The Denver Broncos completed their impressive 2012 off-season with the signing of kicker, Matt Prater to a 4-year contract extension. The Broncos had placed the franchise tag on Prater but both sides were anxious to get a long-term deal done before training camp. John Elway and the team can now enjoy the next 3 weeks before training camp knowing that the front office has done an outstanding job in putting together the roster.
Prater is one of the best kickers in the NFL and is a huge weapon for the Broncos because of his range.
As soon as Denver reaches the 40-yeard line of their opponent, they are in scoring territory.
That’s huge when your quarterback is a guy named, Peyton Manning. Manning and the offense will not score on every drive but if all the offense has to do is cross midfield to be in scoring range, then the Broncos are going to score a lot of points in 2012.
Prater is also a huge asset in the field position game as more often than not, his kickoffs go into the end zone for touchbacks. Its awful tough for any offense to go 80 yards time after time, and if the Broncos are scoring more points as we all expect then those touchbacks will loom large.
The Broncos are now set for training camp starting on July 25th and while the ultimate success or failure will be determined on the field, Elway and his staff have every right to be proud of their work dating back to March. The signing of Manning is obviously the highlight but hardly the only one. They have rebuilt their secondary with the additions of Tracy Porter, Drayton Florence, Mike Adams and Omar Bolden from the draft. The Broncos also addressed the interior of the defensive line with the signing of Justin Bannan and the drafting of Derek Wolfe. Kevin Vickerson and Ty Warren also return from injury to add depth and experience at the defensive tackle position.
On offense, the Broncos have given Manning plenty of weapons to work with. They signed 2 very good pass catching tight-ends in Jacob Tamme and Joel Dressen to go along with starting receivers, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Throw in the signings of veteran receivers, Andre Caldwell and Brandon Stokley and Manning will have more than enough options. The addition of running back, Ronnie Hillman via the draft will also be a huge threat in the passing game and Willis McGahee will continue to give the Broncos a running threat as well.
Are their concerns? Of course there are, the offensive line is talented but still young and not very deep. The linebackers, especially with the DJ Williams suspension, are not a great unit as a whole but do boast the reigning defensive rookie of the year in Von Miller. The biggest question, though, has to be how quickly can all of these new pieces come together? The Broncos face a very tough schedule and will have to mesh quickly but something tells me that Manning with his leadership, drive and work ethic will have this group ready to go on September 9th versus the Steelers.
The off-season work is done, training camp is around the corner and the expectations are as high as they have been since a guy named Elway was the quarterback. Now Elway is the Vice-President of Football Operations and those expectations are back where they should be!