5 players who must improve

Since winning the Super Bowl in 2015, the Denver Broncos have been headed in the wrong direction. What five players need to improve this upcoming season?

We often talk about teams going from last place to a division title in one season. But look at the steady decline of the Denver Broncos. And while it’s not been a one-year issue, the falloff has been quite noticeable.

All told, this was a club that finished 12-4 and captured Super Bowl 50 in 2015. One year later minus veteran quarterback Peyton Manning, the team got off to a solid 4-0 start. But the Broncos would crumble quickly, losing seven of its final 12 games to finish 9-7 and out of the playoffs for the first time since 2010. This past year, new head coach Van Joseph got the club off to a 3-1 start. But Denver would win just twice more the remainder of the year.

This offseason, Denver went out and added journeyman quarterback Case Keenum in free agency. The well-traveled signal-caller was a big reason the Minnesota Viking came within one victory of Super Bowl LII this past season. That’s all well and good. But you don’t finish 5-11 just because you have quarterback issues.

Other players failed to perform as they should have this past year. Hence head honcho John Elway went out and made a few changes. So what five players that are currently on the Broncos’ roster that need to step up in 2018?

5. Jared Veldheer

In a combined eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals, Jared Veldheer has made his share of appearances all along the offensive line. But a year ago, the Cards’ primary right tackle struggled in the 13 games and starts he made for the club (as evidenced by the falloff in his numbers via Pro Football Focus).

About one month before April’s draft, the Denver Broncos sent a sixth-round pick to Arizona to acquire the savvy veteran. He joins an offensive line that had numerous issues this past season. Vance Joseph’s club allowed 52 sacks, tied for the third-highest total in the league (ironically with the Cardinals).

Obviously, Veldheer will be looking to regain his prior standout form. And just as significantly, the well-schooled performer could be a tremendous influence on still-learning left tackle Garett Bolles.

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