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Marvin Mims and Drew Sanders need more playing time

The Denver Broncos need some juice on offense and defense. How about finding larger roles for rookies Marvin Mims and Drew Sanders?

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

Good morning, Broncos Country.

Prospect development isn’t the same for every player looking to make themselves in the National Football League. Some rookies take longer than others to find their way—if they ever find their way at all.

The best prospects demonstrate their game-changing ability early on, while others take a few years to hit their stride. After their Week 1 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, it’s clear the Denver Broncos were missing two key elements—explosive plays on offense and generating pressure on defense.

Didn’t the Broncos spend Day 2 draft capital on prospects who could fill those roles for the team? They sure did. So why not utilize them more?

With their first selection of the 2023 NFL Draft, they moved up into the second round to select Marvin Mims. He was a big-time playmaker for the Oklahoma Sooners and one of the best receiver prospects in the entire draft. A deep threat with speed to burn? Yep. The ability to create yards after the catch? You bet.

With the amount of injuries the Broncos have to players at wide receiver and tight end, you would think Sean Payton and his staff would have drawn up more plays to get the young receiver involved on offense. Unfortunately, he saw only 27% of the team’s offensive snaps in their loss to the Raiders and had just two targets that he caught for a total of nine yards.

Here’s a novel idea, find ways to get the ball in his hands and give him a larger role offensively than a quarter of the snaps. Is Broncos Country really content with him getting a few looks a game? I certainly doubt it. I want to see him get a lot more looks this weekend than we saw last Sunday. Take some deep shots, get him the ball quick and let him make plays in space. He has that capability and the Broncos should make use of it.

Defensively, the Broncos got lucky and had Drew Sanders fall to their laps in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He performed well throughout camp and shined during the preseason but didn’t register a single snap on defense and was relegated to special teams duty in Week 1.

Coach Payton was asked about this after the Broncos’ loss and stated Sanders needed to “trust the coaches” and that they would be looking at their personnel to “find ways” for their players to help them.

You know where the Broncos need help? Getting after opposing quarterbacks. Their defensive line and edge rushers didn’t get that done last Sunday. But guess what? That’s something Sanders did quite well in college, whether it was coming off the edge or as a blitzer playing off-ball linebacker.

So why not give him a shot? Is it really hard to make adjustments and give him a dozen snaps or so on defense a game to try and make an impact? Rookies get better with more playing time. And the more plays they make, the more confidence they get—something Payton had alluded to numerous times throughout the offseason.

These two players can help make a positive difference for the team, but the only way that happens is if they see the field. Let’s hope the coaches find a way to integrate them adequately into their game plans for this weekend’s battle against the Washington Commanders.

As always, thank you for reading. Here are a handful of stories for today’s edition of Horse Tracks.

[P.S — If you haven’t already, give my Thursday morning Horse Track’s podcast a listen embedded above. I’ll touch on this topic and several others leading up to Sunday’s game.]

Broncos News & Tidbits

Mile High Morning: CB Pat Surtain II makes Good Morning Football’s list of top defensive backs from Week 1
Surtain was one of five defensive backs highlighted by longtime cornerback Jason McCourty.

Denver Broncos High School Football Coach of the Week: Simla’s David Guy
Colorado High School Activities Association profiles and interviews David Guy, who was the Broncos’ High School Football Coach of the Week.

Washington Commanders vs. Denver Broncos: Week 2 Odds, Lines, Picks & Best Bets
The Broncos are -185 moneyline betting favorites.

Russell Wilson believes big plays are coming for Broncos, explains why
The Denver Broncos opened their season with an offensive day some may say was good and others may say was bad, here’s Russell Wilson’s take

Jerry Jeudy once presented his mother with a special $1,000,000 house on her birthday
One of the perks of being an NFL player is not only the fame that has come Jerry Jeudy’s way, but also the money that comes with it.

Broncos’ Justin Simmons not expecting fine for Jimmy Garoppolo hit
Broncos safety Justin Simmons doesn’t think he should be fined for hit on Las Vegas QB Jimmy Garoppolo in last Sunday’s loss to Las Vegas.

NFL News & Tidbits

Deion Sanders has no interest in coaching at NFL level, Joel Klatt says
Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt said Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders, who has his team off to a 2-0 start, "doesn’t want to coach in the NFL."

Death of the long pass: Are vertical plays trending toward extinction?
While NFL passing offenses remain prolific, the actual length and distance of attempts is trending down. Why? One-year blip or broader trend?

Prisco's Week 2 NFL picks: Jaguars win thriller and drop Chiefs to 0-2, Patriots slow down explosive Dolphins
Pete Prisco reveals all his Week 2 picks, including the Bills bouncing back in a big way.

Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield decoded Minnesota's defense in Week 1 comeback win
Baker Mayfield's game turned almost instantly Sunday in Minneapolis. One of his teammates offered a good reason for the shift Wednesday.

Aaron Rodgers 'heartbroken' after season-ending Achilles injury, vows return: 'I shall rise yet again'
It sounds like Rodgers will be coming back in 2024.