The rumors of a decline for the defending champs was greatly exaggerated. The only thing in decline is the media’s ability to accurately predict what the Broncos are going to do. Maybe stop guessing that this team will fail? Crazy, I know. For those of you saying that it was only the Bears, well that’s what good teams do to bad teams. They pummel them in all three phases of the game en route to a 22-0 win. And how about Cody Latimer and Kapri Bibbs showing up big? That’s what we need to see from those guys at this point, and while one preseason game won’t secure anyone anything, it’s a good start. Hopefully they can keep it up.
Here are three other thoughts I had about last night’s game.
1. Mark Sanchez is what he is
The Sanchize showed everyone why he’s getting the first crack at earning the starting job and also why he’s on his third team in four years. He led a very crisp and impressive opening drive that culminated in a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. Good Sanchez. He followed that up with an interception on the next drive when he threw into double coverage. Bad Sanchez. Those kinds of mistakes have plagued him throughout his career and they are never going to go away. The best that the Broncos can do is try and limit them by giving Sanchez a good running game and some high percentage throws. In that scenario, he would help provide the offense with the balance they are seeking and that should at least be an upgrade over what the Broncos had on that side of the ball a season ago.
However, Sanchez is like a building that’s about to be demolished. You never know when he might go off and completely implode. That’s why it would be worthwhile to give Trevor Siemian, who was also fairly efficient, the starting nod next week against San Francisco. If Siemian can be as productive with the first string as Sanchez was and not commit the same kind of mental blunder, then Gary Kubiak may have a difficult choice on his hands. If not, then Sanchez is your guy, flaws and all.
Unless Paxton Lynch just plays out of his mind and forces the coaches to start him. You never know…
2. The defense will continue to give other teams nightmares
Other than a particular group of morons in the media, everyone expected the Broncos defense to be the strength of this team again in 2016. I don’t know that anyone thought they could be even better, but I’d say it’s a distinct possibility. The depth that the Broncos have at every position defensively is beyond absurd and was on full display in last night’s beat down. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are sitting out? No problem, Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett have got this. Chris Harris and Aqib Talib are taking the evening off too? Who cares, Bradley Roby and Kayvon Webster will make sure they don’t miss a beat. Oh, and it didn’t matter that Danny Trevathan was playing for the other team, because a couple of guys named Dekoda Watson and Vontarrius Dora were living in Chicago’s backfield. I didn’t know who those two were before, but Wade Phillips did, and he deployed them relentlessly against John Fox’s hapless backups.
The Bears were pedestrian on offense all night long, a result of a defensive machine that is as stacked as any I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to see the reaction from the rest of the league when they find out that last year was no fluke.
3. The kids are more than alright
It’s always idiotic to fully judge a draft right from the get go. After all, the Broncos’ 2012 class wasn’t much to write home about until last year, when Derek Wolfe, Ronnie Hillman, Brent Osweiler (or is it Brad?), Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan all played big roles to get the Broncos through the season and into the Super Bowl. It will be at least a few years before we can confidently say if the current crop of rookies were worth taking, but damn if they don’t already look like they have the right stuff. Whether it was Justin Simmons lining up all over the field or Will Parks flying in on a safety blitz or DeVontae Booker breaking tackles and taking names, the kids impressed a lot of people in their debut.
That’s not even counting Paxton Lynch, who overcame a shaky start and showed off his rocket arm, or Adam Gostis, who is so tenacious he may as well be Wolfe’s younger brother. Great drafts are what keep you competitive and make you the envy of the rest of the league, and John Elway’s latest one could prove to be one of his best. Time will tell.