AFC West Preview- Denver Broncos

After 28 teams and seven divisions completed, we have reached the final division in our 32 team NFL Preview on TSX: The AFC West.

The AFC West was the mediocre division, and the worst in the NFL in 2008. The San Diego Chargers won the division with only a 9-7 record, and that was won on the final game of the 2008 regular season, in a flex scheduled game against the Broncos in San Diego. The Chargers won the AFC West after virtually being out of it in Week 12. The end of the season sent a lot of waves into Denver, leading to the firing of Mike Shanahan, and then Jay Cutler departs Denver after a rift with their new head coach, Josh McDaniels. The Kansas City Chiefs are in a new beginning and the Oakland Raiders are still trying to re-order their house, and by rallying around new head coach Tom Cable, who did well in the interim enough to get the head coaching job, has a short leash though.

Here’s how the AFC West will turn out

1. San Diego
2. Denver
3. Kansas City
4. Oakland

We start the AFC West in the Mile High City, with the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos have a whole new identity. Since 1995, Mike Shanahan was the head coach and general manager. He won two Super Bowls, and enjoyed a great deal of success in Denver. After the 2008 season and going 8-8, it was time for the Broncos to obtain a new identity. So Shanahan was let go from his position and he was replaced by former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels wanted Matt Cassel in Denver, and that made QB Jay Cutler furious. Cutler then was traded to Chicago for QB Kyle Orton and now Orton is the starting QB in Denver. The Cutler trade has created drama for Brandon Marshall, who has not been happy with the Broncos, and vice-versa.

The Patriot Way is not looking to be the Rocky Mountain Way as McDaniels brings the Patriot playbook to Denver. In Kyle Orton, he doesn’t have an elite QB, but he does stay consistent and does not make too many mistakes. If Brandon Marshall can mend fences with the Broncos, and come back to the team, he and Eddie Royal will be reliable and make Orton look better. Knowshon Moreno, the 13th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, looks to have an immediate impact as he has speed, power, and a good set of hands out the backfield.

On defense, Robert Ayers will be a great pass rusher for the Broncos, and he was a great pickup in the NFL Draft. They signed Andra Davis from the Cleveland Browns in free agency, and Mike Nolan will be using a 3-4 defense like he used with the Baltimore Ravens and the success they had. However Nolan does not have a Ray Lewis in Denver, and it will not be as easy to recreate the success in Denver as he had in Baltimore right away.

The Broncos are going to finish in second in the division, due to the fact that they have more established players and better personnel than the Chiefs and the Raiders, but they will not finish with a winning season, as this is a year in transition. If Orton plays well and Marshall can be professional for a season, it could be a respectable season for a team going in a different direction

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