As the old saying goes, “Change is good”. Some people welcome it, then there are those who are set in their ways. The Broncos have done their best Madonna imitation in recreating themselves, based on the amount of player turnover that has taken place this offseason and preseason. To validate this point, as of this season, only six players of the 22 starters on offense from the 2005 campaign remain on the 2007 Broncos squad.
Not included in that bunch is D.J. Williams who is now a middle linebacker, left offensive guard Ben Hamilton, tight end Stephen Alexander (Daniel Graham’s backup) or wide receiver Rod Smith (recently put on the physically-unable-to-perform list). Your remaining half-dozen Broncos from 2005? Safeties John Lynch and Nick Ferguson, cornerback Champ Bailey, OLB Ian Gold, OT Matt Lepsis and center Tom Nalen.
Of course, you have many notable ex-Broncos who are either retired or playing elsewhere. Names such as: QB Jake Plummer (retired – or so it seems), Al Wilson, several ex-Browns/Broncos, RB’s Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell, WR Ashley Lelie (now a 49er), WR Rod Smith (on the PUP list), the late Darrent Wiliams (tragically gunned down) and fullback Kyle Johnson (cut this past Saturday). So as you can see, the turnover in Broncoland has been substantial. And the Broncos may not be done yet.
As has been posted very recently at the main page of NFL GRIDIRON GAB, the Broncos are the frontrunners in obtaining the services of defensive end Simeon Rice with the St. Louis Rams also in hot pursuit. Also keep in mind that the team now has a FB rotation of Cecil Sapp and Mike Bell (formerly a RB). And you can thank current team head coach Mike Shanahan for a lot of this turnover. Shanahan has been called lots of things. Offensive genius. A Super Bowl champion coach. A coach who has yet to reach the Super Bowl without John Elway or Terrell Davis.
Just based on appearances alone, I would have to think that Shanahan, should the Broncos have a successful season in 2007, will have performed his best coaching job in his 13 years in Denver. And I can’t say there’s that so-called “missing puzzle piece” that will turn this team into Super Bowl contenders this season. But a lot of team unity, cohesion, and all the parts clicking on all cylinders will be necessary if the Broncos want to play in Arizona in February 2008.
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