Know Your Enemy: Denver Broncos

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Know Your Enemy rolls along with the Denver Broncos. The Broncos had a rough year under Nathaniel Hackett (now Jets OC) in 2022 and fired him after 1 year as coach. Long-time Saints HC Sean Payton was coaxed out of retirement for a draft pick from the Saints and takes over the Broncos in 2023. Russell Wilson begins year 2 in Denver after a disaster year 1 via a huge trade from Seattle.

The Broncos were 32nd in PPG offense and thus have Payton over Hackett now. Joe Lombardi is the OC, but Payton should call the plays after failed stints for Lombardi with Chargers/Lions as OC.

The Broncos were 13th in PPG defense allowing 21.1 PPG but their good defensive coordinator left to the Carolina Panthers but former HC and good DC Vance Joseph returns.

It will be an interesting year in Denver to see what big changes have been made.


QB and Passing Game

I guess you still can consider Russell Wilson a strength. He was productive QB many years in Seattle despite disaster in Denver (84.4 QB rating). Wilson will need better protection, better chemistry with his weapons but should have better play calling.

Jerry Jeudy (972 yards and 6 TDs) and Courtland Sutton (829 yards and 2 TDs) are good WRs with past success but down years for them in 2022 under Hackett. WR Tim Patrick is solid, and Marvin Mims was drafted in Round 2 to help the WR core. KJ Hamler is hurt again but is a talented slot man. Marquez Callaway was added as a FA from the Saints.

Greg Dulcich will need to step up at TE in year 2 while they added blocker Chris Manhertz (Jaguars) and failed Bear/Dolphin/Saint Adam Trautman.

Offensive Line

The Broncos revamped their offensive line adding RT Mike McGlinchey. Ben Powers (38th ranked) is a good LG added last year from Baltimore. Garret Boles is an up and down LT former 1st round pick coming off injury (only 325 snaps). Lloyd Cushenberry is in contract year trying to improve at center being a 3rd round pick in 2020 (32nd of 36 centers). Quentin Manhertz was the 6th rated guard in the league at RG.

Offensive line should be better with Boles healthy and McGlinchey added from the 49ers.

Run Game

Javonte Williams is a strong back returning from injury. Samari Perjine was added from the Bengals as a free agency. Not spectacular but a fine 1-2 punch at RB.


Alex Singleton (10th out of 81) and Joey Jewell (27th out of 81) were good and above linebackers. Singleton can cover well. Drew Sanders was drafted in Round 3 as well. Inside linebacker should be a strength for Denver.

Solid but Questions

Defensive Line and Pass Rush

DJ Jones (NT), Zach Allen and Matt Heningsen do the dirty work on the defensive line. Allen graded well (25th of 127), Jones was average and Henningsen below average taking over as a starer. Defensive line looks rough other than Allen. Mike Purcell is a fine backup NT and 4th round Ewuzarike will need to step up from last year.

Randy Gregory and Brandon Browning are talented, but vastly underperforming OLB pass rushers and Frank Clark was added after the Chiefs cut him but has a very successful career. Gregory was hurt and only played 187 snaps last year after signing a big FA deal. Broncos pass rush won’t scare anybody but are capable for some good games.  If the pass rush improves, they can be a top 10 defense in 2023.


Patrick Surtain III is a shut-down corner (2nd rated in league). Damari Mathis hopes to take a next step as 4th round pick from last year and fend off rookie 3rd round pick Riley Moss. K’Wuan Williams is a fine veteran nickel. Justin Simmons is a good safety and Kareem Jackson is still above average despite his age. Secondary has some good talent with Surtain and Simmons but need CB2, nickel and pass rush to step up for better coverage.


Week 4 at Chicago and Week 15 at Detroit. Week 7 they travel to Green Bay and to the Vikings in Week 11 on Sunday Night Football.

The NFC North should be able to beat the Broncos, but they could be sneaky better than you think with the changes they made at HC, Offensive line and improvement from Russell Wilson.