The Denver Broncos are the definition of a middle-of-the-road team. They don’t have a lot of explosive talent on offense, but they do have plenty of serviceable players who can keep the unit afloat. On defense, there are some areas that are legitimately close to the best in the league, such as their edge rushing core with Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Shaquil Barrett, and Shane Ray. But there are also glaring weaknesses, such as the team’s interior defensive line, and the depth of their cornerback room, that makes their defense less than elite.
Much of what the Broncos do this season will come down to Case Keenum, and how he directs the offense. The running game doesn’t look like it will improve. Royce Freeman was a productive college runner, but his slow running style isn’t a fit for the NFL game, and as bright as Devontae Booker’s flashes have been, he’s yet to piece together a semblance of consistency in his NFL career. The Broncos’ offensive line is also far from reliable; The ineffectiveness in the trenches will hurt the unit on a regular basis.
Case Keenum can replicate his production last year in Denver’s offense, if he truly is what Denver paid him to be. The receiving core is especially stocked with weapons, including veterans Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, as well as rookies DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton.
It’s not quite the Vikings’ offensive cast, but Keenum has tools to work with. The problem will be how he deals with pressure, because in the AFC West, facing off against players like Khalil Mack Justin Houston, and Melvin Ingram, the Broncos’ offensive line is bound to let someone through. Garrett Bolles could improve in his sophomore season, but it’s hard to ask the Broncos’ offensive line to suddenly become a wall, when all last year, they showed that they had improved little from the previous season.
Keenum will face pressure in 2018. And in the face of pressure, Keenum crumbles. That was how the Eagles pummeled him into submission in the NFC Championship game. And that was why the Vikings chose to let him go. Keenum won’t shock the NFL like he did in 2017. Instead, he’ll likely flame out, leaving to find another opportunity in 2019, and leaving Vance Joseph without a job. Keenum is easy to root for. But the circumstances in Denver do not bode well for him. The Broncos are a middle-of-the-road team. Those kinds of teams won’t fare too well in an increasingly competitive NFL.