Denver notes: Simms looks good; Moreno hurt

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

There was more to the Denver Broncos' preseason opener at San Francisco than Kyle Orton's three interceptions on his first three series.


Backup quarterback Chris Simms looked good. Of course, he was playing with and against backups, but if Orton continues to flounder, Simms may get a chance to compete for the top job. Simms has looked better than Orton in practice and he has a much stronger arm.

Stay tuned. Orton's hat trick may have made it interesting in Denver.

Orton's performance wasn't the only discouraging part of Denver's night. First-round pick Knowshon Moreno left the game with a sprained knee, according to CBS4Denver, which broadcast the game locally. Moreno will have an MRI Saturday. The Broncos would be devastated if Moreno, who was effective when he played, had to miss significant playing time. If it is just a sprain, Moreno should be ready for the start of the regular season.

Second-year running back Peyton Hillis was electric. He was a favorite of the previous staff and Hillis is making the new staff fall in love with him. He will get plenty of playing time.

Receiver Eddie Royal was brilliant. This guy is a star.

Denver's pass rush looked much improved under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. There was constant pressure.

Free agent rookie nose tackle Chris Baker had a sack and continues to push for significant playing time.

Denver's first-team defense is still giving up third-and-long conversions. That has killed Denver in the past, regardless of the coordinator and personnel.