Even though the final score didn't look like much, I think there were a lot of positives to take away from this game. There were plenty of negatives as well, but we now have a clearer picture of who's deserving to be a Bronco this season, and who the dreaded "Turk" is going to visit. Heads will roll, no doubt. It's no fun to lose a job, so my best regards to the men who'll be leaving Dove Valley for good tomorrow. Some of these guys, of course, will be stashed on the Practice Squad, and I for one am excited to see who makes it.
Anyway.... let's get on to the meat of this discussion. Follow me....
Who made it:
Knowshon Moreno looked like a crazed dog out there tonight, against Arizona starters no less... and for a good while too. That is the Knowshon I became infatuated with during his first season.... and we didn't even get to see his receiving prowess on display tonight, which is better than his running. He looked patient, he looked strong, he looked agile, and he looked in shape / fast. There's no way he doesn't make the 53. We're going to need this cocky, feisty little runner when the season starts. I actually hope he comes on so strong this year, we end up resigning him.
Omar Bolden just cemented himself a spot on the team tonight as one of our main return men and our 4th/5th CB. Heck, a lot of Corners stepped up and made good plays (made some bad ones too, but such is the life of a CB). Tony Carter, Syd'Quan (even though he got burned BADLY on a couple deep balls), and Drayton Florence looked good at times as well. There were a ton of possible picks and batted down balls to go around tonight. It's gonna come down to the wire on who stays and who goes. I know Bolden is a lock, but I wouldn't be mad either way if Florence makes it and Thompson gets cut, or vice versa. If not for his press skills and experience, I'd probably cut Florence and keep Thompson.... but Thompson has much more potential / ability. Either way I'll be cool.
Malik Jackson is 100% guaranteed a spot on the active roster after his performance tonight. I'm not just talking about his sack and run stuffing.... he was after Lindley all night long, relentlessly. There were about 3 times there where Jackson was a millisecond away from making Ryan Lindley eat it. He looks big, mean, strong, quick, relentless, and versatile. A great addition to our squad! Our defense as a whole, for the most part (Syd'Quan getting burnt twice deep), looked great. It'll be interesting to see what they do with Siliga, Blatnick and Garland, who all played well tonight (PS?).
Honestly, at this point, I wouldn't have one problem whatsoever keeping Gerrell Robinson and Greg Orton over Bubba Caldwell and Jason Hill. I'm pretty convinced Matthew Willis will make the team now as the #4 (even though he's had his fair share of crappy plays as well), Robinson and Orton are every bit as worthy as Caldwell / Hill.
Nate Irving / Danny Trevathan / Steven Johnson all made the team tonight, IMO. Trevathan especially was constantly around the football.... I've been high on this kid since way before the draft (I live about 30 min. away from Kentucky) and I think he's a possible starter one day!!! There was some bad of course, peppered in with the good, but I think these three are the young, future depth of our LB core. Mike Mohamed? IDK, it could go either way. I personally feel we should probably keep Brooking over Mohamed (at least until DJ's back) for his veteran savvy and leadership alone. That's something we're kind of lacking even with DJ out there.
I also think Virgil Green cemented himself a place on the active. That is a big, fast, uber athletic man right there..... young as well! Oh, and he can also play the H-Back / FB role.... which leads me to (lead blocks is more like it)....
Who didn't make it:
Chris Gronkowski does not impress me AT ALL. He's not very strong, he's not very athletic.... I'm just not sure the good outweighs the meh. I think Virgil Green or a FA such as Ovie Mughelli could step in right away and do a much better job than Gronk 3.0. No more Gronkowski's on this team unless it's Rob somehow, or a new one from their bloodline coming out of college who looks real promising.
Caleb Hanie looked like pure doggy doo doo tonight. Honestly, I can only remember one game in his NFL history where he didn't look like doo doo for the most part... the playoff game in which Cutler got hurt and Hanie almost mopped upped successfully afterwards. Other than that..... nah, there's not much to be excited with. I know his OL looked hideous too (REALLY BAD!!!).... I know he played Arizona's 1st team D and Big Oz didn't, but I'm sorry.... we can do better. I think Osweiler would play better. And if not, Billy Volek or someone could!!! He looked like a lame duck.... holding onto the football for FAR too long, so indecisive and playing scared, too much so for my liking. We need a warrior, not a guy who'll fold. Keep Brock as the backup, and Weber on the PS.
It's funny, my wife saw him in passing with his helmet off on the sideline after another pitiful attempt at a drive ended in a pick... and she called it perfectly when she said, "who is that guy.... he just doesn't look like a Bronco!" So true my dear, you have been taught well.
Andre Caldwell is a ghost. He had a couple decent catches, nothing much more though. Nothing much more all preseason long. Maybe.... just maybe they already know what they have in him, and he's safe, but I doubt it. I think a young, promising, physical specimen like Robinson would serve us much better from the bench (plus, Osweiler knows Robinson well). I just don't see the talent there with Bubba, unless he's playing possum.
Rafael Bush.... bye bye. Our Safety core is so green already, with the other two young guys from last year (Moore & Carter), we can't afford to keep an untalented guy like Bush who doesn't have the experience either. We should keep 5 Safeties, and Bush is the odd man out (Ihenacho to the PS?). I still fully believe we'll need (not just want) Jim Leonhard on that 53 man roster. He's an experienced return man, and he's still a decent Safety (if for nothing else, as a veteran mentor / rotational guy). He's a fountain of knowledge to Bruton, Moore, and Carter... and I think he still has a lot of snaps in him. He could get hot at the right time for us down the stretch.
Our 2nd team OL is garbage!!!.... I'll like Man Ram, and I'll tolerate Chris Clark, Ryan Harris, and Philip Blake (he's looking like a bust).... everyone else can go. I wouldn't mind seeing Tribue put on the PS for size alone (we need some bigger guys, if only as depth, scattered across the OL).
Ronnie Hillman is going to shock some people. Yes, he is a scat back.... but I believe he's a scat back who can pound it as well. He reminds me of a Thurman Thomas type back (I'll need to see some more of his hands of course), more so than a Darren Sproles type. I think a steady dose of McGahee, a rejuvenated Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, and either Ball or J. Johnson, can be a top 10 run team this year. Actually, I'd rather keep Johnson over Ball.... but I doubt the staff share the feeling. Our OL is still, after all these years, so nasty at the Zone Block!!! They aren't too shabby with the Power Scheme either... since last year and all throughout McD's tenure they had tons of reps in it. Hell, we were mostly a Power team last year, and I don't even need to remind you where our run game ended up (I admit, Tebow helped a lot). It's good to see the Zone Block working again.
I'm so torn on Julius Thomas now!!! It sucks MAJOR guano too!!! I really like this kid, and I think eventually his potential will kick in and he'll become a player, but I'm not sure it's going to be as a Bronco this year. He was a project player, everyone knew that coming into it.... but he's been so entirely useless, it's damn near impossible to give him a precious roster spot which is worth a lineman's weight in gold. His one chance to impress, he drops the football to the ground. He looked great leaping up in front of the defender to make the snag, but you can't drop the football like that when you've been a ghost on a team for a season and a half. I'll be fine with it if they keep him... it means they still see something brewing inside the guy.... but at this point, if I had to pick between him and Virgil Green, it's a no brainer. He may stay on till Green is back, then he's probably toast.
I hope we end up keeping Sealver Siliga over Unrein. He's not flashy, but he holds the line and he can take on multiple blockers (something 290 lb. Unrein isn't made to do). I think Blatnick and Garland played well too, but not enough for the active.... I wouldn't mind seeing Siliga on the 53. Nuff said on that.
I'm not sure I saw anything out of Jeremy Beal tonight. I hope he stays, but tonight he was walking through walls.
The entire defense looked pretty good tonight... I'm really excited to watch them all grow together in the coming years. Nate Irving, Steven Johnson, Danny Trevathan, Omar Bolden, Chris Harris, Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter, Malik Jackson, Robert Ayers, Derek Wolfe and Von Miller form a young, exciting core of new Broncos! What an exciting time to be a fan of this team!
The replacement refs need to go!!! Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse last year..... it did in a big, big way! These idiots are so bad, they're going to get death threats in the mail constantly (I'm not condoning it... but it's true).
I think with Manning at the helm ~ some young stud receivers in Thomas / Decker ~ Dreessen as the smart, route running, Peyton style H-Back ~ a stout & deep ground attack (I still feel we have one) ~ and an OL that is quickly becoming elite... we have all the tools on offense to make a Super Bowl push THIS YEAR!!!
Also, factoring in our pass rush (which is going to be top 5 this year) ~ a pleasant surprise in Derek Wolfe and many other youngsters from this past two drafts on defense ~ our newly improved CB core ~ and solid / steady rotation of DT's... we have a compliment to the Offense, and I don't see anyone in the West really challenging us for long (barring injury).
The only things I'm worried about right now is, how will the Safety play hold up throughout the year ~ the LB core (we have the depth, but they're all so young) ~ who's going to be our return men (Bolden is one) ~ and the depth of our OL/QB's... really and truly, that's it. At years end, I think our Kicker and Punter will be considered up there with Sebass and Lechler in Jokeland.
I'm curious to hear everyone's thoughts on the game, and thanks for listening. I think any way you turn it.... the Broncos are destined for an incredible year!!! Maybe not Super Bowl year one, but would you bet against them???