Punt returner Tony Carter of the Denver Broncos reacts after dropping a punt that resulted in the ball being downed at the half yard line during the 3rd quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Mile High on August 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
The second preseason game is where the starters usually play a full quarter, if not an entire half. This allowed us to see how the team was progressing. Lets just say it was an emotional roller coaster, at least for me. The first half had it's ups and downs, but overall there's a bit to be excited about, but also there's obviously some work to be done. Let's not panic or get too worried yet, it's only the second week of the preseason, and no team is running smoothly just yet, but there was progress, which is encouraging.
The second half on the other hand was ugly. Yes the second teams were both riddled with injuries, so there was some third teamers mixed in. Also, impressive rookie QB Russell Wilson(who i wish Denver drafted!) continued to impress this preseason, and made another statement to the Seattle coaches for why he should be their starting QB. So let's take a look at the players who helped and hurt their stock this week. Here's last weeks risers and fallers post.
Potential to Move Up:
Cornerback: Chris Harris
He should have had about 2 INT's, and continued to blanket the slot WR all game. Harris who went un-drafted last year, continues to impress. I know Harris isn't on the roster bubble, but he had an impressive performance(outside of the TO play, which fortunately he dropped) and more than likely, locked down the nickel CB position
Defensive End/Defensive Tackle: Malik Jackson
The rookie really stood out to me. He's a versatile player who can contribute at DT and DE, which is always valuable and coaches love. Last night he stood out to me. He had 1 sack and was disruptive. Ultimately, i believe he will make the team, but it will be tough to cut last weeks stand out, Jeremy Beal. Both players will be battling it out until the final preseason game.
Another standout from last weeks game, Nate Irving stood out to me again. He was arguably the best player on the 2nd and 3rd team D. Showed solid tackling and nearly leveled QB Russel Wilson, who somehow avoided the sack. It's good to see Irving playing well. Franklin stood out to me as well. I know, some may not agree, but i liked what i saw. He played well, and with Brooking still hurt, and now Mohammed dinged up, Franklin can seize this opportunity. We'll see if he can make the roster or not, these next 2 weeks will be crucial for him.
Defensive Tackle: Mitch Unrein
Unrein got some reps with the 1st team at DT with Vickerson out, and collapsed the pocket and combined for a half sack with Von Miller. He was apart of the solid first team D pass rush. I think he will stick as the 3rd or 4th DT. I'll be keeping an eye out for him in the next few games, but he really stood out to me.
Safety/Special Team Ace: David Bruton:
I will admit, i really didn't see a spot for Bruton on this team. I figured Rafeal Bush would take his spot, and the signing of Jim Leonhard really hurt his spot on team. I know he was a specials ace, but was he worth it? Well, 2 punt blocks later, i think he sealed his spot on the roster. He probably will make it only as a special teams ace. I'm not a fan of Bruton at Safety, but he's too valuable as a special teamer, to simply let go.
Potential to Move Down:
The entire 2nd team OL
Maybe a couple of guys played well, but it didn't look good. Osweiler and the backs didn't have much time or holes to do anything. Looks like again, the Offensive line depth will be an issue. Will be interesting to see if they add a guy or two once cuts are being made.
Cornerback: Tony Carter
What was Tony Carter thinking when he was fielding that punt? It was just ugly. Also he didn't do too well in coverage. He did have a nice 3rd down stop, but it was called for defensive pass interference (sketchy call).
Lance Ball was the most productive of the group, adding 4 catches for 30 yards and only 5 yards on 2 carries on the ground. The other three totaled 3 carries for 1 yard. For some reason, the Broncos totally gave up on the running game. Either the Broncos decided the blocking was so bad that they decided to air it out, or wanted to give Osweiler as much work as possible. Knowshon did pick up the blitz pretty well on Mannings second INT, but other than that, these guys didn't stand out to me, and didn't help their stock at all.
Brock Osweiler looked like a rookie tonight. Held onto the ball too long and didn't have great pocket awareness. Lots of rookie mistakes, but that's what you're going to expect. He wasn't given much time and was under pressure alot, but it was a disappointing performance for the rookie, but he played the entire second half. Neither backup Adam Weber or Caleb Hanie took a snap in this game. It's hard to say whether or not this means they're falling behind the rookie QB, or if they just wanted to give the young rookie some work, but it's probably not good for both.
Defensive End: Ben Garland
Garland is a nice story, but i have yet to see him make any significant plays this preseason. It was already considered a long shot for Garland to make the roster, but i was hoping he could push for a roster spot. Garland could end up on the Practice Squad as a project, but he will need to show the coaches something.
Special Teamer/Cornerback: Syd'Quan Thompson
A fan favorite around here has yet to do anything to stand out to me. I haven't seen him getting many reps at corner(which isn't good) and he isn't doing much at all as a returner. He will really need to show something as a return man to make this team. It's not a good sign when journeymen like Ramzee Robinson, Tony Carter and Joshua Moore are taking snaps ahead of him.
There will be some hard cuts coming up in the coming weeks. Lots of interesting battles going on. The second depth chart is being released this week, so that will give us a better answer as too who is ahead of who right now. The final preseason game will be a fun one. Now i wouldn't be too discouraged about this weeks performance. Lets see if these guys bounce back after a week of practice and play well against a tough opponent in the 49ers.