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In Focus: Broncos receivers and fullbacks graded out well against Rams

PFF gives their thoughts on last night's preseason game vs. the L.A. Rams.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus gave their grades and takeaways from the Broncos 17-9 victory over the L.A. Rams last night.

Grading out well was the Broncos fullbacks, wide receivers, and the Broncos starting right tackle, but there are some concerns about the quarterbacks.


Here are the grades that PFF gave to Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch: Trevor Siemian, 44.7; Paxton Lynch, 59.7

Despite having a better day on the stat sheet and scoring a touchdown, Pro Football Focus gave the rookie quarterback a higher grade(still not a very good one) and have some concerns about Siemian despite saying he's the likely starter.

With his competitor Mark Sanchez not playing a single snap in the dress-rehearsal game, the job of starting quarterback seemingly belongs to Trevor Siemian. While he did throw his first touchdown pass of the preseason, Siemian was far from good in Saturday’s outing. He had a handful of misfires, and under-threw his receiver on his lone interception. He also got away with a terrible throw late in the first half that bounced right off a defender’s hands. Siemian frequently checked down even when he didn’t necessarily have to, as he averaged just 5.4 yards per attempt when not under pressure.

No one is debating that Siemian is the starter, but his play last night was not all that good as PFF states above. He had some accuracy issues, checked down some again, and was lucky to leave with just one interception(though that one probably shouldn't have counted). This play from your likely starting quarterback should be concerning for all Broncos fans.

Hopefully, Siemian will fair better against the Carolina Panthers in a few weeks. They have a defense similar to the Rams who gave the Broncos offense fits Saturday night.

Juwan and Janovich impress

The fullback is making a comeback to the Denver Broncos offense this year and the Broncos have two very good options available for them. Both Juwan Thompson and rookie Andy Janovich received high grades from PFF.

Janovich earned the highest grade on offense with an 87.3 and Thompson had the second-highest grade with 75.4.

Both players seem like locks to make the roster, but how serious Janovich's shoulder injury is could be an issue.

Juwan is likely the Broncos third string running back and subbing in at fullback at times as well. His play on special teams and versatility at running back and fullback makes him a lock to make the team as well. A solid showing in the preseason only helps his case even more.

DT and Sanders could carry the offense

Behind the fullbacks, starting wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders were the next two highest graded offensive players for the Broncos. Sanders received a 73.8 grade while Thomas received a 73.7 grade from PFF.

The Broncos’ WR duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are easily one of the best receiving pairs in the NFL, and they showed why last night. They were targeted 12 times (only eight were catchable) and finished with seven receptions combined for 108 yards. All three of Sanders’ catches went for first downs, and two of those he caught behind the sticks and had to work to move the chains. Thomas’ incredibly casual one-handed catch while being interfered with by Rams CB Marcus Robertson was a reminder of how easy he can make catching the football look. If these two play like this all season, they should be able to bail Siemian out more often than not.

Thomas looked like his usual dominant self by bringing in an excellent one-handed snag and made it look very easy. He was even being interfered by the Rams cornerback, so it makes the play even more impressive. This was Trevor Siemian's best pass of the preseason as well.

Emmanuel Sanders was his usual self last night. Tough as nails, explosive, and the playmaker we all have grown to love.

If the Broncos and Trevor Siemian want to have any success in 2016, these two will need to be big time playmakers for the Broncos offense.

Broncos pass rush remains elite

This should come as no surprise, but the Broncos edge rushing unit remains elite and by the far the best in the NFL. Three Broncos edge rushers were in the top five highest graded Broncos defensive players from last night's game. Those players being Shaquil Barrett(84.4), Dakoda Watson(84.4) and Von Miller(81.6). The other two players were Kayvon Webster(88.8) and T.J. Ward(81.1).

Von Miller looked to be in midseason form last night.

Denver’s pass-rushing ability was on display in full force against the Rams last night. It seemed as though they were in the backfield every single snap; the Broncos pressured the Rams quarterbacks on 21 of 44 dropbacks, and five of those resulted in sacks. Von Miller was as strong as expected, notching one sack, one hit, and two hurries on the night. But it was reserve edge defender Dekoda Watson who stole the show, recording three sacks, a QB hurry, and an additional play in which he beat his man rushing the passer—all in just 14 pass rushes. Overall, Denver’s defenders combined for six sacks, three hits, and 20 additional hurries on the night.

The dominance of the Broncos edge rushers carried over into the preseason. They totaled 6 sacks, 3 hits, and 20 hurries during last night's game. This unit is just fun to watch.

If the Broncos want to have the same type of success they had last season they will need this sort of play from the group all season.