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Playing Broncos starters vs. Cardinals was the right call

It’s good to know when additional work needs to be done.

Denver Broncos v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It’s been a few days since the Broncos took the field in Arizona for their first preseason tilt of the 2023 season. While many starters on the offensive side of the ball did not play, most notably Mike McGlinchey (injury) and Javonte Williams (coaches decision), much was learned from the first-team offense during their not-so-limited play in Friday’s game.

In 2022, Nathaniel Hackett chose to sit Broncos starters for the regular season. It wasn’t until week 1 that Broncos Country got their first look at Russell Wilson and the offense that would struggle to gain yards, score points, or do anything but thoroughly embarrass themselves during the season.

On Friday, the Broncos offense just could not get it started in the game. Of course, being a preseason game, not much was expected... but less was delivered through most of the first half. It wasn’t good enough for the fans and, thankfully, it wasn’t good enough for Sean Payton. For a unit that had only been slated to play a couple-few series, their lackluster performance prompted encore after encore until they produced the kind of offensive production they’ll need during the season.

What we saw for the first time in a long time was a defined level of play that would be expected from the 2023 Broncos.

Hackett’s 2022 Broncos were a total surprise. There was no indication as to just how disorganized things were. While I’m sure there was an expected level of play, because there no starters played in the preseason, that expectation was just words. When the season began, those empty words gave way to incompetence and Denver had no chance.

With Sean Payton, leaving the starters in demonstrated what’s to be expected of the team going into the season and beyond. Actions over words.

I like it.


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