clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Broncos at Bills: The No Bull Preseason Review

The Denver Broncos got absolutely dumpstered by the Buffalo Bills. Here are my thoughts, opinions, and analysis on the Denver Broncos’ jog-through.

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

I get it. This is the preseason and it doesn’t matter. I get it that the Buffalo Bills were starting a traditional rotation of starters through scrubs while the Denver Broncos fielded a newer more “modern” player rotation.

And it may be the right thing. It may work out that we are a healthier team by the season’s end.

My only question is whether or not the coaching level is up to par with the rest of the NFL and that’s the part that worries me about this game.

I know that our lines both looked like hot garbage and that the backup guys sometimes look that way. But at some point you have to notice the utter lack of pass rush, the run game doing nothing, the protection breaking down on obvious passing situations. When you do, you can’t help but be a little concerned.

It may be nothing…if you treat a preseason game like the Broncos coaching staff treated this game, it is always going to look terrible.

But come week 1, the starters had better show up to play football at a much higher level than what we saw from our backups. If they don’t, we’ll all be wondering about just how far our coaches are from being ready for their new jobs.

I’m skipping my normal level of player review this week. I had all of two positive things to say about anyone in orange and blue that I saw on the field and about 20 notes about players slipping on the pee trickling down their legs instead of playing football. Whatever it was that we watched, it sure as hell doesn’t amount to anything I would call useful in understanding our team or our players.


The biggest theme I saw on defense was players playing very passive. The schemes we’re using may be zone based and as such require a certain level of read-then-react, but all game long I was seeing players waiting for the ball to come out before moving on players that were obviously headed into their zone with no other responsibilities around and just letting gains happen. It wasn’t just one or two guys, either. It was rampant at multiple levels of the field.

Add to that how we were doing the same thing in concept against the Bills’ run game. Wait to see where the ball goes and then head that way.

Maybe I’m just too big of a fan of Wade Philips, but where are our guys attacking the gaps to shut the runs down? Giving up 7.7ypc is a quick way to 0-17 in the NFL.

The biggest thing that concerns me as a fan is that the backups didn’t look like a bunch of guys that were just outclassed by better players. They looked like a bunch of guys that didn’t know what to do or when to do it.


The run game looked pathetic. The pass game looked pathetic. I’m sure Hackett is just “keeping things vanilla” because it is the preseason. That’s fine. Do that. But again, come week 1, we’d better see a hell of a lot more than 1.9 ypc on the ground and 15 points. Any team we’ve had in the past 6 years is more than capable of that kind of performance.

Special Teams

I’ve liked what I’ve seen from the return game so far this preseason. We seem to have more than one option back there that can catch the ball and take smart angles in order to give us plus yardage on returns.

The kicking games were very good on both sides of the equation with solid distance and hang time on punts, and consistent field goal kicks.

Final Thoughts

This new coaching staff does deserve patience. As I’ve stated before, this season may be bumpy. I know tons of people have been singing the hype, but we have 1st time coaches at all levels of play in very important roles on this team. For many of them, this season will be their crucible.

Things really could go any way at this point… 5-0, 0-5 starts are all in the realms of possibility. I just know as a fan of this team, I sure do hope that week one looks much better than the atrocity we witnessed on Saturday.