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My Concerns For The 2014 Denver Broncos

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Peyton Manning hands off during the Broncos-Texans game on Saturday night. (credit: Evan Semon/CBSDenver.com)

Peyton Manning hands off during the Broncos-Texans game on Saturday night. (credit: Evan Semon/CBSDenver.com)

Brett Heinzerling By Brett Heinzerling
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DENVER (CBS4) – Look, the Denver Broncos not the dregs of the NFL. They are not, say, the Raiders, the Jaguars, any of those teams that consistently disappoint. In fact, they aren’t even a good team, they are great. But that is not to say they do not come to the 2014 with their own set of problems. And I’m concerned.

I’m concerned about the kicking game. Not because of Matt Prater .. I have no worries whatsoever about the strength and accuracy of that record-setting foot of his. I’m concerned instead because that cannon of a leg will be off the field for the first four games of the season. The Broncos will continue to score plenty of points, but I’m willing to bet that Matt P.’s off-the-field issues will cost them a win in the first quarter of the season.

I’m concerned about the receiving corps. More specifically, I’m concerned about Wes Welker’s noggin. Now that he’s broadened his injury horizons and is suffering head injuries during the preseason, he could, and in my opinion SHOULD seriously consider hanging up the cleats and calling it a career. The head is a terrible thing to waste. The only problem with that is it would leave Denver without a true possession receiver. With Emmanuel Sanders, D.T., Julius Thomas, Cody Latimer and Bubba Caldwell, the downfield game will thrive, but the possession plays will likely fall on Jacob Tamme, if Welker’s history of injuries continues.

I’m concerned about the running game. I’ve said before in this very column that the Broncos don’t need to run the ball like they did in the Terrell Davis days, but they still need to have the ability to pound out a few yards when it’s necessary. Montee Ball might be the guy, Ronnie Hillman might be the guy, heck, Juwan Thompson MIGHT be the guy. (Side note: I think he’s going to be good. Really good. And I hope he’s really good in orange and blue.) That’s a lot of “mights.” And that’s a concern.

More than anything I’m concerned that Denver won’t win more than 11 or 12 games this season, that they won’t run away with the AFC West by as great of a margin as they should, that they’ll only win the Super Bowl by a couple of touchdowns.

What I’m saying is, yes, I have concerns. But they are nowhere NEAR strong enough to outweigh the excitement that I, and every Bronco fan should have heading into what has all the trappings of a truly special season.

I’m not going to make any bold predictions about their record this season — at least not until my wife and I make our picks in the family pool — but if you read between the lines, it’s pretty clear. There are concerns.

There are aspects of the team and issues they continue to go through that will make this season a bit tougher, but my money’s on 18.

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