HT: Matchups to watch tonight vs Redskins | Forum

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chenyan94 Dec 26 '18

 The first two preseason games were all about individual evaluation , with the score being a secondary matter. Now as the Broncos travel to visit a familiar face in Washington, the focus shifts more toward team performance for the game that’s traditionally a dress rehearsal of the regular season.The Broncos’ starters are expected to play “at least” as much as they did last weekend, which probably translates to a full half of the 1st teamers and the 2s opening up the second half. With a bit more gameplanning & such happening, if still not to full scale, we’ll hopefully start to get a real idea of what to expect from the Broncos this season based on actual performance.Case Keenum vs the Redskins SecondaryKeenum had some hiccups to begin the game again last week, so the top item on my to-watch list tonight is how he performs in the opening drives. Some preseason jitters are okay, especially when you’re the starting QB for the first time and suited up for a team you rooted for growing up. But it’s time for Keenum to settle down & start showing the steadiness, decisiveness, and accuracy that defined him last season with the Vikings.The Redskins do have Josh Norman at corner, but outside of him the most notable guy in their nike_broncos_756.jpgsecondary is DJ Swearinger... and he’s only memorable because he pissed Peyton Manning off enough that the Sheriff cussed him out to his face after burning him for a touchdown in preseason action 4 years ago. As a whole, this unit can’t stand up to Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton Youth Jared Veldheer Jersey , DaeSean Hamilton, and... you get the idea. There’ll be opportunities. Keenum needs to do a better job of exploiting them early this week.Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsChad Kelly vs the Phantom QuarterbackI think that if you asked the fans to make the call, Chad Kelly would already officially be the Broncos’ backup quarterback for 2018. But the team itself has so far refused to commit to that course of action- which is understandable. There’s not much reason for them to commit to one backup over another before they really have to.Kelly’s play last week vs the Bears silenced any fears that he might not be able to handle the increased level of competition with the 2s. Now, in order to secure his role as the backup for this season, he’s got to prove that he can perform consistently from game to game by tearing up the opposing secondary for a third straight week. If he does that, there’s no reason to think his future in Denver is anything but secure. If he can’t do that, he opens the door labeled “Sign a veteran backup” and possibly delays his own development. The stakes are high for Kelly, but he seems like a guy who does his best work in the spotlight.Broncos Secondary vs Alex SmithSmith is a familiar foe for the Broncos’ secondary, and one who’s coming off of a career year and an MVP-caliber season. Is the Broncos’ secondary as vulnerable as it has, at times, seemed? Can Smith continue the standard of play he set for himself in his last season in Kansas City? And can he do it in spite of the significantly reduced talent the Redskins have surrounded him with compared to what he enjoyed in 2017?It’s a legit sample size of action against an established NFL QB. The results should prove interesting.Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY SportsRoyce Freeman vs Devontae BookerSo far, Devontae Booker is still nominally the Broncos’ starting running back. But the general consensus in Broncos Country & around the league is that Freeman will be the #1 guy when the Seahawks come to town in a few weeks to open up the regular season. Freeman’s had a pretty nice preseason, and this is his opportunity to seize control of the starting role. It’s also likely Booker’s last White Von Miller Jersey , best chance to try and defend it. Can he be more than the guy who fell short when asked to take on the bellcow role after C.J. Anderson went down in 2016?Broncos interior pass rush vs Redskins Offensive LineIf the 2017 Broncos defense had an achilles heel (other than that nagging issue with covering tight ends & running backs), it was a stark lack of interior pressure. QBs were able to consistently step up in the pocket and minimize the impact of guys like Von Miller & Shaquil Barrett. So far this preseason, the Broncos’ front 7 looks to be doing better on that front. DeMarcus Walker, Adam Gotsis, and a healthy Derek Wolfe will look to limit QBs’ evasion options this season. And if they’re successful, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb will snack on tackles and feast on QBs.Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsBilly Turner vs Cyrus KouandjioTurner tends to get a lot more press, but that doesn’t mean the battle for the swing tackle job is over by any stretch of the imagination. Turner struggled last week, allowing a critical sack that knocked the Broncos’ 3rd team offense out of field goal range, and being saved from allowing another by Chad Kelly zipping the ball out quickly on what became the 16 yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton.He has serious competition from Kouandjio, who joined the Broncos last November and started the Week 17 game at right tackle in place of Watson & Stephenson. Kouandjio’s a former 2nd round pick who had a rough start to his career, but has played pretty decently when he’s on the field. And he held his own as the 2nd string left tackle last week vs the Bears.For what it’s worth, my money is Kouandjio.Paxton Lynch vs IrrelevanceLast week, I wrote this about Paxton: “If he doesn’t dominate at this lowest level of NFL competition , though? Yikes.”Well, folks.... Yikes.Lynch ended well vs the Bears, nearly leading a field goal drive to win the game. It’s certainly not his fault that Isaiah McKenzie fumbled away Lynch’s opportunity or that the Bears played a 10 year veteran backup QB vs the Broncos’ 3rd & 4th stringers. But it is very much his fault that he led the 3rd team to zero points at any time prior to that drive and played a big part in opening the door for the Bears’ comeback. It’s his fault that he didn’t dominate the lowest level of NFL competition.Now, Vance Joseph won’t even commit to playing Lynch in the 3rd preseason game. If that happens & Lynch doesn’t see the field tonight, then stick a fork in him. He’ll be officially done in Denver. That said, expect to see him in the 4th quarter for a meaningless drive or two. If he didn’t get that much, the Broncos would be torpedoing any trade value he still has themselves rather than taking the bad gamble that he won’t lower it too much more during those couple of drives.Horse TracksNFL preseason 2018: Highlights and results from Week 3 - SBNation.comGet caught up with all the action from the preseason’s penultimate week.NFL preseason 2018: 7 storylines to watch in dress rehearsal Week 3 - SBNation.comWeek 3 of the preseason is when teams actually give their starters meaningful minutes.NFL breakout players 2018: Predicting the next big thing for all 32 teams - SBNation.comRetired NFL defensive end Stephen White has been grinding tape all summer to figure out which players are poised for a big leap forward in 2018.NFL free agents 2018: 5 players who need to be signed before Week 1 - SBNation.comNFL teams will continue making moves as the season approaches, and while most of those moves will be cuts, there are still a few players we’re hoping to see signed before the regular season begins.Hard Knocks: Hue Jackson tells Dez Bryant the Browns will make the ‘biggest turnaround in sports history’ - SBNation.comThe latest episode of HBO’s "Hard Knocks" features excerpts from the meeting between free agent Dez Bryant and Browns coach Hue Jackson.Browns OL coach Bob Wylie is weird, wonderful and he’s our new dad - SBNation.comBob Wylie is our new emperor.What we learned from Browns' victory over Eagles - NFL.comPreseason games are rarely exquisite exhibitions of football elegance, but Thursday's Week 3 kickoff between the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns was a rather uglier than normal August affair.That said, "Shutout victory" is a phrase so alien for the Browns that you can't help but take notice.Denzel Ward suffers back injury during Browns' win - NFL.comCleveland Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward left for the locker room after suffering an undisclosed injury during the first quarter of Thursday's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.Steelers erect tarp to prevent against 'drones' - NFL.comWhen asked Thursday by reporters about the construction of a tarp hanging at the end of one of the end zones at the team's facility, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin offered an enigmatic explanation.Pat Bowlen Youth Todd Davis Jersey , Gil Brandt named HOF contributor finalists - NFL.comDenver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt have been selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Contributors Committee as the two contributor finalists for the Class of 2019.Raiders waive 2017 second-rounder Obi Melifonwu - NFL.comOakland waived/injured 2017 second-round selection Obi Melifonwu on Thursday while simultaneously confirming the signing of veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.Ranking the five most and least enviable QB situations in the NFL - NFL.comGil Brandt identifies the five most and least enviable QB situations in the NFL. Just how lucky are the Eagles to have both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles on their roster?(Fair warning, this one’s included mostly for the interesting topic. The post itself & several of the selections made in it are hilariously terrible.)Broncos vs Seahawks: No Bull Answers In case you missed it last week, I posed some questions that I was specifically looking at going into this game. Let’s run down the list and see what insights we got about this team from week 1:Is Case Keenum a real step forward for our offense?Answer:No Bronco fan was thrilled with the 3 picks. That’s the kind of stuff that will lose you a game.But it is early in the season with a new team and the whole team is running a new offense in its 1st year under a new offensive coordinator.What I saw from Keenum that makes me answer this question with a solid “Yes,” is the confidence and competence with which he went about his business.Much of his passing was accurate. He answered the call for every moment that started looking bad (including the moments he largely created). The leadership alone we saw from Keenum is a huge step forward for this team and offense. Any of the scrub real estate salesmen masquerading as NFL players we had last year in this game would have folded like a cheap lawn chair while the Seahawks rolled us by double digits.Is Bradley Roby able to hold it down on the outside?Answer:Nope.Bradley Roby had a stinker of a game. His tackling was a sack full of weak sauce. His coverage was at times decent below the waist, but Brandon Marshall scored a TD on him where he was in position to knock the ball away. I am not encouraged much at all by what we saw in week 1 from our #2 cornerback.Adam Jones may end up taking his spot if this is the level of play Roby brings in his contract season.Does Bill Musgrave have a rabbit in his hat?Answer:He’s got a colony of rabbits in his hat. I can’t remember the last time I was watching a Bronco game and caught off guard so many times by what the offense did. He used a ton of personnel (big plus in my books), he mixed up formations, and he designed great deception plays to scheme players open in positive match-ups. Also, I loved the ebb and flow of the game and how he adjusted his play calling.We ran a bunch of shorter routes to keep the chains moving against the opponent’s cover-3 scheme. Seattle switched to some cover-4 looks and he countered with flooding areas with more routes than they had players. Late in the game with a lead we brought out some real old-school mano a mano smash mouth running to run the clock off. Bill Musgrave is a big reason that we won the game and why the Broncos offense looks like it could be a legit worry for their NFL opponents in the coming weeks.Can our ILBs play at a higher level than last year?Answer:Yes they can. Both Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis were flying all over the field making plays against both the run and the pass. Leading up to the season I’d mentioned that I thought the ILB talent on the Broncos was a weakness and boy was I wrong. I’m excited to see Davis and Marshall bring it next week!Your turn!What questions did you get answered in this game and what did you take away?If you posted questions in the comments last week, hop over and copy and paste them here with your takes. Let’s keep the discussion going on the best place for Broncos Country to talk football on the Internet here at!


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