Broncos and SeaHawks

Denver Broncos

Are they the NFL's version of the Rolling Stones?

With roughly two dozen players in their 30s, the Broncos resemble an aging rock band on their last tour. And some of them are reluctant performers. John Elway, 38, waited until June to announce that he would be back at QB. But at least Elway can rely on the 25-year-old legs of RB Terrell Davis. Thanks to Davis, who carried the Broncos on his back to victory in Super Bowl XXXII, Elway no longer has to win every game by himself. And the Broncos' offensive formula- which relies on quick throws to 30-year-old TE Shannon Sharpe and big WRs Ed McCaffrey (6'5'', 215 pounds) and Rod Smith (six feet, 200)-should keep Elway relatively healthy. This is the same scheme that kept Troy Aikman and Steve Young on the field during the Cowboys and 49ers Super Bowl years. It's the veteran defense that is going to need serious ice-time on Mondays. DE Neil Smith, LB Bill Romanowski and S Steve Atwater have played 29 NFL seasons combined. If they can't bounce back from week to week like they used to, it may be time to break up the band.




WR|E. McCAFFREY| Elway's security blanket on third down |3

LT|T. JONES| Effective anywhere on the line|4

LG|M. SCHLERETH| Resiliency is his best asset|4

C|T. NALEN| May move to guard if starter falls|5

RG|D. DIAZ-INFANTE| Confident he can replace Brian Habib |2

RT|H. SWAYNE| Takes over for new LT Tony Jones|3

TE|S. SHARPE| By far most athletic TE in the league |5

WR|R. SMITH| Big-play guy, goes across middle|4

QB|J. ELWAY| Will his return be worth it?|5

RB|T. DAVIS| A big headache for opponents|5

FB|H. GRIFFITH| Perfect blocker, will sacrifice body|3

SPECIAL TEAMS| PR Darrien Gordon is major weapon|5




DE|N. SMITH| Pro Bowl sack specialist|4

DT|K. TRAYLOR| Excellent run-stopper in the middle|4

DT|M. TANUVASA| First name (Maa) means "rock" in Samoan|3

DE|A. SMITH| Ex-Raider has 48 sacks in seven seasons |3

LB|B. ROMANOWSKI| Smart linebacker, knows all the tricks|4

LB|G. CADREZ| Fills in for departed Allen Aldridge |1

LB|J. MOBLEY| Every-down backer, Pro Bowl skills|5

CB|R. CROCKETT| Smart, can still play man coverage|4

CB|D. GORDON| Won't concede job to Tory James|3

SS|T. BRAXTON| Loves the big hit, but can also cover TE|3

FS|S. ATWATER| Still the signature defensive player|4

SPECIAL TEAMS| Needs to be more consistent |3

vibe| Broncos believe in Elway and Shanahan |5



Seattle Seahawks

Is a 41-year-old quarterback a good investment?

For someone who made his fortune investing in the future of Microsoft, Seahawks owner Paul Allen is putting an awful lot of stock in the present of Warren Moon, the 41-year-old QB he signed to a two-year, $5 million contract after a suspenseful holdout. Then again, so are free agents like S Mark Collins, C Kevin Glover, G Brian Habib and RB Ricky Watters, all of whom came to Seattle in the off-season to play with Moon. In an effort to halt a string of nine non-playoff seasons, Allen has given coach Dennis Erickson one of the NFL's priciest rosters. The good news for Erickson is that Moon, the first Seahawks QB to make the Pro Bowl since David Krieg in 1989, kept himself in great shape. And Seattle has speed to burn: WR Joey Galloway and rookie RB Ahman Green could sell out the Kingdome if they were running a footrace, and Pro Bowl FS Darryl Williams roams the field as well as anyone. "There is so much talent here," says Collins, "only the coaches could mess it up." Therein lies the bad news. If Erickson doesn't win now, he'll be part of the past.




WR|J. GALLOWAY| Has become consistent big-play star|5

LT|W. JONES| O gden and Boselli only Pro Bowl competition|4

LG|P. KENDALL| Father's a cop, he toes the line |3

C| K. GLOVER| Perennial Pro Bowler eases loss of Mawae|5

RG| B. HABIB| Ex-Bronco solidifies right side of the line|4

RT|H. BALLARD| O -line can't survive without "The House"|3

TE|C. FAURIA| Excellent blocker, so-so hands |3

WR|M. PRITCHARD| Former third receiver takes Brian Blades' place |3

QB|W. MOON| Got his money and is ready to earn it|5

rB|R. WATTERS| Eager to play with Moon |5

FB|M. STRONG| Good player but offense doesn't use fullback|3

SPECIAL TEAMS| Always dangerous with KR Steve Broussard|4




DE|M. SINCLAIR| Registers double-digit sacks annually |4

DT|S. ADAMS| Second-generation NFLer has explosive first step|4

DT|C. KENNEDY| Had his best off-season for conditioning|5

DE|P. DANIELS| Coming off injury-plagued season|3

LB|C. BROWN Will blitz more in '98|4

LB|D. WELLS| Beware first-rounder Anthony Simmons|1

LB|D. SMITH FA| signed because of excellent speed |2

CB|S. SPRINGS| Has skills to be one of the best|3

CB|W. WILLIAMS| 5'9'', but plays tall on elite defense|4

SS|J. BELLAMY| Weak link in a talented secondary|2

FS|D. WILLIAMS| Had a career year with eight INTs in '97 |4

SPECIAL TEAMS| They cost the club a couple of wins in '97|1

vibe| Moon knows how to work a locker room|4