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Broncos make big changes for 2015 season

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Posted at 12:39 PM, Sep 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-13 14:39:19-04
A new era begins when the Broncos kick off their 2015 season against the Ravens Sunday.

Quarterback Peyton Manning remains the face of the team, but the Broncos are now under the reigns of Head Coach Gary Kubiak.

"For 244 days, the Broncos built towards this moment. Now, it’s here," wrote Andrew Mason on DenverBroncos.com.

Besides overhauling the coaching staff, Mason pointed out multiple  major changes for the team:

  • Seventeen new players were added to the 53-man roster - including seven rookies.
  • The projected starting lineup features eight players who are new to the team this season.
  • The defense features a 3-4 base alignment for the first time since 2010 - led by returning Broncos coach Wade Phillips.
  • The offensive line was rebuilt - and is under the command of another former Broncos coach, Rick Dennison.

Manning will be "relying more on his running backs, playing in both a shotgun formation and under center, mixing some huddle with some no-huddle," Nicki Jhabvala with The Denver Post reported.

- Returning players to watch:

Peyton Manning, QB: Manning is 39 and looking for his second career Super Bowl title before his chances run out. His TDs dropped from 55 in 2013 to 39 last year. He had six TDs and six interceptions over the last six games, including a playoff loss to Indianapolis. He's a 14-time Pro Bowl pick, seven-time All-Pro, five-time NFL MVP and will still outperform most QBs, but his arm looked weak in the preseason. Many expect Manning's numbers to continue sliding.

MORE | Peyton Manning has plenty to prove

Von Miller, OLB: Miller is one sack away from becoming the third-fastest player in NFL history to post 50 in his career. Miller is expected to go off on the Baltimore Ravens - racking up sacks, tackles and hurry-ups.

"They're a great defense. I feel like we can be a great defense, too," Miller said earlier this week.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR: Sanders is expected to be returning punts Sunday. He had 101 receptions, 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014. Sanders just returned from a pulled right hamstring that prevented him from lining up opposite Demaryius Thomas the entire preseason.

"I would say he's a jitterbug, versatile and dynamic," Bucky Brooks said on NFL.com during a preview of Sanders' 2015 season.

Demaryius Thomas, WR: Demaryius caught just six passes and dropped a few others in the preseason after signing a five-year, $70 million contract in July. He's counting on Sanders to help him boost his numbers.

"I feel like [Sanders] can beat any corner man-to-man in the league," Thomas said. "That's helping me a lot because having him on the opposite side is really big."

Thomas had 111 receptions, 1,619 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014.

MORE | Broncos finally at full strength and just in time