Atlanta Falcons 2016 opponents preview: Denver Broncos

Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) during the second half in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) during the second half in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports /

We continue our “Scouting the Enemy” series with a look at the Atlanta Falcons’ Week 5 opponent and defending Super Bowl champions, the Denver Broncos.

Just look at the Atlanta Falcons schedule and you’ll give yourselves nightmares. Up in Week 5 is the defending Super Bowl champions, and the Falcons must go to their backyard.

There aren’t many tougher environments to play in than in Denver. Not only will the Falcons have to deal with the altitude, they will also need to counter a suffocating defense.

The Broncos did lose a few pieces to their Super Bowl winning team. Malik Jackson departed for Jacksonville, Danny Trevathan is in Chicago. Both quarterbacks — Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler — have both left. Enter the Paxton Lynch era, although it’s unclear whether he will be the starting quarterback when this game takes place.

To get a better understanding of the Broncos’ offseason post-Super Bowl, I spoke with Tylor Walden, editor at Predominantly Orange, our Broncos affiliate site.

FB: What’s your take on the Broncos offseason to date? What have they done well, not so well?

TW: The offseason has been quietly impressive in my eyes. The media has really focused in on the players that we have lost. Most notably Brock Osweiler and Malik Jackson. But the players that we have been able to re-sign or get deals for is impressive too. We got Von for six more years. We drafted Paxton Lynch, who could have a solid career. But the biggest thing the Broncos did right?

We did not overpay for anyone! There are some players like David Bruton Jr. and Omar Bolden that I wish could have stayed with the Broncos, but that is how it is. I would have to say that the offseason has been successful. I do not see anything that they have not done so well with.

FB: Do you think the Broncos expected Brock Osweiler to walk, and were they fully prepared for it?

TW: To be perfectly honest with this, and it was not pointed out to me until a few days before Osweiler left, but I honestly believe that he was planning to leave ever since he was benched in Week 17 against the Chargers. He lost the huddle and was not happy with how the game was going. 

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When Kubiak put Manning into the game, that was pretty much the coach’s biggest move the entire season and it proved to be a significant move that led to a Super Bowl title. The Broncos did have the defense to help those three playoff games, but if it was not for Manning in Week 17, we would be looking at a wild-card game.

As far as being prepared, it is tough to tell. I do not think anyone expected that the Broncos would begin free agency with Trevor Siemian as the only quarterback on the roster. They did react somewhat quickly and got a trade for Mark Sanchez. I would say they might have been slightly thrown off, but nothing drastic. If not for that move, we would not have drafted Paxton Lynch, who I believe could have a better career than Osweiler.

FB: How strong will the Broncos be defensively this year?

TW: With Von Miller around for six more years, I think this defense will be strong not only for this upcoming year, but perhaps for the next 2-4 years at best. Maybe even the entire six. It is tough to predict these things. But I have no doubt that the Broncos defense will be strong for some time.

Players like Miller, Talib, Harris Jr., Roby, and the others… I have no doubt.

FB: What are the biggest storylines to follow entering training camp?

TW: The biggest storyline that will be followed is the quarterback situation. At this point, it is anyone’s job to lose. There has been praise for each quarterback. As of now, Sanchez and Siemian have been the two names that have jumped up the most. I think Sanchez wins the job, but I would not be surprised if Siemian or Lynch have something to say about that.

FB: What are realistic expectations for the Broncos this season?

TW: I think the defense will help greatly with this team. For whomever wins the quarterback battle, as long as they can limit the turnovers, the Broncos will win some games.

I think for this season, until the quarterback situation sorts itself out, the defense and running game will be relied on a lot. I see the Broncos winning the division again and getting somewhere around 10-12 games won. I am not certain what the positioning in the playoffs will be, but I have faith that they will return to the postseason for the sixth straight season.

We’d like to thank Ty Walden for taking the time to talk to us. Be sure to check out Predominantly Orange for great coverage of the Denver Broncos.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: Top 20 games in franchise history

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