Thursday, August 7, 2014
W2W4: Denver Broncos
By Jeff Legwold
DENVER -- The Denver Broncos (0-0) and the Seattle Seahawks (0-0) open the preseason Thursday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
1. Hard feelings: Everybody with the Broncos has stuck to the script; they've said what they believe to be the right things, it’s only the preseason, there are still bigger fish to fry in the coming months and what's done is done. Super Bowl XLVIII is over and the Broncos are simply going to have to live with the result. And it’s all true to be sure, but in the brief moments the starters are in this game for Denver -- 10-12 plays or so -- they figure to come with an edge. They have been called out for months, on most fronts, for their Super Bowl effort, including by Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner in recent weeks, and are more than a little steamed about the whole thing. The teams meet for real in the regular season in six weeks or so, so nobody will be looking to get all that creative, but there figures to be some testiness all around.
2. Security issues: The Broncos led the league in lost fumbles last season -- one of the few things that didn’t go right in a season for the ages on offense -- and they have made ball security a major theme of the offseason into training camp. Hence the appearance of a green, and now blue, ball that those who have fumbled must carry around the facility. It will be something to keep an eye on all through the preseason, especially against an aggressive defense like the Seahawks. The Broncos also have not handled the ball well on special teams for much of camp’s early going -- most of the players getting a look in the return spots have bobbled the ball.
3. Run it: Other than returner, there is no place on the Broncos' depth chart with more room for new names than at running back. With Montee Ball out after having an appendectomy earlier this week, the Broncos’ youngest position group will get an opportunity to show what they’ve got from the first carry of the game, when Ronnie Hillman is in with the starters to the last carry of the game. Other than Ball, there is room for at least three other backs to plow their way into the depth chart. Hillman and C.J. Anderson have looked good in camp, but these in-game carries are going to carry a lot of weight in the decision. Also, rookie Juwan Thompson, who has separated himself at least some from the other undrafted rookies at the position because of his added abilities as a receiver and in pass protection, will get at least some chance to show what he can do.