The 2016 Denver Broncos season ended in disappointment, as this team was unable to defend their Super Bowl 50 title. After starting off strong, the Broncos fizzled down the stretch, losing eight of their final 12 games, and missing the postseason.

Now, as we enter into the offseason, it is important to look back at both the successes and the failures of this team. Who were the players that could be counted on to deliver in the clutch? Who are the players that need to improve their game? And who are the players that may need to be replaced?

Here are the winners and losers from the Broncos 9-7 season.

Winner: The No Fly Zone

No single unit on the team played at a consistently high level like the Broncos starting secondary. Denver led the NFL in pass defense, with just 185 yard allowed per game, and it was in no small part due to their defensive backfield. Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby, Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward combined for 11 interceptions, and shut down some of the top passing offenses in the game. It is no coincidence that Joe Woods, who served as the position coach for this group, has been promoted to defensive coordinator.

Loser: Russell Okung

Not only did Okung struggle to consistently keep pass rushers in front of him, but he also cost himself some serious money in the process. Okung negotiated his own contract without an agent last spring, and came to Denver needing to prove his worth, and earn the non-guaranteed money on the deal. He failed to do so in a big way. In March, he will be up for a club option worth $48 million dollars over four years. Look for the Broncos to try to renegotiate that deal, or just release him outright.

Winner: Von Miller

There is no question that the defense took a step backward this season, but Von Miller was as dangerous as ever. Miller finished the season with 62 tackles, 13.5 sacks and caused three fumbles. He forces opposing offenses to account for him on every play, as he is always a threat to change the game, on any given snap. Every opponent knows that they have to contain Von Miller, yet, they are still unable to do it.

Loser: Sylvester Williams

When Malik Jackson departed for a hefty paycheck in Jacksonville, much of the pressure to plug up the middle of the defense fell to Williams. The Denver defense just wasn’t the same. Opposing quarterbacks rarely had the center of their pocked collapsed, and runners had space to find lanes. Williams will be a free agent in March, and there is a good chance that he will be playing elsewhere next fall.

Winner: Rookies Justin Simmons and Will Parks

The rookie tandem was forced into action early and often this season; and their performances gave Broncos fans hope that the safety position should be set for years to come. Simmons finished the season with 30 tackles and two interceptions. Parks logged 17 tackles and a pick of his own. The two combined on the winning play against the New Orleans Saints in Week 10, as Simmons blocked a PAT kick, and Parks returned it for the two-point score. Simmons and Parks both received significant rookie playing time that could prove to be invaluable going forward.

Loser: Inside linebackers Brandon Marshall, Todd Davis and Corey Nelson

The Broncos run defense was ranked No. 1 in 2015, allowing just 83.6 yards per game. This season they regressed to being ranked No. 28 and allowing over 130 yards per game on the ground.

Part of the reason was that the inside linebackers never proved to be as sure of tacklers as Danny Trevathan had been. Some of the problem was that this trio struggled to stay healthy, battling nagging injuries all season. Yet, missed assignments and missed tackles were also a primary culprit, and these inside linebackers must improve in 2017.

Winner: Kicker Brandon McManus and punter Riley Dixon

Is there an NFL team that has a stronger young special teams combo than the Broncos?

Brandon McManus has always had a powerful leg, but this season he also displayed the consistency that Denver fans had been hoping for. McManus was 32 for 33 on extra points, and connected on 29 of 34 field goals, including going 10 for 10 on kicks between 30-39 yards.

The Broncos selected Dixon with their seventh-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and he responded by posting the best rookie net punting average in NFL history, with 41.3 yards per kick. Like McManus, Dixon displayed more than just a strong leg. The rookie also managed to pin opponents inside their own 20-yard line 28 different time times. When we know that football is a game of inches, every yard can be important.

Loser: Every passing target not named Thomas or Sanders

It is easy to look at the Broncos offensive struggles and assign blame to a number of places. The offensive line must improve significantly. The quarterback position is definitely a work-in-progress. The running game was virtually non-existent. One area that also must see significant improvement is developing another receiving target. Demaryius Thomas led the team with 90 catches for 1,083 yards. Next on the list, is Emmanuel Sanders, who caught 79 balls for 1,032 yards. The Broncos next best receiver? Rookie running back Devontae Booker with just 31 catches. If the Broncos are going to get better quarterback play, it is very important that another option in the receiving game steps up their game.