Even with a more dynamic offensive scheme and explosive players, the fate of the Broncos' offense will mostly rest on the shoulders of Trevor Siemian.
At least, that's what a couple of NFL legends think.
"To me, again, it's going to be the quarterback play," said former Buccaneers and Colts head coach Tony Dungy during a "Football Night in America" conference call. "They've got a running game with runners who can make things happen, they've got a defense that's going to keep them in ball games and give them field position. Everybody is going to clamp down and try to play them tight and … force the quarterback to make plays to beat them."
In Dungy's eyes, that means the Broncos must make more aggressive plays for big gains. Siemian and the Broncos avoided costly mistakes with the 11th-best interception rate on the season, but the passing offense managed only 40 passing plays of at least 20 yards on 570 passing attempts, a rate that ranked 29th.
"He's going to have to step up and make plays down the field," Dungy said. "I'm sure [Offensive Coordinator] Coach [Mike] McCoy will have some things in place to take shots down the field, but it's going to depend on Trevor Siemian really operating at a high level. If he does, then they're going to be very, very tough to beat. But he's going to have to prove to people he can be the difference-maker."
Fellow studio analyst and former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison agreed with Dungy on those points, but he added that he can see Siemian's potential paying off.
"[If] you're asking me if the Denver Broncos can win the division with Trevor Siemian, I believe they can," Harrison said. "I think their defense is good enough. Coach [Dungy] talked about being able to hit the passes downfield, but also not turning the ball over, making sure that you protect your quarterback and try to get some semblance of a run game. They have to be a little bit more patient with the run game and take a little pressure off the quarterback, but you can't hide the quarterback. He's a starting quarterback in the National Football League for a reason. You have to see if he can play."