clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

MHR Live: Training Camp battles - Broncos at Bears

New, comments

There's a lot to watch, talk about tonight.

Let us say you are the chief executive officer of your company (and maybe you are) or maybe a tiny bit lower - general manager. You have three employees up for the same job - one has experience and a somewhat overstated track record of success; one went to a good college where he had to at least be smart enough to be accepted despite a lackluster performance, but you took a shot anyway and you believe in him, maybe even see a bit of yourself in him; and one candidate is brand new to the company, came with some major risk that you believe is paying off because he's learning quick and finishes his days off better than he starts.The other two seem to start strong and die out sometime around lunch.

You've got a big presentation coming up and you've chose the one with the track record to start it off, followed by the one that you can identify most with and then finish off the presentation with the third, giving him double the time you're allowing the other two.

In other words, you're Gary Kubiak and you have to figure out how to best use Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch to get the job done and determine who can best lead the charge moving forward.

Camp Battles:

Quarterback:

I am not going to do that for every position, but I don't see it as a mistake that Lynch, not Siemian, is getting the second half. Last season it seemed to be Brock Osweiler getting most of the time in the preseason and that was largely due to Peyton Manning being given time to rest and recuperate.

Siemian participated in three of four preseason games last season, attempted 40 passes (completing 24, 57.5%) and in his most extensive play (vs. the Arizona Cardinals) had 24 attempts with 11 completions (45.8%), a touchdown, an interception, and he was sacked three times for a total loss of 34 yards. Siemian's average completion was 4.3 yards against Arizona in the fourth game of the preseason. To further that perspective, let's look at Siemian's first game of last season when he went 5 of 6 for 90 yards and averaged 15 yards per pass.

What you will see - Siemian holds on to the ball too long to make decisions; Sanchez occasionally makes detrimental decisions; and Lynch is a gamer.

That's what history says will happen.

Tonight's Broncos game against the Chicago Bears will see Siemian start hot and get pulled before he has a chance to deflate. Not to be outdone, Sanchez will have previously started out hot and he would have been pulled before he has a chance to cool down. Then there will be Lynch, who if training camp is any indicator, will start with a mistake before finishing nearly perfect.

What you will see in all likelihood are things the media has not been telling you - Siemian holds on to the ball too long to make decisions; Sanchez occasionally makes decisions that are detrimental to the game; and Lynch is a gamer.

Running Back:

Devontae Booker is the real deal, the most complete third down running back on the team. He can cut, he can power, he can catch the ball as well as anyone out of the backfield. However, you're going to see Ronnie Hillman first. I do not have any indicator of a playing time split, but I feel safe in assuming that you're going to see Hillman until he is no longer effective - and then see Booker.

The man coming for Hillman's spot is not Booker, but rather Kapri Bibbs, who has had his best training camp in the last three seasons. That's actually saying a lot, because despite the fact that Bibbs was successfully hidden away during the preseason in 2015 (six rushing attempts), in 2014 he had seven rushing attempts and three touchdowns. The man has clearly not been unleashed because he is a threat to the integrity of whatever defense he is playing.

Wide Receiver:

You guys (or at least Laurie and Scotty) want to hear about Jordan Taylor ('Sunshine'), but I have to tell you about Cody Latimer who will see extended time tonight, according to DenverBroncos.com's Andrew Mason. In an ode to veterans - as we have seen Gary Kubiak do to three squads so far (Sanchez starting, Hillman playing second team, and now Latimer) - Latimer should play the Bears as essentially WR3. He should see time with at least two of the three quarterbacks.

Where you're likely to see sparks is if Taylor makes it to the second half and is allowed to play receiver with Lynch as the quarterback. Make no mistake, Denver is loaded with talent at receiver and in their secondary at every single level, but I expect Taylor to emerge either today or next week. In my opinion, Taylor's ho-hum training camp can be largely blamed on the quarterback that he is most often matched up with in training camp.

Beyond Latimer and Taylor there is, of course, Bennie Fowler and Jordan Norwood, Fowler is essentially listed as the starting slot receiver on the current depth chart and deserves to be there. Norwood is questionably listed behind Latimer currently. So, it's hard to say what is what and who is who.

Veteran DeVier Posey has developed at least some level of rapport with Siemian and that could pay off. College free agents Kalif Raymond (who will be given the majority of the return duties against Chicago), Bralon Addison (another hopeful at returner) and Durron Neal should all shine if given the opportunity matched up with Lynch. I don't mean to not address Mose Frazier (who played with Lynch at Memphis), because he has also had an outstanding camp.

Tight End

Jeff Heuerman has been good enough in only a handful of camp days to be currently listed as co-starter with Virgil Green and fans will get to see why this evening. He is as good as advertised. Garrett Graham has been all over the practice field, but I wouldn't quite consider him the security blanket to any quarterback in the way that college free agent Henry Krieger-Coble is to Lynch.

Krieger-Coble right now gets my bet for college free agent most likely to make the 53-man roster.

Offensive Line

In Denver, it's called offensive for a reason and even the 1st team offense is going to be without an anchor and in no man's land when it comes to right guard. Starting at right guard with me Darrion Weems, listed ahead of him at right guard on the roster are both Ty Sambrailo and Michael Schofield.

Hopefully, that gives a good indication of where the offensive line is currently. Schofield will start at tackle and beyond that it gets even rougher. A good game for Weems, nay, an exceptional game from Weems could very well give him the starting spot at right guard and push Schofield and Sambrailo out to backup tackle status.

Defensive Line

Derek Wolfe is gigantic and Vance Walker is aptly filling in the depth chart spot that left with Malik Jackson. What you probably won't see is a lot of Adam Gotsis, what you will likely see is a lot of Jared Crick. At nose tackle, keep an eye on Darius Kilgo who has been impressive dating back to OTAs.

Outside Linebacker

This is one of my favorite battles in camp, because it pits 1st rounder Shane Ray against college free agent Shaquil Barrett. It is of this writer's opinion that Barrett is winning the race through two weeks of training camp. Another guy to keep an eye on here is Sadat Sulleyman, a player maker out of Portland State.

Inside Linebacker

Brandon Marshall looks even better this season, but Todd Davis is on fire. It's hard to assume that fans will get too much exposure to either of these guys as they're both starting the season at inside linebacker and there is no need to risk injury. Nearly equally as threatening as Davis at inside linebacker is Corey Nelson who should see extended time with Zaire Anderson (my 2015 Training Camp Defensive MVP), Anderson's fighting for a roster spot, not wanting to spend another year on the practice squad.

Dekoda Watson, Dwayne Norman, Frank Shannon could also be in the mix in the 2nd half. Watson hasn't been specifically designated as an inside or outside linebacker and Darnell Sankey falls into that same category.

Cornerbacks

The talent here is overwhelming, enough to ease any fan worry about the absence of Aqib Talib. Kayvon Webster has been a true revelation, not just on special teams, but also at cornerback. Next to him you have 2nd year veteran Lorenzo Doss who has benefitted from covering Demaryius Thomas most of camp. Taurean Nixon will be a fun guy to watch in the 2nd half as he's turned in a great training camp so far too, B.J. Lowery and John Tidwell could also make big plays in the 2nd half.

Safeties

The man of camp is Justin Simmons, who seems to legitimately be the guy. With that being the case, the Broncos coaching staff may choose to focus more on guys like Antonio Glover and Will Parks. To me Brandian Ross has been one of the biggest stand-outs in camp and fans will probably witness that this evening.