Updated: July 25, 2009 at 12:00 am
As Denver enters its first training camp since 1995 without Mike Shanahan in charge, many questions loom with a 33-year-old rookie coach taking the helm. The Gazette's Frank Schwab points to five questions that scream to be answered as the Broncos prepare to go camping with Josh McDaniels:
1. IS JOSH MCDANIELS READY?
No rookie NFL coach in recent memory has been under more scrutiny before his first training camp practice. McDaniels is taking over for Mike Shanahan, a two-time Super Bowl champion coach. He overhauled the roster and shipped a Pro Bowl quarterback to Chicago. The pressure won’t dissipate once camp begins.
2. CAN KYLE ORTON REPLACE JAY CUTLER?
Before a bad ankle injury last season, Orton was having a good year for the Bears. He is a much different quarterback than Cutler. He won’t be as thrilling but Denver hopes he makes better decisions and can fit McDaniels’ system well.
3. WILL BRANDON MARSHALL MAKE WAVES?
Marshall said he is coming to camp, but the disgruntled receiver sent plenty of mixed messages when making that announcement. He’s not fully happy, and probably won’t be without a new contract. The Broncos don’t need Marshall to be a distraction in camp.
4. ARE THE BRONCOS GOING TO BE BETTER WITH A 3-4 DEFENSE?
Denver has nowhere to go but up after a miserable performance on defense last season. The Broncos have a brand new scheme, with four linebackers and three linemen. They will need some time to acquire all the pieces they need, but hope to make some progress this year.
5. HOW GOOD IS DENVER’S SECONDARY?
The Broncos will be better in the secondary than last year, when there was a revolving door at safety and Champ Bailey missed a lot of time with a groin injury. Denver added new starters Brian Dawkins, Renaldo Hill and Andre Goodman in free agency, but all four starters in the secondary are past 30 years old.