Broncos deal with eye on chasing chargers |

Broncos deal with eye on chasing chargers

Mike Klis
The Denver Post

Now let’s see if they can beat the Chargers.

The conclusion of the NFL draft essentially means the Broncos are finished with the bulk of their roster renovation for the 2010 season.

Overpowered by the San Diego Chargers at the line of scrimmage for years, the Broncos went into free agency and spent $50 million to rebuild a new, three-man defensive line, then used the draft to add a tackle, a guard and a center to their offensive front.

Maybe now the Broncos can match the Chargers lick for lick.

The Broncos traded for a renowned backup quarterback in Brady Quinn and drafted their quarterback of the future in Tim Tebow.

Maybe someday – perhaps with starting quarterback Kyle Orton in 2010 – the Broncos can match play for play with San Diego’s Philip Rivers.

The Broncos traded away two of their most talented and disgruntled pass catchers in Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler, then took two receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, early in the draft.

No move was made without the Broncos simultaneously peeking in on the Chargers, who have won four consecutive AFC West Division titles and five of the past six.

It has been awhile since the Super Bowl was the stated goal at Dove Valley. First is figuring out how to overcome the Rivers-led Chargers.

“They’re the team that has dominated this division recently,” said Josh McDaniels, the Broncos’ coach and co-roster architect. “Everything we do in trying to improve our football team keeps in mind we are going to have to compete with them. Oakland is getting better. Kansas City is getter better. We need to stay on track too.”

The Broncos’ projected starting lineup for their Week 1 game at Jacksonville:

Offense: Kyle Orton, quarterback; Eddie Royal, slot receiver; Thomas and Jabar Gaffney, wide receivers; Knowshon Moreno, running back; Daniel Graham, tight end; offensive linemen Ryan Clady, Seth Olsen, third-round draft pick J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris.

Defense: Jarvis Green, Jamal Williams and Justin Bannan, front three; Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers, outside linebackers; D.J. Williams and either Mario Haggan or Akin Ayodele, a Miami Dolphins free agent who the Broncos signed after the draft, inside linebackers; Andre Goodman and Champ Bailey, cornerbacks; and safeties Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill.

The Broncos had a 3 1/2-game lead on the Chargers after Week 6 last season. By the end, the Broncos were 8-8, five behind San Diego – an alarming 8 1/2-game swing in an 11-week period.

As McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders reviewed what went wrong after the team’s 6-0 start last year, it’s clear they determined upgrades were needed at the line of scrimmage, quarterback and in their locker room environment.

Marshall and Scheffler are gone. Nose tackle Jamal Williams and Tebow are in.

Bring on the Chargers?

“It’ll be great to get back out on the field and putting forth some of the things we’ve changed in terms of our scheme and putting players in positions to compete,” McDaniels said. “I’m always excited to see how it plays out.”

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