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Broncos vs. Seahawks - Bubble boys and battles abound

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Let's take stock of our roster and identify what exactly Broncos fans should be watching for tonight.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback

Will Manny Ramirez snap the ball over Peyton Manning's head for a 2nd time?  All joking aside the only man Broncos fans should have their eyes on is Brock Osweiler.  Brock may get a series or two with the 1's depending on the success Manning has in the game, but for the most part he will be paired with the 2's meaning a diminished edge when it comes to pass blocking.  I want to see what the big young QB will do when under pressure.  Can he be quick and decisive with his progressions and extend plays when something is not there?  This is the added value Oz brings to the table.  He can make plays with his legs and throw the rock with authority outside the pocket.  More than anything though, I will be watching to see if he can remain turnover free.

Running Back

Ronnie Hillman is simultaneously the luckiest back in Broncos Country and the most under fire.  With Montee Ball out indefinitely, Hillman has to show elusiveness in the open field and grit between the tackles.  Being the smaller of the backs in Gase's stable, he has to be able to pick up the blitz if it's dialed and also hold onto the ball in traffic.  In this 3rd season, it is do or die for Ronnie Hillman.

Who else will step up?  Will CJ Anderson hold onto his place among the top three?  I expect to see more Anderson and Hillman but late can Juwan Thompson keep momentum going in his quest to hold off Kapri Bibbs, Brennan Clay, and Jerodis Williams?

Wide Receiver

Though the starters will be limited, I want to see what Emmanuel Sanders brings to the table.  I expect the Broncos to try and utilize his speed by getting him the ball in space.  This means a big role in the screen game to go along with some of the two-route pick concepts the Broncos utilized a season ago.

Beyond Sanders, will Cody Latimer keep the momentum going and impress against one of the better coached secondaries in the league?

Finally, I want to see Isaiah Burse or Jordan Norwood make some plays outside of their battle for the return position.

Tight End

Though the pecking order seems to be set in stone, all eyes will be on Virgil Green.  The Broncos have tried to get him more involved in the passing game.  At Nevada with Colin Kaepernick pulling the trigger, he proved to be a viable downfield weapon.  In this offense I want to see if he can become more than just a blocker which would give the Broncos an equally deadly 12 personnel punch to go along with their 3-WR set.

Offensive Line

There will be battles on the back end, but the spotlight will be on Orlando Franklin at LG and Chris Clark at RT.  After shuffling the deck the Broncos believe they are now in a lineup that will better utilize both players.  Tonight will mark the beginning of what should be a season long endeavor.

Defensive Tackle

Not sure if Kevin Vickerson will play.  But outside of Pot roast and Sly, Marvin Austin will be the most intriguing big man to watch.  He has consistently garnered praise from several sources for his quick first step and ability to collapse the pocket, this will be his first opportunity to build upon a strong camp and most importantly remain injury free.

Linebacker

I doubt we'll see a lot of nickel if any from the starters given the Seahawks' offensive tendencies, but with things almost wide upon among the reserve spots, which players will stand out and make plays in the passing game?

Corner

Kayvon Webster was picked on quite a bit as a rookie with mixed results.  He has had a good camp filling in for Chris Harris Jr. on the outside and in the slot.  As a physical specimen he is almost identical to rookie Bradley Roby and I'm looking for our lineup to be physical.

Bradley Roby should also see some extensive time with Chris Harris Jr. out of the lineup.  With Roby, he can be too aggressive and fall victim to precise route running and double moves.  I do not want to see any big plays given up by the rookie 1st rounder.

At the bottom half of the roster, it seems as if Tony Carter and Omar Bolden are fighting for a spot.  Tony Carter may have more difficulty with the new emphasis on pass interference and illegal contact given the fact he is the Broncos most penalized defender in the secondary.

Safety

We likely are not going to see any specialty packages in this first outing if at all.  Quinton Carter has climbed the depth chart into a backup role after spending the past two seasons on the bench with injuries.  Can Quinton flash the play making ability that has made him a cult hero to many Bronco-ites?

Call me skeptical, but I hear John Boyett can play.  If his game is as prolific as his mouth, the Broncos may have to keep him in the mix.

Specials

The battle for who will return kicks and punts should stand front and center on Thursday.  It is one of the only intriguing starting spots up for grabs on the Broncos roster.  Is Isaiah Burse worth the hype or can someone else do the job better?

GO BRONCOS!!!