Another week, another victory. I could get used to this feeling. In case you missed it, the Broncos defeated the Seattle Seahawks when Steven Hauschka hit a 51 yard field goal as time expired. The final score was 23-20. There was a lot to be pleased with tonight. Let's jump into it.
Are you kidding me? Where do I even start? This combination is so deadly that it's not even fair. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were in awe of last night's performance. Folks, I am trying really hard not to dive head first into the orange and blue kool aid, but it's tough. I keep telling myself that it was just Seattle and it's only the pre season, but I'm not doing a good job of convincing myself.
Von Miller is the real deal and so much more. Miller finished the game with 4 tackles, 4 QB hits, and 2 sacks. Unbelievable. Von Miller is a freak of nature. He explodes off the line so fast that even the best left tackles will have trouble with him. This, of course, meant that rookie LT James Carpenter stood no chance. As I type this, Von just sacked Kevin Kolb. Von Miller is the favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and a trip to the Pro Bowl is in his immediate future.
Elvis is back, 100% and he ain't nothing but a Hound Dog. This means it's Heartbreak Hotel for offensive lineman. He looks so good that I Just Can't Help Believing that he is headed to another Pro Bowl. I Can't Help Falling In Love with him and it's definitely a Burning Love. He is the same pass rushing devil he was back in 2009, but he's way better against the run.
The Orange Crush is not back. This is a whole new type of scary defense.
It's the Orange Rush.
(Shout out to Mike Klis for coming up with that nickname in the Denver Post this morning)
Knowshon and McGahee are now 3 for 3 in being studs in the pre season. It's amazing the effect that Fox has had on our running game. Knowshon looks great. He ran the ball 10 times for 47 yards. He also caught a pass for 11 yards. Knowshon definitely looks quicker and is consistently making great runs. He got a little dinged up at one point, but appears to be fine. If he can stay healthy, he could have a heck of a year.
Willis McGahee is simply money in the red zone. 3 pre season games, 3 touchdowns for McGahee. McGahee is shaping up to be the best off season pick up and it's not even close. He ran the ball 10 times for 25 yards and 1 touchdown. Impressive stats? No, but I don't really care if he has a 2.5 ypc as long as he keeps getting into the end zone. McGahee is a touchdown machine and will solve Denver's goal line troubles that have plagued them for years.
Lance Ball deserves a stud note because he played very well. He has looked pretty average in the pre season, but I do think Denver's porous 2nd team OL has been a reason for that. Last night, Ball looked anything but average. He ran the ball 6 times for 37 yards and caught a pass for 26 yards. He was instrumental in getting the ball into field goal range for the win. Ball had a pretty big challenge going into the pre season. He had LenDale White, Jeremiah Johnson, Mario Fannin, and Brandon Minor all trying to grab his #3 spot, but it appears that Ball has won.
Remember when we drafted Julius Thomas in the 4th round? Everybody was saying the same thing: He's a developmental player who could turn into something special in a couple years. Somebody call up Julius Thomas and tell him he's supposed to wait a couple years, because he is ready to be special right now.
Thomas was fantastic last night leading all Bronco receivers with 4 catches for 70 yards. Thomas has been the talk of Denver's training camp and he really showed why against the Seahawks. Thomas is so big and so quick that he is a mismatch waiting to happen. If Thomas can strengthen his blocking, this guy has a big, bright future ahead of him.
Orton played very well last night. He finished the game going 16 of 23 for 236 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. His interception was pretty bad. He didn't see the Seahawks DE drop into coverage and threw it right to him, but other then that one blemish, Orton played well. When he had a clear pocket, he picked apart the Seahawks secondary with ease. He had a few really good passes to Eddie Royal and Eric Decker. When there is no pressure, Orton was fantastic, but as we saw a couple times, when there was pressure, Orton was simply not as good. Nevertheless, Orton had a very good game and I don't anticipate that we will see him for any more then 1 series next week.
I don't understand why Tebow was criticized for his performance in yesterday's game. He went 6 of 11 for 93 yards and led the 2nd team to 2 field goals including the game winning field goal. You know what I saw from Tim yesterday? Progress. There was one play in yesterday's game which was pretty telling to me. Tim was getting pressured, but instead of tucking the ball and running, he stayed in the pocket and threw to Britt Davis. The pass came up incomplete (Davis wanted a passing interference call), but that was besides the point. Tim stayed in the pocket and was going through his reads. He even got hit at the end of the play from a pass rusher up the middle. A few times Tim got flushed out of the pocket and instead of tucking the ball and running, he kept his eyes down field and hit his receivers. Tim played well yesterday. It wasn't perfect, and he has plenty to work on, but I saw progress yesterday.
Plus, I have to put Tim as a stud simply for the image of him jumping up and down trying to urge Fox to let him go for it on 4th down.
1st Team Offensive Line
The first team OL should be very proud of their performance against the Seahawks. There were a couple plays where Orton had enough time to sit down and enjoy a jelly donut if he wanted to. There were a couple of holding calls and Orlando Franklin did get beat a couple times, but for the most part, Denver's starting offensive line was awesome. J.D. Walton looks much better then he did last year, Chris Kuper is as solid as ever and 2011 Ryan Clady is not even in the same league as 2010 Ryan Clady. Thumbs up to this entire group.
Ayers and Vickerson are underappreciated. Their stats don't read great: 2 tackles for Vickerson and 1 for Ayers, but their impact is definitely apparent on film. There was some disappointment when it was reported that Big Vick slimmed down to 285 pounds, but I really like what it has done for him. Vick looks quicker off the snap and is getting into the backfield more. Ayers is also doing well. He is strong against the run and is doing a very good job as a DT on passing situations. Both of them are contributing to the success that Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil are having. I expect that both of them will be getting more sacks during the year because teams will have to double team Von Doom leaving Ayers and Big Vick in 1 on 1 situations.
I really like what I saw from both of these guys last night. Many thought that Nate Irving would be the starting linebacker after he was selected in the 3rd round. However, Joe Mays has taken a firm grip on the starting job and is not letting go. Every single game I have ever watched of Mays, he has made a hit that made me go "OHHHH". He had a few hits like that a couple times yesterday. He is looking more comfortable in coverage and he even rushed the QB yesterday (and nailed him). He finished the day with 3 tackles and 1 QB hit. Sorry Nate Irving, you're going to have to wait. Joe Mays is running the middle of the field.
Wesley Woodyard has always been underrated in my opinion. He is a valuable asset to the Broncos and he showed his worth yesterday. Starting WLB DJ Williams dislocated his elbow in the first half. Wesley Woodyard stepped right in and looked great. He finished the day with 4 tackles and half of a sack. Wesley will be the starting LB in place of DJ Williams. If yesterday was any indication, he's going to be just fine.
Denver's Starting Secondary.
With the addition of this group, the entire starting defense is now in the studs category. Champ is Champ. Goodman looks as good as he did in 2009. It's amazing what happens when your healthy. I'm also going to throw Cassius Vaughn in this category since he's the starting nickel. Cassius continues to play well and has a firm lock on the nickel position. Brian Dawkins and Rahim Moore looked good out there as well. If we are able to stay healthy, I think there is a legitimate chance that our defense could be a top 15 defense this year.
Backup Defensive Ends
Jeremy Jarmon, Jason Hunter and Derrick Harvey, your efforts are not going unnoticed. All of these guys played very well against the Seahawks. Jarmon was the better of the three, totaling 3 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 sack, but Hunter and Harvey played well too. Both of them were consistently applying pressure on the QB. I don't know how many defensive ends we are going to keep, but I would love to have Jarmon, Harvey and Hunter all on the team.
Matt Prater was thisclose to making a 69 yard field goal. I know that he could make it from that far because he made an earlier kick from 57 yards that looked like it would have been good from 70+. Despite Prater's recent legal troubles, he's a lock to make this team because his leg is just so strong.
I feel bad for Steven Haushka. I really do. He took over for Matt Prater at the end of last year, played great, and has continued to play great this pre season. If we didn't have Prater, I would be totally comfortable keeping Haushka as our starting kicker. However, we do have Prater which means Haushka is going to be the odd man out, but he definitely deserves an honorable mention for nailing a game winning 51 yard field goal.
Britton Colquitt, what the hell has gotten into you? Colquitt was pretty good last year, but nothing special. So far this pre season, he looks like one of the top punters in the game. Colquitt kicked the ball 6 times and averaged 51 yards. He AVERAGED 51 yards. He had two punts of 61 yards. Unreal.
Eric Decker, Eddie Royal, and Matt Willis
All of these guys had great games. Decker caught 4 passes for 45 yards and 1 touchdown. Eddie caught 4 passes for 62 yards and Matt caught 3 passes for 24 yards. Our Wide Receivers have looked good all pre season and they all have continued to impress. Decker, Royal and Willis will get plenty of looks this year and all of them could have bright futures in Denver.
Getting beat in coverage? Check. Pass interference in the end zone? Check. Getting cut on Tuesday? I sure hope so.
Injuries to DJ Williams and Broderick Bunkley
DJ Williams dislocated his elbow and will be out 3-4 weeks per the Denver Post. DJ has looked good in the pre season so it's a shame to see him get hurt. No official word has been given on Broderick Bunkley, but I hope he is okay. Bunkley has been really solid since coming to Denver. After losing Ty Warren and Marcus Thomas to injuries, we can't afford to lose Bunkley. If he is gone for an extended period of time, our starting DL will be Kevin Vickerson and Ryan McBean....
One small note, after Robert Gallery cut block Broderick Bunkley, Kevin Vickerson went right after him. One more reason why I love Big Vick.
5 fumbles and we didn't lose a single one. That is miraculous. Nevertheless, we can't fumble 5 times in a game. Let's hope it was just a one time thing.
9 penalties for 73 yards? That is way too many. We definitely need to tighten up this area. We can't afford to give up 73 yards in penalties. Not with the schedule we have this year.
Denver's Defense Against Screen Passes
This is becoming a bit of a pattern and it's definitely a concerning one. Denver is blitzing the hell out of teams, but it's leaving them incredibly open to screen passes. For the third week in a row, Denver got burned by a couple screen passes. I love this aggressive defense, but we have got to be able to stop screen passes.
Living in Southern California has its perks. Having Raider/Charger games on tv instead of Bronco games is not one of them. Consequently, I have to find streams for the pre season games. The one I was listening to was a Seahawks broadcast. These guys were horrible. They were incredibly biased (shocking, I know) and took the opportunity to knock on Tim Tebow at every opportunity. I'm glad I don't have to listen to them ever again.
Not Going For It On 4th Down
Fox...4th and inches and you don't go for it? Did you see how hyped up Tim was? He wanted that play so badly he was jumping up and down. You should have gave it to him. You just know it would have been a QB draw.
3rd + 4th Down Efficiency
5 for 14 on 3rd downs. 0 for 1 on 4th downs. That is not going to cut it folks. Thankfully, it didn't come back to haunt us, but it will against a team with a respectable defense.
Post Game Player Tweets@SydQuanThompson (Syd'Quan Thompson) Great team effort tonight got us the win. Let's keep on winning Broncos!
@KMcarthy34 (Kyle McCarthy) Great win. Thanks to everyone for the support! #broncos
@EKD92 (Elvis Dumervil) It was great to play in front of the best fans in football! One more preseason game to go, to get better. Lets get it. Gnight tweeter world
@LanceBall35 (Lance Ball) Thanks for all the support tnite!!! GO BRONCOS!!!!
@DoubleJJ90 (Jeremy Jarmon) Thanks Broncos fans for the support this preseason! It's been great. I couldn't be more excited about this season. My chips are #allin
@MillerLite40 (Von Miller) Geeks Unite!! One more step! Long way to go! #orangecrush #aggienation
@BrianDawkins (Brian Dawkins) Things r continuing 2 come 2gether. Brick by brick we r laying something down our fans will b proud of. #focused #teamwork #excels
@1_900_ayersjr (Robert Ayers) Shout out to the greatest fans in pro sports.
@WillisMcGahee (Willis McGahee) I have real good feeling that this season is going to be a grate 1 this year...
@Julius_Thomas (Julius Thomas) Good win #broncos. Had a good game but a lot of things I can learn from. Thank the Lord for his love and back to the grind
@SupurMario27 (Mario Fannin) Antother win for the hometeam #lehgoo!!! #broncos
@D_Brut30 (Davud Bruton) Great Win. Wish I was out there. Next week though. Now out tonight
@CHarris_16 (Chris Harris) Had a solid game , tired as can be tho on the cool lol
@_MarkDell (Mark Dell) #Broncos
That wraps up this weeks edition of Studs and Duds. Let's hope that we hear good news about Broderick Bunkley. Also, expect to hear of some Bronco releases in the coming days. With that being said, I'm out. Until next time, MHR.