W2W4: Denver Broncos

August, 23, 2014
Aug 23
12:00
PM ET
The Denver Broncos (2-0) meet the Houston Texans on Saturday night (9 ET) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Three things to watch:

1. Hard feelings: After three practice days that featured plenty of extra-curricular jawing, shoving and, on Thursday, some punches thrown, some grumpiness could remain that could boil over in this game. The Broncos offense and the Texans defense simply did not get along this past week and Houston's do-it-all defensive end J.J. Watt seemed to be at the root of Denver's angst at times. Both tackle Chris Clark and guard Orlando Franklin had confrontations with Watt in drills after Watt had repeatedly shown why many personnel executives say he is simply the best defensive player in the game. Because of the fairly intense practices with the Texans, the Broncos may dial back some of the starters' work in this one, but when the Denver offense is on the field with the Texans defense it will be worth keeping an eye on the tempers on both sides of the equation.

2. An adjustment: With Jordan Norwood's season-ending knee injury this past week, the Broncos will reassess what they're going to do at wide receiver when the roster cuts come. When training camp opened the Broncos were poised to keep five receivers, but with his quality play, as well as his work at punt returner, Norwood had put himself in position to force the Broncos to keep six at the spot. But with Norwood injured the Broncos must now step back and see if they simply want to keep five at the position, or if another player can show them enough in the final two preseason games to be the sixth. Isaiah Burse is an option because of his ability in the return game. But he must handle the ball more consistently on special teams and he is more limited in the offense than Norwood was. Norwood played both outside spots in practice and lined up inside on a smattering of snaps. Burse has looked far more comfortable simply working out of the slot. Norwood's injury does leave the door cracked some for another player to force the issue.

3. Defensive front on front burner: Some of the most difficult decisions in the coming week will come on the defensive line. With their offseason work the Broncos turned a problem spot on the depth chart into perhaps the team's deepest position top to bottom. If the Broncos keep just eight players in the final cuts, there will be players sent on their way who were regulars in the rotation last season. They could keep nine, but there are other places on the roster where they may want to keep an additional player, including on special teams where the return jobs remain open. So, how the rotation goes from the first- to the second-team will bear watching in this one, especially on the interior where, again if they keep just eight, Mitch Unrein, Kevin Vickerson and Sione Fua may be playing for one spot.

Jeff Legwold

ESPN Denver Broncos reporter

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