It was crazy around here during Week 1, but moving forward we will make sure to get these In Focus posts out by Wednesday mornings. Most of us at least appreciate the work they do over there and it's always nice to review how individual players did during the game between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.
This post will spotlight the top performers, but I will mention the players from each unit that fared the worst in each game. One bad performance does not a player make, though they should be noted as the season goes forward. Improvement is always a top priority.
RG Louis Vasquez - 3.6. Is there any doubt that Louis Vasquez is the best right guard in the NFL today? I read PFF frequently and hardly a week goes by where this guy isn't at least mentioned in a positive way for his play. After the Indianapolis Colts game, it pleased me to see an offensive lineman step it up the next week with a dominating run blocking performance. Maybe he can teach a few things to Chris Clark.
WR Demaryius Thomas - 3.0. After a relatively quiet game in Week 1, Demaryius Thomas went out and had himself a great game against the Chiefs. He only had five catches for 62 yards, but his touchdown reception was a thing of beauty. He also drew a critical pass interference penalty late in the fourth quarter to help secure the Broncos only points of the second half to put them up a full touchdown, setting the stage for the exciting goal line stand at the end of the game. His performance was good enough for PFF's Game Ball too.
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 2.2. Emmanuel "Colonel" Sanders has really added a dimension to this offense it didn't have last year and with his first 100 yard receiving day of his career, Sanders is also becoming a better wide receiver thanks to Peyton Manning. Already, Sanders as 14 catches for 185 yards on the season - well on his way to a Pro Bowl kind of season. All he needs now is some touchdowns!
Needs Improvement: Chris Clark graded out almost a full two points worse than the second worst score, so he definitely had a rough game to say the least. The penalties are killing his game right now, so if he can clean up the mental side of his game he should be more than serviceable at right tackle.
CB Chris Harris Jr. - 2.5. I don't know if this is indicative of how bad the defense played over all or just how good two guys coming off ACL injuries are so soon after coming back onto the field. Aside from one bullcrap penalty, Harris smothered his assignments in both pass coverage and run defense. He is quickly becoming my favorite player on defense.
DE DeMarcus Ware - 1.1. Believe it or not, DeMarcus Ware had a monster performance in this game. He just got hammered for a slew of mental errors resulting in third down conversions for the Chiefs. It's good that he was hungry for the quarterback, but the third down thing needs to go away. Fast. Overall, Ware had the best pass rushing mark of any player on the team, but those penalties really left a black mark on his performance overall. Oh and having that strip sack taken away hurts too.
LB Von Miller - 0.8. The attack of the surgically repair knees continues this week as Von Miller rounded out the top three defensive performances this week. He scored the top mark in run defense - yes that is run defense - and second in pass rushing, but he too screwed up with a penalty of his own that hurt his mark. Overall, he was consistent all night long. His 57 snaps is well below the 80 that Chris Harris fielded, so we definitely need to follow this "groin" issue John Fox mentioned in the post game presser. I hope it doesn't affect his sack dancing abilities!
Needs Improvement: It was a near tie for the bottom spot for youngsters Malik Jackson and Quanterus Smith who both struggled with rushing the passer and with mental errors that resulted in a few yellow flags to be thrown their way. This is to be expected from young players. Hopefully, they can both bounce back for this weeks' revenge game.