The red hot birds flew over the Grand Canyon and into town for tonight’s final preseason game. I’m sure the Cardinals wanted to see a Kyle Orton or even a Chris Simms led team, but all they get to practice against is a Tom Brandstater lead offense. From Arizona’s perspective, that’s like asking someone to play at Carnegie Hall after only practicing on a basement keyboard. On the flip side, the Broncos get to practice against a Super Bowl contender. All of this goes out the window after the first couple of series though since the fourth preseason game is usually about keeping starters healthy. Here are some things to watch for nonetheless:
- Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin playing the “woe is me” card at a dive bar on Colfax Ave. Kidding! Both players requested that their respective teams trade them away only for their pleas to be shot down.
- Josh McDainels’ intent on winning. He doesn’t lose, not accustomed to it, not going to accept it. The hoodie wearing “mini-me” to Belichick needs this win more than people realize. Had the Broncos played as poorly in their past three preseason games, but came out with a win or two, McD wouldn’t be feeling as much heat.
- Elvis Dumervil on the tear. Sure, against the Bears he wanted to knock Cutler on his ass more than anything. However, I see his performance as an outside linebacker like a fine wine that can only get better with age.
- The offensive line. Like a good snap, we don’t really notice it when it’s there, but when it’s not, chaos ensues. Right guard Chris Kuper and left guard Ben Hamilton will not play tonight, so let’s see if the two absences are noticeable.
- Fatigue. This is the Broncos 2nd game in 4 days. This tight schedule is good practice for when they play San Diego on a Sunday only to turn around and host the Giants on Thanksgiving.
- A high level of performance from the backups. The team has to cut their roster to 53 by Saturday. While a big play tonight could guarantee a stay, McD has said that he’s looking for versatile players to stick around to contribute to multiple areas of the game.
- The deep ball. Will McD use it or will it remain in hiding? Maybe he’s taking the “wait for Marshall” approach.
- Andre Goodman. He plays opposite of Champ Bailey, so expect him to be on T.V. a lot more this season. He’s a solid defender and had a near pick against the Bears.
- Third down stops. We get all hyped when the opposing offense has a 3rd and 8 or even a 3rd and 14, but then our defense let’s them through. Those are huge momentum shifts, so we need to get them.
- Consistency in the running game. Consistently bad doesn’t count. These backs need to step up, and I think McD’s utilization of the long ball would help open up the field for the backfield.
- Peyton Hillis on the returns. He’s competing against Kenny McKinley and Alphonso Smith to help Eddie Royal with the return game.
Enjoy the game and GO BRONCOS!
Topics: Alphonso Smith, Andre Goodman, Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals, Ben Hamilton, Brandon Marshall, Champ Bailey, Chris Kuper, Chris Simms, Denver Broncos, Eddie Royal, Elvis Dumervil, Jay Cutler, Josh Mcdaniels, Kenny Mckinley, Kyle Orton, Peyton Hillis, Tom Brandstater