There have been many changes within the Broncos franchise recently. From home-field upgrades to rookies on the roster and a new coaching staff, it can be hard to keep track of the important things to know.
FOX31 sports anchors Taylor Kilgore and Arran Andersen provided some key things to know about this season for both longtime, loyal fans and newcomers.
Who are the star Broncos players?
Some of the star players on the team this year are quarterback Russell Wilson, wide receiver Courtland Sutton, safety Justin Simmons, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and cornerback Pat Surtain II.
Wilson is the first Broncos quarterback with Super Bowl-winning experience and a hall-of-fame pedigree since Peyton Manning retired in 2015, which was the last time the team won a Super Bowl or even made it into the playoffs.
“This is a make-or-break year because you want to prove that last year was a fluke because he has done so well at a high level for so long,” Kilgore said.
Last season, the Broncos won five games and lost 12.
Jeudy was injured at practice and is expected to miss a few games to start the season. Even with that absence, Andersen said he is “expected to play a major role on the offense this year.”
Running back Javonte Williams could possibly be a big impact player too as Kilgore said he is back from injury and could be a “huge scoring threat.”
What are the big games to watch?
The first game to open the season is against the Las Vegas Raiders, a division rival.
Week Five is expected to be big when the New York Jets come to town, as there is plenty of off-the-field drama between the Broncos and the Jets lately.
Future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers is now playing for the Jets. Plus, the offense coordinator for the Jets, Nathaniel Hackett, was the head coach of the Broncos last year.
“(Current Broncos head coach) Sean Payton had some pointed words that the Jets were not excited about. In fact, they went out of their way to point out their displeasure,” Andersen said.
Kilgore also noted that any game against the Kansas City Chiefs will be a big deal, as the Broncos haven’t beaten the division rival in a long time.
What impact could new coaches have?
“Payton is really big on accountability and he is really big on details, and we’ve already seen that in work,” Kilgore said. “No detail is too small.”
Kilgore said the last few head coaches for the Broncos had never been a head coach before, but Payton has experience in the role, which he held with the New Orleans Saints organization on two separate stints starting in 2006.
“He has won a Super Bowl, so he has the pedigree and he is a capable guy who has been around the league for a long time, and he knows what he is doing,” Kilgore said.
Who are the Broncos rookies worth watching?
Rarely do undrafted players make it on the roster in the NFL, but this year the Broncos have four. Kilgore said one of those rookies, Jaleel McLaughlin, is particularly exciting.
“He was brought in as an undrafted guy. Usually for one of those to make the roster is really impressive,” Kilgore said. “He is a running back, he is the fastest guy on the field, he is really special, so look to him to mix it up.”
Could this year be an improvement?
The Broncos haven’t made it to the playoffs since they won the Super Bowl in 2015. The team has only secured one winning season since then.
“Last year was about as bad as it can get,” Kilgore said. “You hope that the only way this team could go is up, knock on wood.”
Kilgore said that it could depend on injuries, as the players’ health is a determining factor in the team’s performance.