas’ absence until he is fully ready.

Now on to the defense…

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  • LarryB

    Just a great analysis, Monty! I, too, was extremely worried about the depth on the team. Two developments, however, gave me cause for some comfort: (1) The reserves allowed only two (2) yards a carry in the last preseason game, and (2) the Broncos added only one player from outside after the final cuts, and none from the waiver wire – which indicated to me that the Broncos have more faith in their reserves than we do.

    This is reinforced by the fact that, although the Cardinals passed the Broncos dizzy, the Cardinals played their first string against the Broncos reserves through much of the first half. In addition, Dumervil, Ayers, Miller, Champ, Goodman, Dawkins, and Moore were all missing from the lineup, which likely will not happen during the season (GASP! I hope not!). So the depth just might be a bit stronger than perhaps we believe?

    Regarding Orton, it is easy to think he “fades,” come the latter part of the season. However, take note that the St. Louis game last year happened in mid-November, and he passed for 347 yards and three TDs IN THE FOURTH QUARTER, coming within a whisker of coming back from 19 down to a win.

    So it wasn’t a “fade,” but a SUDDEN fall, indicating something was suddenly very wrong. What was wrong, of course, was severe rib injury – to BOTH sides, as it turned out.

    So I anticipate a truly breakout season for Kyle. He was on his way in his first 11 games last year, and there is no reason he can’t improve even on that with a better running game and the addition of a couple bonafide pass-catching tight ends.

    I have them 10-6, barring injury to the players you listed. Kool-aid? Well, we’ll see . . .

  • Monty

    Thanks for the kind words and great insight yourself, LarryB! Orton has suffered those sudden falls his entire career, though. I certainly hope this year is different.

  • Monty

    BTW everybody I changed my profile name from “Kyle Montgomery” to this (Monty). Same guy. Hi.

  • Bucky

    Man I wish either of you were right on this, and maybe I will be proved wrong, but the big IF that you laid out there about Orton is just to big an IF for me. I have the unique pleasure of being a Colorado boy who went to college in Chicago during the Orton/Grossman fiasco. And while I will continue to hope that there is simply some magic hump that Orton can get over, I just don’t see it. I think we have seen the top of his game, and that top just isn’t good enough to be a franchise/dynasty kind of QB. 

    I don’t know if we have a guy on our team who is. kinda funny how we have three Quarterbacks all needing to get past that one magic mark to be “elite.” If we could take and jam all three of these guys into one QB we would have a super stud, but we can’t and because of that I am more inclined to put us at 7-9 or 6-10 than I am at 8-8, I would certainly not bet a dime on 10-6.

    But hey, here is hoping for the IF’s I guess!   

  • Blsd30

    sounds about right but i think we win against buffalo for sure and 1 of the charger game putting us at 10-6.

  • Jon

    Hi, Monty!

  • Rc_sodak

    So when you tell us everything, will it be considered the ‘full monty’?

  • Monty

    I bare all.

  • Shamzami

    As much as I like the Broncos, after seeing what I’ve seen I have a bad feeling that they’ll be embarrassed by Oakland on Monday night and won’t win more than 4-5 games this year, which is okay.  The team is by no means set at any position and our quarterback is suspect at best.  So drink the Orange Koolaid if you want, but don’t be surprised to see them struggle most of the year and build on that.  In a couple of years we may have a team that compete, but this team is light years away from that.

  • Hansen

    Speaking of full monty, I thought it was interesting how you changed your id after those rather, shall we say, unsavory photos of you surfaced on that “other” site.

    Seriously, good analysis.

  • Anonymous

    I’m never going to be in love with Orton but at least he has shown a noted desire to be in that spot with out question and pretty much shown it on the field as well.

    I still think we will have more to worry about than who is back up is. I wonder if being 7-9 or 8-8 and missing the play-offs is better than 4-12 and missing them??? Either is missing them ~shrug~… I think all of these “if’s” are the ssame as saying “if” we still had this guy or that guy we’d be better off, we dont and not all of those guys are going to start even 14 at the same time. History shows other wise. but “IF” we do, then there is that chance.

    What would be really cool though would be to turn it all around and get in by winning the division, that would be pretty exciting. Hey I can dream… right?!?

  • 5280

    I love this piece Monty keep it up.  Honestly Im kind of shocked that Julius thomas isnt starting week one.  From what Ive seen at camp and in preseason, he’s definitely ready. dude can catch everything and fells had way to many drops.  Like you said though: there are far too many uncertainties to predict anything really. we wont know what we have until 6 or 7 weeks into the season.  I’m just praying von and doom stay healthy.  tackles or not, if von and doom stay healthy, we’ll at least own 3rd down and the team that owns 3rd down is usually the one that wins the game. IMO its all about the D this year. say what you want about the Oline and the running game, if the D doesnt step up in a major way this year its another 4-12 season.

  • Monty

    Thanks 5280, glad you like it.

    I agree, defense is everything this year. I’m feeling good about the pass defense, with Doom, Von, Champ and a handful of other solid guys. The run defense has me worried. Guess we’ll find out Monday; you KNOW the Raiders will try to run that ball on us.

  • Anonymous

    Great post. I had comments I’ve forgotten as I read…

    Two points I think though.
    With Baily at nickle, Vaughn’s skills/health are critical.

    Our Safeties are also a HUGE issue. Can Moore play with starters? AND if he gets hurt, who has the speed to replace him? Nobody. – Bdawk? Lost a step for sure.

  • Anonymous

    Great post. I had comments I’ve forgotten as I read…

    Two points I think though.
    With Baily at nickle, Vaughn’s skills/health are critical.

    Our Safeties are also a HUGE issue. Can Moore play with starters? AND if he gets hurt, who has the speed to replace him? Nobody. – Bdawk? Lost a step for sure.