In this preseason of quarterback controversies and concerns over the offensive line, it is easy to miss the Denver Broncos that give fans reasons to smile. There have been a few players that have been unexpected bright spots. Ian St. Clair and I were more than a little excited about a couple players on the Mile High Report Radio podcast.
The season is still a couple weeks away, and the fourth preseason game is nothing to get too ramped up for. However, some of the most enjoyable aspects of the preseason have been watching the unexpected players make impact plays. Jamal Carter is the perfect example.
With the No Fly Zone remaining the most consistent aspect of the team, Carter has seemingly put the Broncos in a strange position. As an undrafted college free agent, he has definitely impressed during the preseason. Not to say Carter’s play has made T.J. Ward expendable, but his 12 tackles and one fumble recovery in two games has piqued the interest of several fans.
Justin Simmons would be the likely replacement for Ward, but Carter’s play has put Denver in a bit of a roster pickle. Are they really going to carry five safeties? Unlikely, and if they want to keep Carter, Ward may be worth trading.
Continuing the defensive surprises, Shelby Harris has been an enjoyable addition on the defensive line. Helped by some injuries on the line, Harris has taken advantage of his opportunities. He has been a pressure machine for Denver. At the end of the Green Bay game he was put back in to help put a stop to the Packers bid to put points on the board.
No defender in the NFL registered more pressures this week than 49ers Aaron Lynch pic.twitter.com/1RB4L85KMf— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 29, 2017
Harris ranked second in QB pressures in the third week of the preseason. With two fumble recoveries against the San Francisco 49ers, and 9 tackles to go with his disruptive play, Harris has more than earned a spot on the 53 man roster.
“Shelby’s been solid, from OTAs to training camp to the last three games. He’s played really well. He had two turnovers last week in San Fran and two sacks tonight, so Shelby is an ascending player right now.” - Vance Joseph
On the offensive side of the ball there are still questions to be answered. However, the Broncos running back situation seems to be coming together nicely. It isn’t perfect, but Broncos Country has a few reasons to smile.
Let’s give De’angelo Henderson his due. There have been some fumble concerns, and rookies will struggle with ball control. That being said, watching him run is like watching a ball shot out of a canon. While there is definitely room for improvement, if he can figure out how to hang onto the football, he can have a huge impact.
De'Angelo Henderson has enjoyed an outstanding summer, to be certain, but two fumbles tonight are big-time teachable moments.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 27, 2017
Finally, Jamaal Charles solidified his spot on the roster in just one game. He was the big question mark in the preseason. His knee was an unknown. How would he react to actual game play?
I’d say he had a pretty emphatic answer. He immediately looked like the Jamaal Charles of old. He was quick to the hole, had no trouble making cuts, and that block.
It was the block that showed he was more than ready to return to the field. After the way he played against Green Bay, there was no way he could be left off the final roster.
Broncos fans have more than a little to be excited about heading into the regular season. With some preseason surprises, there should be some regular season fun to be had.
So, Broncos Country, what surprised you during the preseason? What are you looking forward to in the regular season?