The Denver Broncos topped the Los Angeles Ram 17-9 as the defense held another team to zero touchdowns in the preseason. Though Trevor Siemian appears to be the clear starter now, it was the players on the bubble who had a chance to shine last night.
The first to do so was outside linebacker Dekoda Watson with an impressive 2.5 sacks on the night.
"He did well," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "We got after the quarterback pretty well. I think all phases we rushed the quarterback pretty well. For a third preseason game, this is a really good game. It was physical, they were really physical up front offensively and defensively. Me and [Rams Head Coach] Jeff [Fisher] were talking after the game, for a third preseason game, it was a really good football game."
Watson knows where he is at on the roster and is making his case not only to the Broncos, but to the entire NFL with his play.
"Commitment, if anything," Watson said of what he’s shown through three preseason games. "Just showing that whatever the circumstances are, running down or doing stuff on field goal block, whatever the case is, I’m able to contribute. I’m committed to put my best foot forward, whatever the case is. A lot of older guys come in thinking that they shouldn’t have to play special teams, but I love it personally. For me, not only playing on special teams, but actually playing on defense, it’s a phenomenal opportunity and I’m trying to make the most out of it."
He attributed his success this offseason to Wade Phillips’ scheme where he just gets to play ball.
"Just being able to go without thinking," Watson said of his experience in Denver. "There have been a lot of teams where I have to think. I’ve been waiting and wishing for an opportunity, like, Why can’t I be just like [OLB] Von [Miller]. I remember being in Tampa and thinking, why can’t you let me go? Von goes. He doesn’t have to think. He just goes. When can I have that opportunity? I never got there. Now that I’m here and they’re telling me that I can go, it’s lovely."
Then there was Ronnie Hillman who finished the night with several big runs on his way to five carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. A 9.0 yard per carry effort is exactly what he needed.
"Ronnie has played well the last two weeks," Kubiak said of Hillman’s performance. "Ronnie is in a battle, I think everybody knows that. [RB] Kapri [Bibbs] has done some good things and Ronnie has responded as a player the last two weeks. That’s what you’re looking for. I’m very proud of him, he did some good stuff tonight."
The Broncos could certainly use a speedster on the roster, though he will likely fall in line behind both C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker at this point. Hillman certainly beat out Kapri Bibbs who had five carries for just 11 yards against the Rams.
The Denver Post is already calling Trevor Siemian the heir to Peyton Manning. The legend grows.
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