Broncos Update Insider 2/15

Mike Shanahan has always held a lot of control over the team's offensive plans so the Denver Broncos weren't going to stand in Mike Heimerdinger's way of having full control over the offensive plans somewhere else.

Heimerdinger went from Denver to Tennessee in January. The Titans knew Heimerdinger from his days as their offensive coordinator and were interested in having him as a replacement to fired coordinator Norm Chow.

Heimerdinger was the Broncos' assistant head coach/offense, but wasn't in charge of the offense. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has always held a lot of control over the team's offensive plans.

The only public statement Shanahan made on the issue was when the team granted the Titans permission to interview Heimerdinger.

"The opportunity in Tennessee would give Mike the chance to go back to an organization and work with a head coach with whom he is very familiar, handling the entire offense and having full control over game planning and play-calling responsibilities," Shanahan said.

The Broncos are now without the men who were the top assistants on offense and defense last year. Assistant head coach/defense Jim Bates stepped down after he was offered a reassignment.

Unlike the Broncos' defense, the offense didn't struggle in 2007.

Under Heimerdinger, quarterback Jay Cutler continued to make progress and young players like tight end Tony Scheffler and receiver Brandon Marshall showed they have a bright future.

Rick Dennison held the title of offensive coordinator last year and will continue to oversee the running game. Jeremy Bates will probably see an increase in responsibility and oversee the passing game.


--Offensive tackle Matt Lepsis was put on the reserve/retired list, officially ending his career with the Broncos. Lepsis joined the Broncos in 1997 and had a good career for the team.

However, Lepsis suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2006 and never seemed to fully bounce back from the injury in 2007. Ryan Harris, Erik Pears and Chris Kuper are three candidates to take over at left tackle.

--The Broncos added a few players in early February, hoping one or more wins a roster spot in 2008. Denver signed receiver Derrick Hamilton, a former 2004 third-round choice of San Francisco.

Denver also claimed linebacker Brandon Archer off waivers from Indianapolis and signed linebacker William Kershaw. Building linebacker depth will be a priority for the team this year.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's kind of an unreal thing. It hasn't sunk in yet." -- Former Broncos offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman, who was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame


There are plenty of areas the Broncos want to address this offseason. The front seven has to be the biggest area of need after a poor season on defense that led to assistant head coach/defense Jim Bates stepping down. The Broncos need pass rushers, although second-year linemen Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder and Marcus Thomas could help there.

Offensively the Broncos think a young, talented group of players will be a cornerstone for the team. However, there are a few questions. Receiver depth needs to be addressed, and the Broncos have to find a replacement for retired left tackle Matt Lepsis.

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