Three down, two to go.
Vic Fangio and Joe Flacco made their home debuts for the Denver Broncos ... at least in the preseason. On a side note, seeing Flacco in Broncos orange at Broncos Stadium at Mile High was a weird sight but it wore off quickly.
In terms of the 24-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night, there was some that should encourage the Broncos and Broncos Country. There was some that could cause concern. As Adam Malnati and I discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast (ApplePodcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher), the biggest takeaway is we’re now closer to Sept. 9th and the opener against the Oakland Raiders.
Now for the winners and losers from Monday’s game. As always, I’m bound to miss someone, so please put them in comments.
The fact Denver’s receiver was on the field at all on Monday was impressive. The fact Sanders looked like he has all through training camp is a testament to how hard he’s worked. He didn’t look as if he’s missed a beat since tearing his Achilles in December and then having ankle surgery. I have wanted to see Flacco and the Broncos offense with Sanders in the mix because he adds a whole new element. We saw glimpses of that on Monday and it should excite the team and fans.
“I think off the field — I love Joe,” Sanders told the media after the game. “The conversations we have, the laughter we have and the chemistry we have is amazing. I think that’s going to translate on the field as well, and it has. (Monday), we went 2-for-2 and I only played like 15 plays. If the holding call would’ve never happened, I’d have had like 55 yards in two plays. I feel like the chemistry is there, and I feel like we’ve still got three weeks to keep getting better, keep growing and him getting used to my speed. As far as practicing, we’ve had chemistry there as well. It’s going to continue to get better.”
In terms of coming back from the injuries:
“I almost started crying in the tunnel,” Sanders said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to be proud of yourself and how you handle certain situations. In that moment, I was proud of myself and happy that I was back on the team.”
The second-year edge rusher is going to have a monster year for Denver. Holy smokes. Chubb completely wrecked Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense and he played one quarter. But in that time, good grief. Chubb finished with three tackles, one sack and one quarterback hit. We had hopes of what Chubb and Von Miller would like in Fangio’s defense, if Monday is any indication, this is going to be special. It’s also another excuse to get the Orange Rush shirt from our partners at BreakingT (if you haven’t already).
Sheesh, @astronaut— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 20, 2019
(via @thecheckdown) pic.twitter.com/7PeL3ZWUjn
Not only did Chubb wreck the 49ers offense, Harris did too. He finished with two tackles and two passes defended. If the Broncos are able to get a consistent interior pass rush, watch out.
A big question coming into training camp for Denver was its secondary. With how Yiadom and De’Vante Bausby have played, the depth at cornerback is now a strength. Yiadom had an interception on Monday and Bausy almost had a pick. When Bryce Callahan gets back on the field, the Broncos are four deep at cornerback. In regards to Callahan, Mike Klis said the status of his foot isn’t serious.
This has nothing to do with play on the field. If we’re honest, the rookie left guard struggled on Monday. This is about what happened before the game when Risner walked into the stadium for his first game as a member of the Broncos. You could tell how much the moment meant to him.
.@Dalton_Risner66 checking out #Broncos Stadium before his first game on his field of dreams. He’s representing his hometown of Wiggins, CO by wearing a cowboy hat and boots- “I don’t see any farmers hanging around the fence.” #9Sports pic.twitter.com/3xxJUdd8Td— 9NEWS Sports Denver (@9NEWSSports) August 19, 2019
The positive is, by all accounts, Bolles has had a great camp. The preseason is all about teachable moments, and the holding penalty that negated a huge Flacco completion to Sanders is one of those. As Matt McChesney highlighted on Twitter, this is fixable for Bolles. And the even better news is the coaches are in place to make that happen.
72 set pattern is fixable, he’s gotta want to fix it! Can’t help the LT in slide protection as much as #Broncos do! So much of the O success will be determined by the consistency or inconsistency of 72! Def a #Top6 candidate in reg season! #BroncosCountry @BSNBroncos @BSNDenver pic.twitter.com/G1zWNxc7gQ— McChesney Unchained BSN (@BSNUnChained) August 20, 2019
I get that coaches like Fangio love preseason football. It serves as another way to evaluate your players and what you have on your roster. But can we please add a running clock? Not even a full game, it would work for just the second half. I’ve wanted this for years, and seeing Kyle Fredrickson tweet about it confirmed my thoughts.
Given this has been an issue throughout the preseason, I cannot put “special” in the front of “teams.” So for now, it’s just teams. What should ease some concerns, and I believe it was Shasta who said it, is most of the guys playing there won’t come the regular season. But this is definitely the biggest cause for unease right now in regards to the Broncos.