Bleeding orange and blue | AspenTimes.com

Bleeding orange and blue

Paul E. Anna

It’s another change. Another season.Once the tents come down at Jazz/Country/Hip Hop/Kosher Rap/Classic Rock/Aspen Snowmass, you know that summer has come and, alas, gone. To some that brings a touch of sadness, but for others, joy prevails. Because in America, the end of summer is the beginning of football season. Opening day for your Denver Broncos comes Sunday as they travel to St. Louis for an interconference showdown with the Rams. Many here in the valley live and breath Bronco football, and the opening of the season is a bigger event than Christmas, Easter, or even Halloween. Expect the faithful to gather in front of their big screens en masse at 11 a.m. local for the opening tilt.As with all teams, every year, there are questions to be answered about this season’s Broncos. Start with the offense. Will Jake Plummer return to the fine form he exhibited in the first 17 games last year before he inexplicably (or predictably, depending upon your point of view) reverted to the Jake of old and threw two interceptions in the AFC Championship game? Will he be replaced by the rookie sensation Jay Cutler in midstream? Will he pay damages as a result of his offseason fender bender?How about the running back position? Can Mike Bell really be Mike Shanahan’s newest 1,000 yard rusher? Or will Tatum Bell be called upon to ring up big yardage? At wide receiver the answer will eventually be, yes, father time has caught up with Rod Smith. But will that question be answered this year or next? And can Javon Walker replace the often spectacular, occasionally inconsistent, and ultimately petulant Ashley Lelie at wide receiver? Defensively the Bronco’s look solid. Led by Al Wilson in the middle and with Champ Bailey and Darrent Williams at the corners, they could potentially end up as the best bunch in the AFC.But there in lies the rub. Potential is a heavy burden to bear. The Broncos and Mike Shanahan have not been to a Super Bowl since John Elway was in uniform. Each year the prognosticators, the fans, and even the pundits suggest the Broncos have the makings of a champion, and each year they have failed to reach their potential.Is this the season that Bronco fans finally get to ski powder in the a.m. and watch their team play in the p.m. in the Super Bowl on Feb. 4? If not, there will no doubt be more questions for Shanahan to answer.And answering questions can get tiring. Just ask Jim Horowitz.