Improvement in the Denver Broncos defense and Drew Lock progressing could lift the team this season. The Broncos have struggled monumentally since 2016; the first team in history to miss the playoffs the season directly after a Super Bowl win. Can they make a major improvement this year? According to some, yes. Here is how the Denver Broncos 2021 season hinges on their defense and improved quarterback play.
Denver Broncos 2021 Season Could See Team Improve, but Hinges on Quarterback Play and Defense
Quarterback Play Will Be Between Lock and Teddy Bridgewater
It’s par for the course when it comes to the Broncos quarterback situation. The organization and fans never seem to have peace of mind in this area. They’ve been doing it for years, rotating through quarterbacks, hoping they will find that one guy.
The 2021 season largely won’t be any different, but there may actually be some improvement at the position. ESPN’s Mike Clay boldly predicts Drew Lock will develop and lift the performance of Denver’s entire quarterback group. Clay has been right many times, and while this prediction may be met with skepticism, Broncos fans can hope he is right again.
Last season, the Broncos quarterbacks completed 57 percent of their passes for 3,673 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions. Clay predicts this year, they will complete 61.4 percent of passes for 4,130 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions
It is likely Lock will be the starter, unless an injury holds him back. Last season, Lock threw almost as many interceptions (15) as touchdowns (16). If he could improve this ratio, it would really put the Broncos in a much better position. He needs to give his teammates a reason to have confidence in him again.
Teddy Bridgewater is certainly an adequate backup and a good option as a starter for a few weeks, if needed. Together, he and Lock could potentially lift the quarterback group and as Clay believes, place the Broncos in the playoff conversation.
Jeudy and Sutton Could Be a Power Duo
Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton could achieve impressive numbers this season, all because of an improved passing attack. Clay predicts them combining for 2,027 yards. That’s 71 percent of the receiving unit’s total yardage and 49 percent of the team’s passing yardage. If they score 12 touchdowns, that will be 48 percent of the team’s touchdowns through the air.
Jeudy is on par with Sutton, both very reliable, number one options. They are dynamite playmakers and complement each other like a dream. Jeudy’s route running is incredibly refined, while Sutton is both athletic and physically imposing, a rare combination.
The Defense May Land in the Top Five
Fans have been waiting for their once-great Super Bowl-winning defense to reemerge. The 2021 season may be the year it finally happens. It was already known that Denver’s new cornerback group is one of the best; they scored a 3.9 on Clay’s 0-4 scale. And, even better, Denver’s safeties sit at exactly 4.0.
The Von Miller-led edge unit is still elite with a score of 3.6. Bradley Chubb is likely to be Miller’s successor and it’s no surprise he is predicted to get at least eight sacks, just behind Miller’s 9.1.
Finally, the linebacker battle could get interesting. While Josey Jewell is the likely starter along with Alexander Johnson, some are suggesting that rookie Justin Strnad could take over the starting job before the season’s conclusion.
The Broncos will enter the 2021 season with a renewed vigor and give fans hope and their quarterback play and defense can improve, fans might have a reason for excitement.