Everyone can't stop talking about Peyton Manning, but the real fatal flaw facing the Denver Broncos stands with their defense, especially on the line. If the unit falters could they make a play for Henry Melton from the Chicago Bears?
Peyton Manning may have to carry Broncos through early NFL schedule
Denver made it clear from the outset of free agency that they wanted a Super Bowl immediately. Otherwise they never would have traded Tim Tebow and put their faith in 14-year veteran Peyton Manning. The Broncos have worked to put an offense around the future Hall of Fame quarterback but that might not prove the Achilles heel to a championship run. While the Denver defense was the reason the team made the playoffs last season many of its key pieces are either old or injury risks. Nowhere is the problem bigger than at the heart of the defensive line. While the unit had a solid pass rush thanks to Elvis Dumervil and rookie Von Miller, the defensive tackles couldn't keep opponents from averaging 126 rushing yards per game last season. Unless that changes, it may rest with Manning to carry the team by himself until the Denver Broncos front office can fix the problem, which might not happen until next year.
Brian Urlacher and Matt Forte contracts could handcuff Bears on Melton
The Chicago Bears have big decisions of their own set for next year. While everyone has heard the same story with running back Matt Forte and whether he'll get a long-term deal, fans also wait and wonder on the future of eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. He will become a free agent in 2013 and the Bears will likely make him a priority along with Forte. That could put them in a tough spot since one of their better young defenders might slip away. Defensive tackle Henry Melton sits poised for a big season after netting seven sacks last season. Now that he has his first full offseason on that spot he could easily beat that number. While Urlacher and Forte command the attention, Melton is a potential centerpiece for the Bears defense in the coming years. That is unless a team like Denver can lure him away. Having Melton on the line with Dumervil and Miller could give the Broncos one of the best pass rushes in football and exactly what they need with Manning on offense.
The Denver Broncos have the quarterback in Peyton Manning, but they also need the pass rush to get Manning the ball back. If the Chicago Bears can't find their way through Brian Urlacher and Matt Forte, Henry Melton might slip away.