For a preseason game, this one sure was a lot of fun, and it’s going to be a joy to grind back through every snap with fresh coffee and little to no sleep. In the meantime, here are the Broncos who jumped off the first viewing for me.
Anyone with eyes could see the Broncos 2nd rounder looked miles ahead of when he gave way to Brett Rypien in the Hall of Fame game last week. His footwork and poise were the two big things that impressed me. He had his fair share of rookie moments, but this looked a lot closer to the performance you hope to see out of a potential franchise guy.
Royce Freeman’s carry on the first drive of the game is the kind of explosive play you pray for in a limited series. He’s definitely left his bum wheel back in 2018 and showed off the top end speed that could make him a freight train in the secondary this year.
Overlooked on the play was the block by Dalton Risner, who straight up owned his assignment to make a runway for Freeman to rip off the 50-yard jaunt.
Bausby’s quietly had CB4 locked up for awhile now, but he sure made Fangio look smart tonight. Filling in for Bryce Callahan, the AAF’s interception leader played on the boundary while Chris Harris Jr. started the game inside. He looked rock solid from all I could see on the broadcast cam.
Noteworthy that Bausby's playing with the ones in place of Callahan who's out tonight.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) August 9, 2019
I'd write the AAF star down as CB4. pic.twitter.com/dSfujszuau
Another guy who’s sort of quietly locked up a roster spot. Reed has been a menace for opposing blockers so far this preseason. He’s undersized, but I’d be pretty surprised if the coaching staff didn’t find a way to keep him on the 53 for Oakland.
He hasn’t been anywhere near as flashy as some of the names higher on this list, but I continue to be impressed with the 2019 5th round pick as he becomes acclimated to not one, but two roles on the Broncos D. He had a heavy workload in the first half at linebacker before shifting to edge in the second. I look forward to studying his game at length.
One of the big questions that has hung around Holland is how Reed’s performance impacts his chances at making the roster. Holland is every bit as undersized as Reed is, but unlike the rookie from Nevada Holland doesn’t bring the same kind of college tape to suggest you could count on him in coverage.
Back when I looked at his 2018 tape, I mentioned how he seems to lack the ankle flexion to really finish a ton of plays. Like Shaq Barrett before him, I suspect he’ll shine as the kind of edge rusher who can play tough on the run, chase down the ball, and pressure QBs. That has value, even if he can’t bring down the passer.
I just wonder if it’s enough to make the roster.
It was a quiet night for the 2019 3rd rounder. His biggest play was a crackback where he got grounded. No reason to panic, obviously. Better days ahead.
If the Broncos are looking for a speed guy who can tip toe the sidelines and contribute on special teams, Benson has to be under serious consideration.
1st team O’s red zone performance
This is a picking nits, but the blocking down near the goal line on the first drive of the game left a lot to be desired. Beyond that, a run-run-pass play sequence was underwhelming. Again, it’s August 8th, so not a huge reason to panic. It does stand out though.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s pretty difficult to truly evaluate cornerback play with just broadcast camera angles. With that in mind, what I could see from Yiadom certainly inspires confidence. Between his play last week, tonight, and reports out of camp it sure sounds like Yiadom’s headed for a breakout campaign.
The backup backers
Josh Watson bit inside on a first down run by Seattle’s Rashaad Penny. Joe Dineen’s range continues to be a concern. Kieshawn Bierra leaves a bit to be desired in pass coverage. Going to keep a close eye on this as I look back over the tape, but Broncos Country may want to send Get Well cards to Todd Davis, Josey Jewell, and Joseph Jones.
Devontae Jackson and Khalfani Muhammad
If Rich Scangarello and the Broncos coaching staff are looking to carry 4 running backs, nights like tonight make a pretty clear argument that Devontae Booker should remain under consideration.
Outside of the opening play, Booker looked solid as a runner. Beyond that, you know what to expect from him. He’s a solid receiver out of the backfield, an above average blocker, and a servicable runner. The biggest thing working against him is his contract.
Meanwhile, Devontae Jackson continues to look like the more natural runner in the new offensive system. It’s worth asking if this makes up for his so-so receiving performance to date. Khalfani Muhammad looks like the better receiver. Both look green as can be when asked to pass protect. Muhammad was at least partially responsible for Drew Lock’s safety, while Devontae Jackson missed a key block that led to the game sealing interception.
The refs did all they could to make a preseason game unwatchable.
I don't know about you, but I am shocked there's a flag on the play.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) August 9, 2019