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Instant reactions: Broncos endure series of ups
10-01-2019, 06:39 AM
Post: #1
200
Instant reactions: Broncos endure series of ups
and downs in loss to Vikings After seven months of waiting Denver Broncos Hats , the Denver Broncos finally returned to action in their preseason opener at home against the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, the end result wasn’t the outcome Broncos Country was hoping for — as our beloved franchise lost to the Vikings by a score of 42 to 28.I’ve changed up the format for Instant Reactions compared to prior seasons, so it will be a bit different from here on out. Without further adieu, here are some of my big takeaways and quick analysis from tonight’s preseason opener.Positive Outcomes and Reasons for OptimismI don’t care if it was against primarily third-string players, but Chad Kelly did enough to merit playing time with the team’s second-string unit moving forward. Dare I say I am more excited about his future with the team than I ever was at any point with Paxton Lynch? Well, I just did. Head Coach Vance Joseph called him a playmaker — and that’s exactly what he is.He didn’t play a perfect game, but his second half heroics brought the Broncos back into contention. He displayed moxie, poise in the pocket and the ability to get through his progressions in order to make a big play. However, he also made a handful of questionable decisions that personified the gunslinger mentality he earned in college. Overall, Kelly ended the night completing 14 out of 21 passes for 177 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Not too shabby for a player who was Mr. Irrelevant and hasn’t seen live game action in over a year and a half.Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons will most certainly be thee Broncos’ starters at safety for the upcoming season, but Will Parks had a quality game and played an enormous amount of snaps. The third-year pro made several great plays in coverage, as well as a timely third down sack on Trevor Siemian. It’s clear that Parks is playing with a chip on his shoulder after the franchise traded for S’ua Cravens this offseason. Look for the Broncos to employ a myriad of defensive packages that feature three safeties on the field in order to combat the weakness they showed last year defending tight ends and running backs. If Parks keeps impressing like this, he may very well earn that third safety role over Cravens.Causes for ConcernOne of the most glaring issues in the first half of the game was the Broncos’ inability to stop the Vikings’ offense. The Broncos gave up 269 yards and 24 points in the first half. Whether it was giving up too much yardage on the ground on first down (in particular the first-team defense) or getting gashed for touchdowns on screen plays — Denver’s lack of defensive discipline was alarming. On the night, the defense gave up 42 points and 406 total yards — which certainly needs to be improved upon if they want to be successful when it matters most.Folks, it’s only preseason football, but the fact that the Broncos’ offense only produced 61 yards and one first down in the first half is pathetic. Moreover, the offense’s inability to pass the ball early on is a significant issue. I’m not too worried about Case Keenum, but if anything were to happen to the prized free agent quarterback acquisition, the team would be in big trouble.Isaac Yiadom saw a lot of action in his first career game Denver Broncos Hoodie , but looks to be a ways away from being ready to compete at a high enough level to be Denver’s third cornerback. The rookie from Boston College was beat by Stefon Diggs for the first touchdown on third and goal in the first quarter and gave up a handful of first down receptions in his professional debut. Second-year player Brendan Langley performed a bit better and did a great job of keeping plays in front of him, but Broncos Country should collectively hope Tramaine Brock can get healthy and be the nickel corner the team desperately needs moving forward.Broncos StudsI’ve been heading the Royce Freeman bandwagon for several years now, and the rookie out of the University of Oregon didn’t disappoint tonight. In limited action, he displayed excellent vision and power — amassing 38 yards on 4 carries and a touchdown. Devontae Booker might be on the top of the depth chart now, but don’t be surprised if Freeman is the team’s primary back when they start the regular season.Isaiah McKenzie earns the stud designation after a 78 yard punt return for a touchdown as the first half came to a close. Critiqued for his penchant for fumbling and turnovers as a rookie, McKenzie has been impressive in camp and likely solidified himself a spot on the final roster with his special teams score this evening. One of the biggest issues the Broncos had last year was their woeful effort on special teams — so if tonight is any indication of future performance during the season, there is a reason to be hopeful for the unit in 2018.Broncos DudsI’m only going to list one dud, because this player stunk it up more than anyone else. I’m sure that line gave it away, but if it didn’t tonight’s ‘dud’ designation goes to Paxton Lynch. The third-year, former first-round pick struggled with his accuracy and was indecisive throughout the course of the game. You just had to know he was going to be in for a rough night when he threw an interception on his first pass attempt. If there was anything Lynch was consistent with, it was missing his receivers. Oddly enough, there is still a faction within Broncos Country who believes he can be the franchise’s future at quarterback. But let’s be honest — that is never going to happen. You can have all the physical tools in the world, but if you can’t mentally handle the rigors of the National Football League you aren’t ever going to be successful. I’ve seen enough and anyone who is a realist can firmly accept that he will never overcome that aspect of the game. Give up the fantasy that he is a starting quarterback in the league. Hell, he probably isn’t even good enough to be a backup. Hart’s Quick HitsRoyce Freeman was mentioned as a standout rookie above, but honorable mentions goes to Josey Jewell who accumulated five tackles and showed a nose for getting to the football in his professional debut. Undrafted free agent Jeff Holland also impressed, registered a sack and a handful of quarterback pressures.The Vikings dominated the time of possession battle by nearly 11 minutes.The Broncos struggled immensely with their red zone defense, allowing the Vikings to score four times out of four attempts in that regard.Denver’s third down performance was also below-average, converting only five times out of thirteen attempts.Marquette King saw a lot of action in his first game with the Broncos, punting the ball seven times and sporting a 45 yard per punt average. His longest punt of the evening was 62 yards.So Broncos Country, how are you feeling after tonight’s game? Sound off in the comments section and give us some of your studs Customized Denver Broncos Jerseys , duds and overall thoughts on the Broncos’ loss to the Vikings.Broncos vs. Redskins: 4 winners, 3 losers in Denver’s 29-17 win over Washington The Denver Broncos completely manhandled the Washington Redskins 29-17 during their regular season dress rehearsal on Friday night. The first and second team units smothered the Redskins passing attack and limited the damage on the ground for a 23-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.Given such domination, there were plenty of winners tonight, but I’ll focus on the four biggest winners and pick on three players who need to improve on their play in this game.Winner - Vance JosephTime for all you Vance Joseph haters to give credit where credit is due. He was roasted for losing games with the worst quarterback situation in the NFL last season, so why not give him some love for dominating an opponent in what is considered the dress rehearsal to the regular season.While Paxton Lynch was booed coming onto the field last week, it was Trevor Siemian’s turn to be booed by Minnesota Vikings fans this week after a horrific performance in his dress rehearsal as the backup quarterback there.Joseph now has talent at the most important position in the game and the team went out and shut down the Redskins on the road. I’ll take it! Loser - Brendan Langley and Isaac YiadomFor Brendan Langley, he came out of college a very raw cornerback and he still has a long ways to go. He struggled in coverage again this week, getting burned deep late in the game in what would lead to the Redskins first touchdown of the game.Both Langley and rookie Isaac Yiadom struggled in this game and it leaves the secondary a bit thin on depth. The Broncos won’t want to see either player on the field too much during the regular season.Winner - Phillip LindsayWhen you hit a home run on an undrafted college free agent, you just know it early on. Phillip Lindsay is going to be lightning in a bottle for the Broncos. He gets the added bonus of being a local, hometown hero, so I am sure Broncos Country is going to love this kid.It seemed like Lindsay was more featured in the backfield than Devontae Booker in that first half. It’s true that Lindsay finished with 5 carries for 31 yards compared to Booker’s 3 carries for 9 yards, but some of that came in the second half after the starters (Booker included) were on the bench.The fact is, however, that Freeman looks like your starter and Lindsay looks like your third down, change of pace back. Where exactly does that leave Booker in terms of carries or even on-the-field presence?Winner - Royce FreemanI think we can officially start drafting Royce Freeman much earlier in our fantasy leagues. He may not be the every down running back, but he is going to see plenty of red zone touches and he apparently has a nose for the end zone having scored in each of the Broncos three preseason games.This 24-yard burst up the middle was setup by Andy Janovich, but it was Freeman’s nifty footwork that got him through muck and into the end zone.Loser - Billy TurnerThere was one play in the third quarter that nearly got Chad Kelly killed. Somehow Kelly still got the ball out to De’Angelo Henderson who was then also subsequently nearly killed. That sequence of events rests entirely at the feet of Billy Turner who was completely owned on the play.The Broncos have some serious depth concerns on the offensive line and will need Turner to step up his game if he makes the final 53-man roster this season.Winner - Dymonte ThomasSafety Dymonte Thomas probably made the most of his playing time in terms of getting noticed for one of those final 53-man roster spots. He had a fantastic fourth down stop in coverage on Vernon Davis - covering tight ends is an issue for the Broncos defense - early in the game that could have potentially led to points. Instead, the two-yard pass resulted in a turnover on down which Case Keenum and the offense took down the field for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead instead.Covering tight ends could be how Thomas finds his way onto this roster. He and Su’a Cravens could be the missing pieces to a defense that has been great for years despite that one lingering weakness.
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