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Hillman is back, but his role will likely be changed—largely because of an interesting rookie the Broncos picked up in the NFL draft. The Broncos may have gotten a huge steal when Booker fell to them on the final day of the draft.

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Booker is a powerful back with patience, quickness, agility and fantastic receiving ability. Earlier this year, the Broncos were able to restructure the contract of veteran pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware. Last year, Ware missed five games and parts of others dealing with a back injury, and that limited his time on the field.

Those back problems have continued to plague Ware this offseason, as he has yet to practice with the Broncos due to the injury. Ware is clearly going to play a smaller role this season. The team should use him as a part-time pass-rusher so he can hopefully stay healthy and be an impact player from the edge.

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His diminishing role will lead to a larger role for some of the younger players on the team. As a rookie, the swift linebacker played snaps and finished his first season in the pros with four sacks. In , Ray was able to learn pass-rushing tricks from both Ware and Von Miller. Ray is likely to split time with Shaquil Barrett. The Broncos have quite the collection of pass-rushers, and Ray has some of the most exciting potential of any player on the roster. The Broncos made multiple moves to fix the offensive line this offseason, and they started by making a move at right tackle with the addition of free agent Donald Stephenson.

Their offensive line has a new look at four of the five positions with the additions of Stephenson and Okung—plus the moving of Ty Sambrailo from tackle to guard. Where Michael Schofield fits on the roster is a mystery as we are about a month away from the start of training camp. Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak believes the team has better depth up front with their offseason additions. A week after many sports fans were angry that the squad defeated the Los Angeles Chargers because it probably hurt its draft status "Broncos so bad they can't even tank right," one person wrote , the Twitterverse is suddenly filled with debates over division-championship scenarios.

The reason for such optimism was the performance of the Broncos' defense, a supposed strength coming into the campaign that was directly responsible for unnecessary last-second defeats at the hands of the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars. Superstar Von Miller still isn't wreaking the kind of havoc many of us anticipated, but the amount of attention being paid to him has opened up opportunities for ballers such as DeMarcus Walker, who recorded two sacks versus Tennessee, and Alexander Johnson, credited with one and a half. Moreover, off-season acquisition Kareem Jackson, whose impact was limited early because of injury, suddenly seems more than worth the money, and Todd Davis, also back to full health, is dispensing the kind of justice that makes rival coaches break out into a James Brown-style cold sweat.

But while hanging a goose egg on anyone in the NFL is impressive, the Titans clearly represent the most negative definition of "offensive.

Column: Broncos deal Chargers' Philip Rivers a familiar rough ride - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Moreover, the Broncos didn't perform much better when they had the ball. QB Joe Flacco continues to look competent, but little more than that, and the running-back tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman needed 26 attempts to barely break yards. We hope no viewers decided to guzzle a shot after every punt, since the combined total of seventeen would have put them into an alcoholic coma. Still, a win is a win is a win, and while the Broncos' record is a depressing , they can come within one game of the division lead on Thursday night if they somehow manage to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, who lost their second consecutive contest yesterday.

The odds of this happening are slim: The Chiefs will be looking to get well, and odds are strong that they will Then again, it's nice to see a sudden resurgence of hope among Broncos fans, even if it'll probably turn out to be false. This team is far better than Should be Joe will take you to playoffs watch.


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I said that Joe will make wild card and have to come to Baltimore and play ravens. The Broncos just stomped a bad team and Twitter verse is treating them like a playoff contender. Even markkiszla who was JUST saying we should blow up the team and sell the stars for parts seems to be caught up in it. Broncos making the playoffs this year, calling it now. No way were the Broncos going to make the playoffs ever.

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