The Denver Broncos defeated the Seattle Seahawks in their preseason opener last night. There was a handful of players who helped themselves greatly last night, but there was also a few who hurt themselves.
Last night was an important night for Osweiler, and he shined. He went 15 for 20(75% completion percentage) and completed one touchdown.
Osweiler showed poise, accuracy, and that maybe he is the future of the Denver Broncos. This performance by Osweiler impressed Head Coach
"I was really impressed with him. We tried to settle him down the first couple of series. Then we let him go and throw the ball around a little bit. I thought that once he did that and got in a good rhythm, I thought he made some really nice plays."
This was arguably Osweiler's best performance in a Denver Broncos uniform. He played in the elements, on the road, in a tough environment, and against a good defense. This was a tough test of Osweiler and he passed with flying colors.
If he continues this play throughout the rest of Training Camp and the Preseason, Osweiler may receive a contract extension from the Broncos.
There has been talk amongst fans recently about whether Ronnie Hillman should or shouldn't make the roster. Well, Ronnie made sure the one saying he sucked and should be cut shut up last night.
The explosive running back ran the ball 8 times for 66 yards with a long run of 23 yards. Hillman looked like the Broncos best running back last night.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak was impressed with Hillman and talked about Hillman having that "extra gear" the other backs do not have.
"We ran the ball well in the first half and Ronnie (Hillman) had a lot to do with that. Ronnie’s got that gear, maybe that the other guys in our group don’t have in terms of getting the ball to the edge and those type of things. In some of the zones we had tonight, the ball needed to get to the edge and he got it there. So Ronnie has had a really good camp. He has been impressive in training camp. And lo and behold you usually show up and play well. It’s good to see it’s carrying over for him."
Montee Ball had a good showing last night, but it looks like Hillman is really pushing him for the number two job at running back. This will be a fun battle to watch in the next couple weeks.
Matt Paradis/Max Garcia/Ty Sambrailo:
The three young offensive lineman had their ups and downs last night, but overall they did pretty well all things considered. They were facing a tough unit in their first game action together in a tough environment.
Paradis was blown up one time, Sambrailo had a false start, and Garcia gave up some pressure a couple times, but that is too be expected from this young group. They improved as the game went on and Paradis earned praise from coach Kubiak.
I thought they did some really good things in the first half. Early we jumped off and had some communications issues. I thought once they settled down, they played pretty well. They came off the ball well. I really like Matt. Matt ran the group well. He went out there and got them on the right people and made the calls. I will go back and look at it but for the first night out, you have to feel good about it."
It really looks like Matt Paradis will be the starting center for the Broncos.
What really helped these three young guys was how awful their backups did in the second half, but I will have more on that later.
Shaq Barrett and Shane Ray:
Heading into this game my eyes were focused on the Broncos first-round pick Shane Ray, and boy he did not disappoint. He was quick off the line, he set the edge, he was good in the run game, and he pressured the quarterback. It was a great night for the young rookie.
The rookie also forced a big fumble.
Linebacker Von Miller was impressed what he saw from his young teammate.
"He made a whole bunch of plays. Practice is totally different from the game – he has been showing stuff in practice… In a game, he came out there and held his own. For his first game in the NFL I thought he did pretty good – he should be proud of himself."
Ray wasn't the only young linebacker to flash last night. Shaq Barrett was unstoppable at times last night. He was consistently rushing the passer and finished the night with 1 sack(felt like more) and 3 total tackles.
The Broncos edge rushing group look deep and really good.
Anunike was a beast last night. He finished the night with 8 total tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. At times, it looked unfair that he was out there against that level of comeptetion.
.@ANU_NIKE91's numbers: 8 total tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits. That's a hell of a stat line for a 3 or 5-technique DE.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 15, 2015
If he continues this type of play he will be pushing Derek Wolfe and Vance Walker for a starting job. He may even make the veteran Antonio Smith's roster spot expendable.
It was a great showing by the young defensive end.
The rookie quarterback showed everyone why the Broncos spent a 7th round pick on him. The rookie quarterback went 5 for 6 for 90 yards. He threw a beautiful 41-yard pass to receiver Bennie Fowler late in the game. His night would have been even better if he hit tight end Dominique Jones in the back of the end zone.
He showed surprising movement for a player not even a year removed from an ACL injury and a very strong arm. Siemian is making a case on why he should make the team.
McManus looked like the Broncos best kicker last night. He went three for three on field goal attempts. He made one for 52, another from 40+ and one short range one. That consistency is what Broncos coaches and fans were hoping to see from the young kicker.
What really made McManus's night even better was his kickoffs. He was the only kicker to hold the Seahawks return men to a touchback. The Broncos are looking for a kicker who can kick field goals and kickoff. Stay tuned for this kicking battle.
The backup offensive line:
Watching the backup offensive line for any team in the preseason is usually ugly, but man the Broncos backup offensive line really sucked last night.
Fan favorite Ben Garland was outmatched and rag dolled multiple times last night. He did not look like an NFL player last night. Backup center Gino Gradkowski and backup guard Shelley Smith did not look very good either.
I cannot speak too much on the backup offensive tackles. I was mostly focusing on the interior guys. I did see Michael Schofield make a few good blocks, though.
That was probably the worse performance I have seen by a Broncos quarterback in a long time. He didn't last long out there last night. He went 2 for 5 for 14 yards, but that state line didn't tell you how bad Dysert looked.
He had an interception negated because the cornerback couldn't hang onto it, and an ugly fumble called incomplete because his arm was going forward. He looked uncomfortable, inaccurate, and just bad last night.
Having Trevor Siemian perform the way he did after coming in for Dysert doesn't bode well for him.
Barth didn't do anything awful last night. He went 2 for 2 in field goal attempts and showed improved leg strength when kicking off.
The issue here was his kickoffs. They had zero hang time and were just line drives. This lead to the Seahawks return men to have an opportunity against the Broncos return team.
The Broncos have been saying they want a kicker who can kick off and kick field goals, and Barth hasn't shown he can be a consistent kick off guy for the Broncos. McManus showed improved consistency in the kicking game last night so this battle is far from over.
Kick and punt return guys:
Patton fumbled, Norwood fumbled, and neither of them had a good return last night. It was a disappointing showing from these two guys who have been having good camps thus far.
Their return skills are what were supposed to help them make the roster, but neither showed that last night.
Norwood showed he could help out in the passing game, so it wasn't all bad for him. Patton will need some big time plays going forward if he wants to make the team.
He saw zero action on offense, and only showed up late in the game on special teams.
He seemed to be having a good Training Camp so I was surprised to not see him last night. It's hard for a young player to make the roster if he is not on the field during the Preseason.