One of the biggest weaknesses the Broncos had entering the season was the lack at inside linebacker. With Week 1 just days away, the team still has a weakness at inside linebacker.
Why? Because they never addressed it.
Mock drafts had the Broncos drafting an inside linebacker with the 10th overall pick, but Denver decided to move back and allow Devin Bush get drafted by the Steelers. Bush has shined in the preseason and is arguably the favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Even with roster cuts this past week after the preseason, the Broncos still remained mostly quiet in going after linebackers.
Denver has had issues at the middle linebacker position ever since the Broncos decided to let Danny Trevathan walk away in free agency because former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak was not a fan of him. With Trevathan leaving, it forced Brandon Marshall to play out of position and the coverage defense for the Broncos started struggling in the middle of the field.
Time after time, running backs and tight ends were dominating Denver’s linebackers in the passing game. Seeing Tevin Coleman catch four passes for 132 yards or George Kittle having more 200 receiving yards became commonplace.
Last season, the Broncos gave up 64.69 yards per game to the tight end position, which ranked 26th in the NFL. Denver also ranked 16th in the NFL in receiving yards per game from running backs. Looking ahead, Denver will face a number of great tight ends this season or teams that will focus on throwing to the tight end.
Todd Davis is more than likely going to miss the first game of the year against the Raiders with a lower leg injury. This means that Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson will be starting in the middle of the Broncos defense, neither of whom is great in the passing game.
I also talked with a former NFL defensive player and he told me “these Broncos linebackers have no vision on the field and have no idea what they’re doing.”
Not only is this a concern for the Broncos this week, but all season long when they are facing 13 Pro Bowl quarterbacks. Don’t forget about the RPO offenses that teams will be running against the Broncos and will be focused on these middle linebackers.
Be prepared to see the Broncos struggle once again in the middle of the field. Also some fantasy advice, start the tight end that will play Denver each week.