Denver, Colo. (June 27, 2016)- Tonight AAV Sports is continuing their AFC West prospective outlook for next season. Next up on the dock for fantasy analyzation is the Denver Broncos offensive unit. Perhaps no unit in the NFL in the last two years has experienced more offensive turnover from a philosophical standpoint than Denver’s. After their record setting offense rewrote the record books, Adam Gase‘s high octane spread offense that scored 606 points in 2013 was traded in for Head Coach Gary Kubiak’s widezone West Coast approach. For Broncos fans, it was like trading in a Ferrari for a Geo Metro. While Bronco fans can’t argue with the end result it was painful to watch . Often times, it was sore on the eyes and was difficult to observe one of the NFL’s best all-time signal callers struggle in an offensive system that did not best suit his diminishing talents.
With a change at the head of the football operations we all understood that for Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, there would be setbacks in Kubiak’s offensive scheme. The Sheriff was in the twilight of his career and was dealing with prolonged health issues that continued to sap the gunslinger of some of his best attributes. With his arm strength practically inexistent, Manning struggled to adapt once his accuracy began to disappear . What we as analysts didn’t envision was such a steep dropoff in that short of a timeframe. While only starting nine games for the Broncos in 2015, Manning proved to be inconsistent for Denver. In 2015 the 18-year veteran posted a career low nine touchdowns paired with an NFL best 17 interceptions . After scoring 55 touchdowns in 2013 and 39 in 2014, it was mind-boggling to see Manning have the season he did.
Broncos fans will no longer have to ponder if Manning can fit in Kubiak’s offense any longer. Manning chose to retire one month after the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 victory in San Francisco and left Denver with a huge hole to fill after winning four AFC West Championships, two AFC Championships, and one Super Bowl victory. Some franchises are forced to spend a lifetime of trying to replace lesser legends than Manning at the quarterback position, making Denver’s situation far more problematic. While his physical abilities obviously hindered the Broncos offense, his leadership will be greatly missed. To put it in laymen terms, I would rather have Peyton Manning’s brain in a jar behind center than the replacement Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager John Elway hand picked as Manning’s replacement. Elway traded for Mark Sanchez of the Philadelphia Eagles on March 11, 2016 and Broncos fans will be left to see if he can rekindle the magic he produced for the Jets in 2009 and 2010.
Mark Sanchez, while only viewed as a temporary replacement for the Broncos after they selected Paxton Lynch in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, does fit what Kubiak wants to do offensively from a philosophical standpoint. Elway and Kubiak are essentially asking Sanchez to follow the same formula Rex Ryan concocted during New York’s back-to-back AFC Championship appearances. With a strong run game behind Denver’s newly furnished offensive line, most of the pressure will not be squarely burdened on the shoulders of the eight-year veteran out of Southern California. Paired ceremoniously with one of the best defenses ever constructed in NFL history, it could theoretically work. To ensure victories for the Broncos, Sanchez will have to limit the amount turnovers that has notoriously plagued him for the entirety of his career.
Because of his high turnover rate, it will be intriguing to see if Sanchez can win the starting job this season. Reports from minicamp have surfaced that both Sanchez and second-year quarterback Trevor Siemain are both “neck and neck” for consideration for the starting job. Siemain, with a full bill of health heading into this year, has a full season under his belt in Kubiak’s system. While Sanchez has roots in the West Coast offense going back to his days at USC, the terminology is vastly different in comparison. If Sanchez can not shake of the rust off in a reasonable timeframe, this could greatly benefit the former Northwestern standout chances at securing the starting gig. It speaks volumes that while Manning was nursing an injury a year ago, that Denver chose to keep Siemain as Brock Osweiler’s backup throughout the seven game stretch. It will be interesting to see who Gary Kubiaks chooses to suit up as the starting quarterback in the season-opening game against Carolina on Sept. 8th.
Broncos Offensive Statistics from 2015
- Record 12-4
- 1st in AFC West Division
- Scored 355 points (22.2 ppg) which was good for 19th overall
Offensive Coordinator- Rick Dennison (2nd year, 13th year total with Denver)
Quarterbacks Coach- Greg Knapp (4th year)
When averaging five of the eligible player’s last statistically reasonable seasons, AAV Sports projects the expected output fantasy football fans can expect from the selected leaders of the Broncos. Rookies from the previous year will not be accounted for. Ex. Trevor Siemian
Quarterback Mark Sanchez– Attempts 435, Completions 245, Completion Percentage 56.7, Yards 2,902, Touchdowns 16, Interceptions 16.
Running Back Ronnie Hillman– Attempts 90, Yards 469, Average 4.1 yards, 3 Touchdowns, Receptions 14, Yards 86, 0 Touchdowns
Wide Receiver Demaryius Thomas– Receptions 100, Yards, 1246 yards, 8 Touchdowns.
Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders– Receptions 72, Yards 976, 4 Touchdowns
Tight end Jeff Heuerman– Receptions 42, Yards 435, 2 Touchdowns.
Broncos Defensive Stats from 2015
- Allowed 296 points ( 18.5 ppg) which was good for 4th overall
- 14 interceptions
- 20 forced fumbles
Defensive Coordinator- Wade Phillips (2nd year, 8th year total with Denver)