We are knee deep into our latest series from End Zone Score. NFL free agency is in full swing. Teams continue to make decisions that will affect the franchise’s immediate future. The focus here will be on each of the 32 teams’ biggest problems. What is the biggest negative facing each club? More importantly, how is each organization addressing the matter? In this edition we will take a hard look at the Denver Broncos. You can play catch-up here when it comes to the teams we have done to date.

Problem: Run defense

How special was the Denver Broncos’ defense in 2015? Wade Phillips’ unit ranked first overall in fewest total and passing yards per game allowed. And only two teams in the NFL gave up less on the ground. The Broncos racked up a league-high 52 sacks and played exceptional football in the playoffs. It was this group that paved the way to a win in Super Bowl 50 over the explosive Carolina Panthers.

The team ranked fourth overall in total defense this past season. And once again, Denver surrendered the fewest aerial yards in the NFL. But that was a bit deceptive as Phillips’ unit could not contain opposing runners. The Broncos allowed the fifth-most rushing yards in the league, giving up a disappointing 130.3 yards per game. Combine that with the fact that the club’s own running attack was virtually non-existent and you have a squad that dropped seven of its final 12 games following a 4-0 start.

Solutions

Last offseason, the free-agent defections of defensive tackle Malik Jackson and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan proved to be costly. This year, John Elway has opted to address the problems up front with the signings of Domata Peko (Cincinnati Bengals) and Zach Kerr (Indianapolis Colts). They should make life easier for the Denver Broncos linebacking corps, one that will be without DeMarcus Ware – who opted for retirement following 12 NFL seasons. Former starting nose tackle Sylvester Williams left for the Tennessee Titans via free agency but didn’t figure to be re-signed. In any case, Elway may address this area early in the draft.

Russell S. Baxter is the NFL lead columnist for EndZoneScore.com and the founder of ProFootballGuru.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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