For Super Bowl champions, this time of year is usually reserved to talk about one of two things: What it's like to play with a target on your back, or why no one seems to be giving you any respect.
"We still have conversations about our respect level. We still don't feel like it's there. I don't know why. You all do all the writing and all the talking, and there a lot of questions, stuff about our performance," Talib said, via The Denver Post. "We still have a chip. We are going to make it a period instead of a question mark."
Ah yes. It's good to be back hearing about "all the writing and all the talking," which could be athlete speak for One guy on Twitter said we were going to be bad, so I assume everyone else feels this way, too. While it's unclear what exactly Talib is talking about -- our Chris Wesseling, for example, called Denver the favorite to win the AFC West yet again in Around The NFL's roster reset series -- any disrespect layered on the Broncos at this point probably has to do with their general manager's approach to finding a quarterback.
At the moment, Mark Sanchez is leading workouts and would take the first snap if the season began tomorrow. Talib can't deny that it's a big step down from Peyton Manning who, even in a crumbling state late in 2015, could still manage a game like a Hall of Famer -- or at least thoroughly understand his limitations.
Respect for Denver's defense is obvious. The team lost a few nice pieces like every Super Bowl champion does but is still scary at pass rusher and cornerback, the two positions that really make this scheme work. They still have Wade Phillips and, after this offseason, might have an even more ground-oriented offense in 2016 that will help keep the defense off the field.
But as we said before, it's not just about respect for Super Bowl champions in April. As Talib noted, that whole target thing is a problem, too.
"It does feel different. We have a target on our back," Talib said. "If they didn't bring their best last year, they are going to now."
One day we will have something better, and more substantive, to discuss in April when it comes to defending champs.