The Denver Broncos gathered for the first time since the playoffs at OTAs the last couple of weeks.
Most of the team was present and the Broncos are focused on winning the Super Bowl in February.
1. Expectations are high
The Broncos felt they had the best team in the AFC if not the NFL last season. A disappointing loss to the Ravens in the playoffs ended a season with so much hope.
Expectations were not high last season but now is a different story. The Broncos are a Super Bowl favorite and anything less would be a huge letdown.
2. Rahim Moore is still in the doghouse
Everybody said the right things about Rahim Moore’s gaffe against the Ravens. Teammates and coaches backed him and said he will only get better. Moore has been on the field with the starters a lot until recently when David Bruton took his spot. The Broncos may feel Moore is still a little fragile and could need time.
3. Rookie Montee Ball has an inside track to starting
The Broncos didn’t draft Montee Ball, the stud running back from Wisconsin, to sit on the bench. They see him as a starter and he is on the right path to becoming that. Ball has been seen working with Peyton Manning after practice and Ball is becoming more and more comfortable.
4. Peyton Manning is focused
Quarterback Peyton Manning was shocked by the playoff loss. Even though Manning has struggled in the playoffs from time to time, this loss was a tough one. He has come back more focused on the prize.
5. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has a lot to prove
The Broncos have tried a lot different cornerbacks alongside Champ Bailey. None have really worked and with the team wanting Chris Harris to play the slot someone needed to be brought in. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who starred in Arizona before disappearing in Philly, is trying to regain his confidence and also show the Broncos he is up to the challenge of playing next to Bailey.
6. The receiving group will be good
Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker are going to be good. They are developing relationships with Manning and that can only make them better.
7. Manning is getting more comfortable
The quarterback is tired of answering questions about his health. He feels good and is ready to go. Health is no longer a concern and in his second season in Denver he will only get more comfortable. A relaxed but focused Manning could be trouble for the rest of the league.
8. Willis McGahee is missing
Willis McGahee never comes to OTAs. He stays in Miami and trains with friends and teammates. This year is different though. McGahee will be fighting for his job and needs to be with the team. He made the choice to not show up and in the long run it may leave him on the unemployment line.
9. No contract for Ryan Clady
The Broncos' biggest pressing contract issue is with Ryan Clady. The big left tackle has not signed his franchise tender and was not present at OTAs. Mandatory mini-camps are coming up and Clady will still probably not be there. Progression in a new contract seems to be limited.
10. Derek Wolfe is set for monster season
With the departure of Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos' pass rush needs someone to step up. Second-year player Derek Wolfe could be that guy. Wolfe had six sacks as a rookie and the coaches love his work ethic. He has a chance to get better this season and become a dominant pass rusher.