Hello Broncos Country!
This is the second installation of my stat projections.
These are just some personal projections as to how our team and individual stats will fare next season. Keep in mind that these projections are 100% subjective, and there isn’t really any rhyme or reason here. I am just using past trends and new talent to guess stat categories. Hopefully I am spot on. This is the final installation. So without further ado (thanks Bradley), let’s begin.
Malik Jackson: 52 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumbles, 12 Tackles for Loss, 7 Sacks
Malik is in for a big year. This is his first season as a full time starter (hopefully) and I believe he will flourish. 7 sacks is great for a 3-4 end, and with the added focus on Miller and Ware, he will get to the QB. He’s also a very solid run stopper. His PFF +26.3 score, with balanced run and pass ratings are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Jackson’s potential. With his seemingly perfect size and skill set for a 3-4 end, he will be fun to watch.
Vance Walker: 38 Tackles, 2 Forced Fumbles, 9 Tackles for Loss, 4 Sacks
I believe it will be Walker, not Wolfe, starting opposite Jackson this season. Walker logged a respectable +6.8 PFF score, with a solid showing against the run. As a solid starter last season, he will continue to be a good player in Denver.
Derek Wolfe: 27 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 5 Tackles for Loss, 2 Sack
Wolfe will be the first end to come off the bench when Walker or Jackson needs a breather. A solid player, who is a great run defender, Wolfe was never able to regain his pre-injury pass rush skill. Still, he is a great depth player, and a luxury backup.
Antonio Smith: 20 Tackles, 0 Forced Fumbles, 2 Tackles for Loss, 3 Sacks
This is of course assuming that Smith is innocent. Smith is an excellent pass rusher who is challenged against the run, so he will still rack up his sacks even in limited snaps.
Sylvester Williams: 42 Tackles, 2 Forced Fumbles, 10 Tackles for a Loss, 2 Sacks
Williams will take a huge step forward this season. While Nose Tackles do not grab stats, Williams will make unselfish plays which allow the rest of the defense to play well. A Nose Tackle’s impact goes beyond the stat sheet, and that will be true for Williams.
Darius Kilgo: 18 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 4 Tackles for Loss, 0.5 Sack
I’ve been hearing good things from Kilgo. Keep in mind that it’s hard to tell how a player will do in gym shorts, but I see him as being big and strong enough to push Marvin Austin off the roster. Kilgo will sub in for Williams at times, and he’ll perform well in that limited role.
Von Miller: 61 Tackles, 4 Forced Fumbles, 22 Tackles for Loss, 19.5 Sacks, 1 INT, 2 Defensive Touch Downs, 1 Safety
It’s Miller Time in Denver. I expect him to win the prestigious Defensive-Player-Not-Named-J.J.-Watt of the Year Award. He’s a superstar already, and now moves into a system which plays to his strengths. It’s going to be a fun year to watch Von play.
DeMarcus Ware: 44 Tackles, 2 Forced Fumbles, 13 Tackles for Loss, 12.5 Sacks
Business as usual from Mr. Ware. He will take a small step forward from last year’s production, with a better supporting cast and a year in Denver under his belt.
Shane Ray: 31 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 5 Tackles for Loss, 8.5 Sacks
Good rookie year from Ray. He will give us options in terms of pass rushers, and give Ware the ability to take a breather. Ray will get to the quarterback, only really coming on to the field in obvious passing situations.
Brandon Marshall: 106 Tackles, 3 Forced Fumbles, 11 Tackles for Loss, 2 Sacks, 3 Interceptions, 1 Defensive Touchdown
An emerging star in the front 7, B-Marsh will continue to be a great coverage linebacker. Entering the season as an unquestioned starter for his first time will benefit him greatly, and Marshall will continue to make plays.
Danny Trevathan: 73 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 8 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack, 2 Interceptions
I am projecting that Trevathan will not play a full 16 game season next year. He will however play very well in whatever stretch of time he is healthy for. His coverage talents will help him get a couple picks.
Lamin Barrow: 51 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 5 Tackles for Loss
Barrow has a chance to take over the 3rd Linebacker spot. A great athlete, he has all the talent to do so. He’s a big hitter, who just needs to get some of the mental aspects of the game locked down.
Chris Harris Jr.: 55 Tackles, 0 Forced Fumbles, 4 Interceptions, 0 Touchdowns Allowed, 1 Defensive Touchdown
Maybe 0 Touchdowns allowed in 2 full seasons is wishful thinking, but maybe if this happens Harris will finally get his due. PFF’s number one corner in 2014 will show that that was no fluke, and continue to do what he’s done from day 1, be great.
Aqib Talib: 57 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 5 Interceptions, 6 Touchdowns Allowed, 3 Defensive Touchdowns
Talib is going to be targeted a lot with an increased respect of Harris, and Roby’s talent in the slot. His touchdown allowed numbers will be high, but that’s mostly due to an increased volume of passes thrown his way. His ability to intercept passes and take them to the house will show up on the stat sheet next year.
Bradley Roby: 34 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 4 Interceptions, 3 Touchdowns Allowed, 2 Defensive Touchdowns
Roby will continue to take steps forward. Having three number one quality corners is not a bad thing to have, and our pass defense will be scary good next season. It makes me wonder if we may get rid of Talib next off season, since Roby’s too good to play slot forever.
Kayvon Webster: 18 Tackles, 0 Forced Fumbles, 1 Interception, 1 Touchdown Allowed, 1 Defensive Touchdown
Our corner depth is scary. I could tell you about 10-15 teams who Webster could start at outside corner for. He showed a lot of potential his rookie year, but depth has kept him off the field. He may also see time at safety this year.
T.J. Ward: 67 Tackles, 3 Forced Fumbles, 3 Interceptions, 1 Touchdown, 2 Sacks, 4 Tackles for Loss
Boss Ward is a mean, mean man. Just go ahead and google “T.J. Ward Dirty”, and you will get hundreds of examples of his nasty play. That is not a bad thing however. Strong Safeties are supposed to be mean, gritty enforcers, and Ward fits that bill to a tee. One of the best in the box safeties in the game, Ward will benefit from a more creative defensive coordinator. Ward will have the freedom to move all over the field, and will wreak havoc as a result.
Darian Stewart: 52 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 4 Interceptions, 2 Touchdowns, 1 Tackle for Loss
Stewart will play a classic deep safety role. I see a serviceable but not great year from him. Still, Stewart’s a solid starter in my eyes.
Omar Bolden: 33 Tackles, 0 Forced Fumbles, 1 Interception
Depth could cause Bolden to slide up to 3rd safety. If this plays out, I believe he will perform well there in a limited role. He is blessed with natural speed and aggressiveness, and a move to safety will mitigate some of his coverage issues.
Josh Furman: 21 Tackles, 0 Forced Fumbles, 1 Interception
Furman is an athletic safety who is technically challenged. His struggles in coverage caused him to be a later round pick. With solid coaching and time to develop however, Furman has some good tools.
Final Team Stats
I am also including what ranking in the league each stat group would have if this were last year, the 2014 season.
Passing Defense: 3015 Yards Allowed (2nd), 6.2 Yards per Attempt (1st), 19 Touchdowns Allowed (5th) 65 Sacks (1st)
I realize the 65 sacks may seem steep, but other teams have topped that. Most of these stats improve more from better offensive ball control, so less pass attempts, more than anything else.
Rushing Defense: 1512 Yards Allowed (6th), 3.8 Yards per Attempt (T-6th), 8 Touchdowns Allowed (T-5th)
While our run defense won’t be quite as good as our passing D, they will still be stout at the point of attack.
Turnovers: 25 Forced Fumbles (2nd), 11 Recovered (2nd) 29 Interceptions (1st)
The 29 interceptions may seem unreasonable, but with a tenacious pass rush, a great secondary, and a lead for the majority of many games, I think we will take the football away in 2015.
Total Defense: 4527 Yards Allowed (2nd), 282.93 Yards per Game (2nd), 276 Points Allowed (2nd), 17.25 Points per Game (2nd), 40 Takeaways (1st)
This will be one of the best defenses in the league in 2015. With no real weak spots across the board, and an excellent combo of star power and depth, this will be a special unit. While they won’t be tops in yards or points allowed, they will be tops in sacks and takeaways, arguably the two more important categories. Combine that with our good offense, and this is at least a deep playoff squad in 2015. I see a lot of reasons why the Broncos could be hoisting the Lombardi next February. Of course, the season doesn’t always turn out how it’s projected. Sound off on what you think in the comments, and go Broncos!