NFL Training camp season is always a time for irrational exuberance. Every team thinks it can win the Super Bowl, even though 31 of those teams will end being horribly wrong. And so, to preview the upcoming NFL season, which could be the most unpredictable ever, we now give you five reasons why your favorite team could win the Super Bowl. Today, it's the Denver Broncos.
1. It's the move you don't make. Quarterback Kyle Orton wasn't too keen on restructuring his deal to allow the Broncos to trade him to Miami before the beginning of the season, and so here now is Orton locked in an uneasy quarterback situation with the always delightful Tim Tebow (NOTE: Not sarcasm. He's always so darn peppy). Orton, as it stands now, is a better quarterback than Tebow, but he almost certainly won't be back in Denver next year. Sometimes, situations like this end up causing a team to fracture. But sometimes, all that uncertainty causes the principles involved to suddenly become world beaters, like when Drew Brees had his breakout season in San Diego right after Philip Rivers was drafted. Orton was #4 overall in average yards per game last season, and his TD-to-INT ratio was over 2-to-1. He had his best season as a pro, and he still has Brandon Lloyd to play pitch-and-catch with. Stranger things have happened, like...
2. Tim Tebow pledges to not be a bust. In another prognosticating dimension, we have Lee Corso's love child taking over for Orton early on and outperforming everyone's expectations. It's not such a crazy leap to make. Tebow had his moments at the end of last season (what amounted to a glorified preseason for him), and if there's one player who could make something positive out of losing his job to a journeyman and seeing the hard-charging coach who handpicked him to be the franchise QB get canned in the middle of his first season, well now Tebow is just that sort of fellow. The Broncos didn't want to have him BUT THEN HE BECAME A BLESSING. The good book foretold such things. It's in the gambling chapter.
3. John Fox knows how to stage a good tankin'. Not since Jim Fassel walked around dead on the Giants sidelines during his last days have you seen a mail-in job from a coach quite like the one John Fox pulled last season in Carolina. I think he gave up on the season midway through Matt Moore's first pick. Fox's autopilot routine was one that seemed certain to cost him another chance to be a head coach this year. But lo and behold! Turns out, no one wanted to coach Denver anymore, so John Elway was more than happy to ignore that whole "Let's get Jimmy Clausen killed for fun" stunt. The hire could turn out surprisingly well for the Broncos, since Fox is a shrewd defensive coach who had an excellent pedigree until last year. When you think about it, he was kind of a steal in the coaching hire process. And the fact that I'm trying to figure out all kinds of accidental ways for Denver to stumble into great success this year tells you a bit about how far this team has fallen.
4. Let's pretend Denver can still produce great running backs! Oh, dear. Willis McGahee. Okay, so we can look at this the nice way, and say that McGahee is just two years removed from scoring 14 touchdowns and averaging five yards a carry. We could also look at it the mean way and say that Willis is a perpetual disappointment who will never be consistent and only serves as a convenient replacement for Denver fans still looking to make fun of Travis Henry and his brood of four million kids. Also, Knowshon Moreno is awful. But again, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN TEAMS WILL SCREW UP THEIR WAY TO SUCCESS! I'm basically hoping this Denver season amounts to that one Danny Glover-Martin Short movie.
5. Von Miller GRRRRRR! Oh, okay. I've got it. Here's one aspect of the team that doesn't rely on reverse psychology: Miller, the number two pick overall and the guy Denver is counting on to become a pass rushing cornerstone. Put him in a Fox scheme, where the likes of Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers have flourished in the past, get production from either Orton or Tebow, work the schedule (the Broncos schedule is pretty darn soft), and VOILA! You have a miracle season. I mean, that IS why you drafted Tim Tebow, isn't it?