The Denver Broncos may have finally found their sense of direction after floundering the last few seasons since their Super Bowl 50 win. It has seen them completely embrace a youth movement to guide them forward in their current rebuild. However, their playoff hopes for the 2020 season just took a significant hit.
Broncos’ 2019 season
The Broncos are coming off experiencing a rebuilding year that saw them miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
There were plenty of growing pains along the way, which saw rookie Drew Lock emerge as their next potential franchise quarterback. Lock had his promising moments while Courtland Sutton showcased he could become their No.1 receiving option.
Although the Broncos failed to reach the playoffs, it has led them to commit to their youth to guide them forward. On the other side of the ball, Denver remains anchored by star outside linebacker Von Miller. However, things have taken a disappointing turn as Miller’s 2020 season just come to a crashing halt before it began.
Von Miller suffers season-ending ankle injury
The Broncos have had building momentum this offseason around their young core group offensively to push them forward.
However, the team just took a massive hit defensively with star outside linebacker Von Miller suffering what appears to be a season-ending ankle injury on Tuesday, according to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network.
Miller reportedly suffered it on the last play of practice, which is an even more devastating detail. It all happened just a few days before Week 1 action with the Broncos now without their best defensive player. Miller has been their cornerstone on that side of the ball as a premier pass rusher.
Throughout much of his career, he has earned recognition as one of the league’s top defensive players. Miller has complied a stacked resume with a Super Bowl 50 MVP, eight Pro Bowl selections, three First-Team All-Pro nods, and four Second-Team All-Pro nominations. There have been some early rumblings that he could return this season, but it’s a massive blow to their playoff hopes.
Broncos’ 2020 season exceptions
With Von Miller presumably out of the picture for the 2020 season, it does alter things a bit for the Broncos.
Denver already has the difficult task of playing in the AFC West in a division that features the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. That alone will present a steep uphill climb with more challenges without their elite pass rusher in the mix. There are also concerns with Bradley Chubb, who is currently dealing with a nagging injury.
All this places more pressure on their offense to pick up more of the slack to push them forward. The Broncos have high hopes for Drew Lock to take a significant leap forward in his second season. The front office has surrounded him with additional talent through this year’s draft with rookie wideouts Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler.
The Broncos already possessed some promising young skilled-position players with Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay Noah Fant, while adding Melvin Gordon through free agency. The pieces are in place for Denver to make a notable step forward, but the loss of Von Miller will be significantly felt defensively. Throughout his career, he has been their most significant game-changing factor on that side of the ball.
Despite that, the Broncos are still in a position to make some noise toward competing for a playoff berth.