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Broncos intriguing team to watch

The Denver Broncos are trying to get back to the postseason, after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2010. Denver was able to go 9-7 after watching Peyton Manning retire, but couldn’t get back into January football with Trevor Siemian under center.

This year, the Broncos kicked things off by seeing head coach Gary Kubiak retire, with Vance Joseph coming in to replace him. Joseph, a first-time head coach, comes over from the Miami Dolphins where he helped the organization reach the playoffs as an offensive coordinator.

In the free agency period, the Broncos went out and upgraded the lines on both sides of the ball, specifically by signing guard Ronald Leary and defensive tackle Domata Peko. In the draft, general manger John Elway kept that trend going by acquiring Garret Bolles in the first round out of the University of Utah, a 25-year-old rookie with raw but significant skills.

Now, the Broncos go into training camp with an improved roster but a legion of questions. On Wednesday night, the news broke that Devontae Booker will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist, an injury that was sustained in OTAs last month. Booker was going to compete for the first-string running back job, but that will now likely fall to veteran C.J. Anderson. Anderson, who is entering the second year of a four-year pact, could be looking at his last shot with the team considering the dead money on his deal dwindles after 2017.

Then there is the question of quarterback. Last year, it was rookie Paxton Lynch coming into the franchise as a first-round selection, while Mark Sanchez appeared to be the favorite as a veteran stalwart. Instead, Sanchez was bad in the preseason, and Siemian showed potential, winning him the job. Siemian was average throughout the campaign, and now Lynch has a real chance to finally earn top billing.

Should Lynch win the gig, expect for some growing pains. The offensive line, despite the additions of Bolles and Leary, still has some problems including right tackle. The tight end and running back spots are weak, while the strength lies at wide receiver at Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. If Lynch can read defenses, get the ball to his playmakers and show some mobility, perhaps Denver gets back to the postseason in a loaded AFC West.

In his first year, Joseph has a legion of challenges ahead. He has to keep a very talented defense performing at an elite level, all while figuring out how to improve one of the league’s most anemic offenses from a year ago. With Elway looking over his shoulder, Joseph doesn’t have the benefit of a grace period.

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