Broncos football is back and it might only be the first preseason game but there’s a lot Broncos Country can take away from tonight. Here are a few thoughts of Denver’s loss to Minnesota.
Run defense struggled
Whether it was the first-string or third-string team, the Broncos run defense struggled mightily for most of the game. Shelby Harris provided some good stops against the Vikings’ second-string offense, but other than that, the Broncos couldn’t do much. They allowed multiple rushes of 20+ yards in the first quarter alone with the majority of their first-string players still on the field, and they allowed big runs on third downs throughout the game.
Offensive line struggled too
The offense was in hurry-up a lot and it was a pleasant sight. Denver needs to use the altitude to their advantage and going hurry-up right off the bat can really make a difference as the game wears on.
The offensive line still needs some work. They had a penalty on their first drive of the game that killed any potential momentum and seemed to allow pressure on most of Keenum’s dropbacks. Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly seemed to have a little more time but those offensive linemen probably won’t be seeing the field very often once the season begins.
Muffkenzie wows, King stutters
As much as it pains me, Isaiah McKenzie probably saved his job tonight, at least for another week. He didn’t drop any of the punts he received and had an electric 78-yard punt return for a touchdown that showed his value when he can hold onto the ball. Remember, he started off hot in the season opener last year but fizzled after that fumbling six times on 21 return attempts in just 11 games. He’s going to have to prove he can be reliable on a consistent basis to make the 53-man roster.
When it comes to special teams, the only show in town is Marquette King. “The King is here” he proudly declares when entering the room. It was a slow introduction. King settled in fairly well after a few punts that had a lot of height but little distance. You could see his frustration after a few punts that barely went 40 yards. After that, he had a couple of bombs of 60+ yards that reflected the punts everyone was seeing in training camp.
Kelly becomes fans’ new favorite
The backup quarterbacks are what we thought they were. Lynch seems lost most of the time and struggled to move the ball at all against a second-string defense. The only success he had was handing the ball off to Royce Freeman for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Amid much anticipation to see what he could do for the first time, Kelly provided a spark by pushing the ball down the field and leading a couple of touchdown drives. The crowd got behind Kelly by chanting his name multiple times throughout the game. It wasn’t perfect as he tried to force a couple plays too many towards the end, but the signs were promising after another Lynch horror show.
We’ll see if his performance earns him some time with the second-team offense this week in the joint practices with Chicago ahead of next Saturday’s preseason game.
Broncos have a Jewell at linebacker
Rookie inside linebacker Josey Jewell was always near the ball. He didn’t get credit for many tackles but when he was on the field you could always find his number in the pile of players bringing down the ball carrier. That’s the kind of play that will keep him on the field when the games start to count. The former Iowa star isn’t the quickest but earned rave reviews for his ability to read plays and get to the ball. Even at this early stage, he’s showcasing those talents in orange and blue.
Overall, it wasn’t the strongest preseason performance in any phase of the game but let’s wait and see how the next few games play out when the starters will get to see the field for more than two series.
What are some of your takeaways, Broncos Country? Was there anyone or anything that stood out to you? Comment below