Last we saw the Denver Broncos; they were being pummeled like a bookie who couldn’t pay off his bets. The site was Super Bowl XLVIII in MetLife Stadium in New York/New Jersey. The team entered the game as fairly heavy favorites to defeat the Seattle Seahawks and give Peyton Manning his coveted second Super Bowl Ring.
That didn’t happen and we can second guess all we want to about whether the opening play was something the Broncos couldn’t recover from or whether the Seahawks were just a better team. I choose the latter and it’s clear to me that Denver President John Elway felt the same way watching his historic offense and solid defense get destroyed in the trenches.
With those ugly memories in mind, the Broncos went out and grabbed two impact defensive players on the first day off free agency. Coming to Denver are cornerback Aqib Taliq and safety T.J. Ward.
Taliq is considered one of the better cover-corners in the National Football League but his health has always been a hindrance. The last two seasons in New England he left playoff games with injuries and his absence was obvious. Ward comes off a Pro Bowl season in Cleveland where the defense was actually pretty respectable. He is both a guy who can cover and a guy who can come up and support the run.
The irony of these moves is that they really don’t address the area where Denver was most vulnerable. To take that point a step further, they also lost guard Zane Beadles in free agency to Jacksonville on Tuesday. For a team that was demolished along the line of scrimmage, you’d think that would be the area of most need.
Before I get to far ahead though, ESPN is reporting that former Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus Ware is very close to a deal with the Broncos. With 117 career sacks, his presence and threat to opposing quarterbacks would be extremely welcomed by the defense. Again, this isn’t set in stone but it does look like it’s going to happen.
What this flurry of moves also tells us is that Elway and the Broncos understand that Peyton Manning may have one or two good years left as he nears 40 years of age. In other words, the window is closing rapidly on Manning and the Broncos. I don’t care what anyone tells me, his arm strength weakened as the season wore on. He threw down-field less and less and with less accuracy as well.
Credit Elway for going for the prize as the door closes on this era of the Broncos but is he going after the right pieces? Time will tell.
J-Mart Leaves the Dolphins
The man at the center of the bullying controversy in Miami will no longer play for the Dolphins. Jonathan Martin, who left the team mid-season due to harassment from Richie Incognito among others, has been traded to San Francisco for a conditional draft pick.
The move will re-unite Martin with Jim Harbaugh who was his college coach at Stanford. With a very veteran team in place in San Francisco, Martin should be welcomed without issue but one can’t help but wonder if there will be any lingering issues.
The Jacksonville Jaguars finally cried ‘uncle’ and traded former first round draft pick Blaine Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional sixth-round pick. Gabbert was the tenth overall selection in 2011 NFL Draft but just never materialized as some thought he would. Injuries and poor play were his downfall and he is yet another example of a team hoping for a franchise quarterback to resurrect their franchise.