Denver Broncos 2023-2024 Season Preview

The Denver Broncos 2023-2024 season comes with a redemption arc. New head coach Sean Payton has set a new culture in Doug Valley. After firing off on former coach now offensive coordinator for the New York Jets Nathaniel Hackett. The team is taking a very different approach compared to last season. Itching for their first playoff berth since 2015, Russell Wilson looks to bounce back and return to his MVP form in 2019.

2022-2023 Results

The Denver Broncos had mile-high expectations last season. After completing a blockbuster trade Wilson to Denver in exchange for multiple first and second-round picks. The Broncos may finally find the franchise QB they so desperately needed since Peyton Manning left. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the complete opposite. Not only they didn’t improve, but they regressed tremendously from the season prior. They finished with a 5-11 record, 20th in total yards, and dead last in points per game. That led to firing Hackett in week 15, and constant backlash from the media towards Wilson both on and off the field. On top of that, multiple key starters had season-ending injuries. Javotave Williams, Garret Bolles, and Tim Patrick are a few big names.

The writing is on the wall during the season opener in Seattle. Wilson played his first game in Broncos uniform against his former team as Hawks fans viscously booed and heckled him the whole game. The offense only mustered 16 points two and goal line fumbles that eventually cost them the game. Not to mention going for a 64-yard field goal in the final seconds had everyone questioning the decision not to go for it on fourth and five. Almost all of their games were like this, low-scoring close games that ended falling short in the end. There were a few bright spots. They were ranked seventh in total defense and only allowed 21 points per game. Their secondary which is their strength is headlined by All-Pros Patrick Surtain II and Justin Simmons.

Key Additions

Offensive Tackle Mike McGlinchey

One of their biggest weaknesses was the offensive line. Payton has said that having a good offensive line is vital for both the run game and pass game as it sets up the play-action. McGlinchey fills their biggest need at right tackle. It’s been a revolving door at the spot, failed experiments such as Ja’wuan James, Billy Turner, and Menlik Watson played below standards. Signing the top tackle in the market shows that the front office is willing to pay top dollar for an established veteran with proven experience. McGlinchey posted the 10th-best run-blocking grade among all NFL tackles with at least 1,000 snaps in 2022 and also allowed the ninth-fewest quarterback pressures in that same grouping.

Offensive Guard Ben Powers

Another big upgrade to the line. Powers was rated as one of the top guards last season. Allowing only one sack in 2022. He was one of just 10 guards with at least 1,000 snaps to allow one or fewer sacks. He was also one of six guards to play at least 1,000 snaps without a penalty. Powers replaced Dalton Risner who is currently a free agent and has struggled in pass protection. Powers fit the run-heavy scheme both he and McGlinchey have a win rate stat of 79% and higher. This allows taking the pressure off Wilson and clears running lanes for Javontae Williams.

Defensive Tackle Zach Allen

After losing Dre’mont Jones in free agency. The Denver Broncos D-line had become a major need in the 2023-2024 offseason. Fortunately, a defensive tackle who was worth the replacement in the open market. Allen recorded 95 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 34 quarterback hits, nine and a half sacks, three fumble recoveries, an interception, and 12 passes defended the past two years. Looking at their 2022 stats, they both have similar stats. Jones had six and a half sacks and 24 tackles while Allen had 23 tackles and five and a half sacks, both played in 13 games. Allen reunites with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph who they both were in Arizona the last four seasons.

Projected Depth Chart

QB: Russell, Wilson, Jarrett Stidham, Jarrett Guarantano

RB: Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Tony Jones Jr

FB: Michael Burton

WR: Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Marvin Mims Jr, Marquice Callaway, Kendall Hinton, Brandon Johnson

TE: Greg Dulcich, Albert Okwuegbunam, Adam Trautman

LT: Garett Bolles, Cam Fleming

LG: Ben Powers, Quinn Bailey

C: Lloyd Cushenberry III, Luke Wattenberg

RG: Quinn Meinerz, Kyle Fuller

RT: Mike McGlinchey, Isaiah Prince

DE: Zach Allen, Frank Clark

DT: D.J. Jones, Mike Purcell

Edge: Randy Gregory, Baron Browning, Nik Bonitto, Jonathon Cooper

LB: Alex Singleton, Josey Jewell, Drew Sanders, Justin Strnad

CB: Pat Surtain II, K’Waun Williams, Damarri Mathis, Riley Moss, Essang Bassey

S: Justin Simmons, Caden Sterns, Kareem Jackson, P.J. Locke

K: Brett Maher

P: Riley Dixon

PR/KR: Tremon Smith, Marvin Mims Jr

Season Outlook

The addition of Sean Payton will ensure stability and leadership in the coaching side of things. That includes limiting penalties and better playing calling. I also expect Wilson to bounce back and be more motivated and determined than ever. The defense will remain top-notch despite Eijo Evero’s departure. Unfortunately, they are in a division with the Chiefs and the Chargers. One of the two most talented teams in the AFC. Not to mention they haven’t beaten the Raiders since 2019. It’s going to be tough considering how stacked the conference is but I still believe the Denver Broncos have a better chance than most people believe are giving credit for in 2023-2024.

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