The Denver Broncos have fallen to 4-12 after a heart-breaking 33-28 loss to the San Diego Chargers, capping off a dismal season.
Fortunately, there are some silver linings;
First off, Denver is set to receive the 2nd overall draft draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Needing a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball, 2nd overall appears to be Da'Quan Bowers zone. Bowers, a Junior defensive end out of Clemson University, stands 6-4 and weighs in at 275 pounds, and his tenacious pass rushing ability would make him a great addition to the Broncos defense. If Denver decides to not draft Bowers--or anyone 2nd overall--they have the option to trade down and acquire more picks, so it'll be a win-win situation for the Broncos next April.
Secondly, former Bronco great John Elway will be returning to the team in 2011, as Vice President of Football Operations. Some have noted that while Elway was a fantastic player on the field, he may not be such a great front office addition. It also needs to be noted however that the Colorado Crush -- under John Elway -- won a Championship in the Arena Football League, proving Elway not only has the intelligence and competitiveness to succeed, but the upstairs decision-making smarts as well. His coming back to the Broncos will excite the fans and re-energize the whole organization.
Thirdly, Denver will have some very talented players -- on offense and defense -- returning next season. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd finishes 2010 with 77 catches for 11 touchdowns and 1,448 yards, making him the first Bronco receiver Ever to lead the League in reception yards in a single season. The 29-year old receiver has two years remaining on his contract and should remain in Denver making acrobatic catches for a long time.
The man delivering those throws to Lloyd will most likely be quarterback Tim Tebow, whose potential is off the charts. Playing in seven games in 2010 (starting three) Tebow threw for 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and 654 yards while adding 227 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. Joining Lloyd as targets for Tebow, Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker all will remain with the Broncos for the 2011 season (unless Denver's next head coach deals them away in a trade). In the backfield, running back Knowshon Moreno will be entering his 3rd season in the NFL. Although he's been critized for being injury prone (rightfully so) he has majorly contributed to Denver's offense. Over the past two seasons, Knowshon's recorded over 2,300 yards from scrimmage and scored 17 touchdowns, ranking 2nd in touchdowns scored among players who entered the league in 2009. Protecting Tebow will be Pro Bowl Left Tackle Ryan Clady, underrated Guard Chris Kuper, fellow Guard and praised rookie Zane Beadles, a more experienced center in J.D. Walton and a solid Right Tackle in Ryan Harris.
On the defensive side of the ball, there's not as much to be excited about, as the whole defense will most likely go through a rebuilding period. With that said however, there are some stud defensive players that will return to the team. The NFL's 2009 sack king, outside linebacker Elvis Dumvervil will be back, inside linebacker Joe Mays, who former Bronco John Lynch says will become a huge linebacker in the NFL, will be back, playing-making defensive end Kevin Vickerson (who recorded 42 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception in 11 starts) should be returning, and up-and-rising linebackers Mario Haggan and Wesley Woodyard (two underrated players who combined for 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in 2010) will most likely return.
So while 2010 was a season we all would like to forget, there's plenty of reasons to look forward to in the 2011 season and beyond.