The quarterback position is a huge question mark. The offensive line is a huge question mark.

Replacing Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson are huge question marks. Von Miller’s contract status is a huge question mark, as is Brandon Marshall’s. Depth in the defensive secondary is huge question mark.

It’s hard to name a defending Super Bowl champion with so many uncertainties up and down the roster. Because of this, a number of prognosticators have the 2016 Denver Broncos finishing the season with a record barely above .500.

The mental gymnastics it takes to only get the Broncos to eight or nine wins is impressive. Denver won Super Bowl 50 because it had one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. That defense remains largely intact. It’s no secret that Gary Kubiak is once again going to lean heavily on his defense, something he did last year with great success. There’s no reason to believe they can’t have the same success this season.

Nonetheless there are still major questions that Denver needs to answer. If Broncos Country has any worry about Wade Phillips’ unit struggling to find answers, don’t; the defense is going to be just fine.

Outside of the variables they can’t control, Miller’s contract chief among them, this defense is ready to prove there isn’t anything they can’t overcome.

Let’s take a quick step back. Miller’s contract undoubtedly represents a huge dark cloud hanging over Dove Valley. He was the best player not only in the Super Bowl but in the NFL playoffs. Miller wants to be the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL and he deserves that honor. It’d be silly if the Broncos’ top brass didn’t feel the same way deep down.

John Elway shifted his philosophy towards building a defensive-minded football team following the Super Bowl 48 blowout (a brilliant move) and Denver benefitted from the fruits of his labors. With that, it’s hard to fathom him letting the anchor of a great defense (probably the team) miss games because of a contract squabble. Elway knows the importance of having Miller at training camp and he’ll get his deal done before then.

Back to the guys currently at OTAs. The mentality of this defensive unit should leave no question about whether or not they are ready to pick up where they left off last season, despite any departures.

Derek Wolfe is a prime example of this. Number 95 has gone from fighting the label of a draft bust to being looked upon as a key piece to replacing Jackson. Even after signing a big contract extension, you can hear in his voice that he’s still not satisfied.

“We [the Broncos defense] want to be number one in everything, not just 14. We were number one in 14 different categories on defense. We want to be No. 1 on all of them,” said Wolfe yesterday at his media availability.

Here’s a question, who doesn’t think they could do it?

Last season, Denver’s defense set out to prove they were the best unit in the league and they did just that. They did that with scheme – Phillips maximized his player’s talents by putting them in the right place at the right time – and they did it with effort. Neither of those things is going to change this season. Especially when it comes to going 100 percent on every play.

“Ultimately defense is about effort. Our defense plays with a ton of effort. It doesn’t matter what adjustments people will make. We’re going to play hard. That’s what it comes down to,” Wolfe added.

Is that something every player says before every season? Sure, no one is ever going to say “We’re gonna go 85 percent on second downs this season.” The difference, Wolfe and company showed last season, is that isn’t lip service. All season the Broncos defense personified the proverbial “pit bull mentality.” They played on the edge week in and week out; sometimes it got the best of them, but it was ultimately that attitude and effort that won them the Super Bowl.

With the departure of Jackson, Wolfe enters his fifth year as a perfect example of do as I do on the field. He is the epitome of Denver’s defense.

Wolfe has no doubt that his unit will be able to replace the both Jackson and Trevathan.

“We have a standard here,” he said, speaking about the new members of the defense, including draft picks and free agents, “and they either buy in or they don’t. They’re either going to buy into that standard or they’re going to get the hell out.”

There are plenty of questions surrounding the defending Super Bowl champions, most notably at quarterback. But, defense is not one of them. They are who they are. They are one of the best defenses in the league, they give max effort on every play and they fly to the ball faster than anyone in the league. Losing a couple of players to free agency isn’t going to change that. If you have any questions regarding how they are going to do that they’ll be ready to answer them, on the field.