Behind Enemy Lines-Broncos

Breaking News: The Jaguars will take on the Denver Broncos in their season opener Sunday. We know who Denver has and what they lost, but how will their offseason transactions affect them? Charlie Bernstein went behind enemy lines with Broncos Update publisher Michael Schon.



1. Aside from the return of "His Holiness," the big story that Jaguars fans are interested in is the Broncos injury situation. To the best of your knowledge, can we expect to see Ryan Clady and Knowshon Moreno in uniform on Sunday? Both Clady and Moreno should see time on the field Sunday, although I expect Clady will see considerably more time than Moreno, simply due to the depletion Denver has on its offensive line. Don't be surprised if you see veteran right tackle Ryan Harris sit this one out with a sprained ankle and rookie Zane Beedles play the role of fill in – which could play out well for Jags fans looking to see MJD break it big for the season opener.

Clady's back – but he's at least a step or two slow – Moreno's back but he's certainly not going to put up a lot of big numbers in this one… advantage Jacksonville.

2. The Jaguars have a "game manager" at quarterback who needs everyone around him to play well for him to succeed. Kyle Orton really seems to be flourishing under Josh McDaniels. Has Orton elevated himself above the role of "game manager" and if so, can he win games consistently without having the benefit of a great running game?

Despite the goofy haircut Orton's really shown a lot of improvements over the offseason and is really looking to take over the leadership role on offense – so much so McDaniels named him as team captain earlier in the week. With that being said, it all boils down to whether or not Orton can win it with his arm – which I'm still not convinced of yet. He's got the dink and dunk down to a science but I doubt there's any coordinators losing sleep trying to figure out how to stop his long ball.

3. How big is the loss of wide receiver Brandon Marshall? Can the Broncos have a legitimate passing attack with the combo of Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney and rookie Demaryious Thomas as their main threats?

The $1,000,000 question that's going to haunt McDaniels the entire season. Anytime you toss off a Pro Bowl receiver, who regularly brought home 100 catches per season; it's going to have an impact. Despite being relatively forgotten last season, Royal's proven he's got what it takes to make some noise in the league and with Marshall out - the spotlight will be back on. Gaffney, Thomas and fellow rookie Eric Decker will also be prime targets but none have the explosiveness Marshall brought to the game. This one may hurt for a while…

4. The Broncos lost one of the great pass rushers in the game in Elvis Dumervil. Has anyone showed signs that they can step up and possibly soften that blow on the defensive line?

Robert Ayers perhaps?Hopes are high that DE Jarvis Moss, whose career at this stage, even optimistically, would be considered a bust, will decide to show up and try to minimize the loss of Elvis. Pretty decent preseason and has surprisingly shown a desire to redeem himself three-years removed from being the team's number one selection in the 2007 draft. Ayers still hasn't panned out as well as McDaniels had hoped, but he's looking a lot more comfortable in the system this season and should see quite a bit of time – although it'll be a stretch for the two combined to match Dumervil's sack numbers from last year.

5. We know that Champ Bailey will be enshrined in Canton once his playing days are over. After an up and down 2008 Bailey seemed to regain his excellent form in 2009. He was the best cornerback in the league for a long period of time, but how much does he have left in the tank? Is he still a Top Five player at his position?

Evidentially Broncos GM Brian Xanders considers him in the Top Five as the team is actively negotiating a long term deal that would lock the nine-time Pro Bowler up through 2014, when Bailey would be 36-years old – and this is all being done under the uncertainty of the current NFL labor situation. Wise move or not, the Broncos feel he's still got enough in the tank to make him one of the highest paid at his position, although with time that may mean a move toward free safety, similar to what Ron Woodson did toward the end of his career. Either way – Bailey's still the man in the 5280.


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