This by far is the worst football game to watch as a fan, after the Pro Bowl. Most teams play their starters a smidgen, and the Broncos usually play theirs less. Multiple Bronco starters will probably leave their helmets and pads in the locker room, preferring more casual attire. Jake Plummer, Rod Smith, Javon Walker, Gerrard Warren, John Lynch, and others all figure not to see any action. There are some things that intrigue me going into this game, however, and there are things yet to be determined.
Final cut-down day is quickly approaching and Shanny's Bunch need to widdle the roster down from it's current state of 75 players to 53. That's alot of bodies, and most of them are going to be playing significant time. Here are some of the things I am looking for....
1. Will One Of The Running Backs Emerge? -- This is probably the biggest question on the minds of Broncos fans. As I made my daily rounds amongst the other fan sits I could sense the trepidation. No one is really sold on Mike Bell, people still have questions about Tatum Bell, Ron Dayne is, well, Ron Dayne, and Cedric Cobbs has shown flashes, but against inferior opposition. Shanny is probably going to use a RBBC(running back by commitee)regardless of what happens during the game, but it would sure be nice to have one of these guys go off, or just show consistent results.
2. Can One Of These Receivers Become The #3? -- To be honest, Brandon Marshall probably has the inside track on this job, even with the injury. Reading betweein the lines in Shanny's comments earlier today it seems unlikely that Marshall will play in the desert so if one of these other guys plans on making a move now is the time. With jay Cutler getting 90% of the snaps the receivers should get an ample opportunity to make plays downfield. I am going to be watching David Kircus closely. I really like what he can bring but he disappears at times and he needs this game to stand out. Let's face it, assuming Marshall is a lock to make the team, one or two of these guys - Charlie Adams, Kircus, Darius Watts, David Terrell, Todd Devoe -- are going to be gone.
3. Can The D-Line Put Consistent Pressure On The QB? -- Hey, I know this group is missing two of it's starters, but at some point this season they are going to be missing on or two guys and are still going to need to perform. Getting pressure with the front 4 is going to be the biggest key this season for the Broncos. With the LB's we have our D-Linemen should be thinking sack first, run second. I think you guys and gals are going to be pleasantly surprised with Kenard Lang. His motor runs all the time and he always seems to wreak havoc in the backfield. Another guy I have been waiting for is Patrick Chukwurah. He is a monster but can't seem to get on the field consistently. He is the perfect 3rd Down pass-rush specialist in my mind and think he is going to come up big this season.
4. Can Our Corners Avoid The Sophomore Jinx? -- We all know by now how important Darrent Williams and Dominique Foxworth were to Denver's success last season. Both look like they are going to be special pplayers. There have been times during the pre-season, though, that both have been a bit too aggressive. Foxworth got beat for a touchdown against the Texans on one such play when he bit badly on a slant route. Now, I know that corners get beat in this league all the time, but every Offensive Coordinator the Broncos play this season saw it as well, and I can bet you are going to see teams run double-moves, etc time after time until the kids can prove they won't bite. It's better to give up and 7 yard slant than a 50 yard TD, or so I've heard.
5. Can Bradlee Van Pelt Do Enough To Hang Around? -- I like BVP, I really do. He's a bit odd, but dude plays hard and is tough as nails. Unfortunitely things don't look good for BVP to make the final roster. Last year Shanny went the season with only 2 QB's on the roster, and with Cutler looking more and more like the real deal Shanny will probably do it again. With Saurbrun out until Week 5, Denver is going to have to keep a punter and maybe even a kick-off specialist to keep Jason Elam's leg fresh. The result could be the end of the line for my man BVP.
That what I am looking for...What about you????