The Denver Broncos manhandled the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night; creating five turnovers en route to an impressive 33-14 victory. So many things came into complete clarity in this game, which should make for a fairly predictable third preseason game next week.
Here are five things we learned from last night.
1. 2017 is Trevor Siemian’s
There has been much debate about quarterbacks on this site over the last six months. I have personally been heavily critical of both - to the point where I felt this team would need to be aggressive in 2018 to solve this quarterback problem.
However, if Trevor Siemian plays as aggressive and as confident as he against the 49ers this team is going places in 2017. It was surreal for me as I watched Paxton Lynch play the kind of game last night that had frustrated me all last season about Siemain. Then to have Siemian come out and play the kind of game I thought was Paxton’s strength.
It was a performance that shut my viewpoint down hard and I won’t forget that.
We saw this kind of breakout game from Siemian a few times last year too, but then he would revert back to “safe Trevor” for multiple games in a row. That worry is still there, so I am really anxious to see him come out and ball out next week.
“Trevor, he was solid,” head coach Vance Joseph said of Siemian. “He was Trevor. He made good decisions. His ball placement was on point tonight. You know, he controlled the huddle, so I was pleased with Trevor.”
2. Paxton Lynch might be a bust
I am not quite ready to remove the word “might” from a sentence containing the words “Paxton Lynch” and “bust”, but it is clear he is a broken quarterback two offseasons into his career.
You can tell he has zero confidence out there and a quarterback without confidence is a quarterback who should not be playing in any games.
Lynch came out of college with experts universally noting he was a 2-3 year project. It looks like they were right as Lynch will not be competing for a starting job again until Year 3 and if the switch hasn’t flipped yet it may never flip.
John Elway brought in a star-studded staff in Mike McCoy and Bill Musgrave, which was for Lynch more than anything. And two games into the preseason, Lynch looks like the same quarterback he did last year during the Jacksonville Jaguars game.
Not a good sign.
3. De’Angelo Henderson is going to make some waves
Jamaal Charles is likely going to be cut in a few weeks in part because both De’Angelo Henderson and Stevan Ridley have looked so good in games. Henderson in particular has been dominant out there.
“I’m definitely getting comfortable out there,” said Henderson of his play. “The guys do a great job in helping me to get prepared, making sure that I am doing what I need to do to put myself in the best situation.”
He has a nose for finding the hold and the burst to explode through it for big gains. At this point, I would prefer to see him out there spelling C.J. Anderson than any other running back on the roster.
4. Hail to the Defense
It didn’t matter which unit was on the field, the Broncos defense played a dominant game. They gave up just 243 total yards, including a paltry 37 yards rushing. The defense also generated four of the teams five total turnovers, setting the offense up with short fields that they capitalized on.
With the Broncos running game seemingly on the rise, Siemian will have a much better down and distance to work with on offense. These things should lead to a lot more scoring for the Broncos, which means the defense will have the upper hand in games.
All of this means we could be seeing a convergence of factors that could lead to a serious playoff run. Yes, I know it’s only one game, but this is exactly what we hoped we would see from this team in 2017.
5. Special Teams concerns
It was not a good night for the Broncos special teams unit. First they gave up a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, then they were riddled with penalties. Just a sloppy, sloppy game for the Broncos special teams unit. This is something they must clean up before Week 1.
At least its preseason and this was pretty funny.