If you found yourself researching a running back named Xavier Omon after the Denver Broncos preseason game against the Bears last week, you were not alone. There was no shortage of stars during the Broncos 31-3 demolition of Chicago, but several players stood out and made names for themselves. Omon carried the ball 7 times for 36 yards and a touchdown. He finished with an average of 5.1 yards-per-carry and caught one ball out of the backfield. He ran with the authority and toughness that NFL fans love to see and it will be interesting to find out if he can keep it up when he plays against some better competition.
The running back battle was one of the deepest and most competitive camp battles going in Denver, and that was before we were forced to take notice of Omon. The Broncos will most likely carry 4 or 5 running backs depending on how things shake out. With Willis McGahee and Ronnie Hillman locks to make the final roster, and Chris Gronkowski the likely starting fullback, there are possibly 2 roster spots available for other running backs. Lance Ball, Knowshon Moreno, Jeremiah Johnson, and Omon have all shown that they have their sights set on one of those spots, and it’s going to be the camp battle to watch the rest of the way.
Here are some other observations from the Broncos first preseason game of 2012:
- Denver’s electrifying performance did nothing to temper the excitement of fans in Broncos Country. It’s easy to overstate things after a single preseason game, but Denver came to play across the board and looks like a team with the talent to make some serious noise in 2012.
- A lot of draft day doubters feel much better today after watching Derek Wolfe completely destroy the Bears’ offensive front. He finished with 3 solo tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 tackle for loss in his Denver debut. If he can play with that kind of presence consistently the defense will be in great shape going forward.
- Peyton Manning’s only series of the game had some mixed results, but that should have been expected considering it was his first real game action in a year and a half. He ended up going 4/7 for 44-yards passing and an interception on the goal line after a deflection. Despite the ending, the first drive of the game was beautiful. 5:39 came off the clock in 11 plays and it went for 50 yards. The highlight of the drive was a 19-yard completion to Eric Decker for a first down conversion on 3rd-and-17. Manning still has some rust to shake off, but it looks like the Denver offense is going to be a lot of fun to watch with Manning at the helm.
- All four quarterbacks showed some flashes against Chicago. Brock Osweiler and Adam Weber both threw for a score and Caleb Hanie made some nice throws after a rough couple of series. Hanie is getting the reps with the second team for now, but it would surprise me if Osweiler doesn’t move into that position soon.
- The defense as a whole played with tenacity and tackled very well, and it looks like Jack Del Rio has already made an impact. Some youngsters like Mike Mohamed and Nate Irving made some nice plays in space and will get some praise in the film room.
- Tight end Cornelius Ingram is another lesser known player who turned some heads last week. He caught two passes for 45 yards including a 25-yard touchdown reception from Weber. The tight end position is another one with a logjam of players, but Ingram could sneak in there and take a roster spot. Keep an eye on him.
- One of the most underrated things coming out of the Bears game was that the Broncos escaped relatively injury free. The preseason is always a nerve-racking time in regards to injuries, and the injury bug has already seriously bitten some other teams around the league. Hopefully this will be a trend for Denver during the preseason.
- The first preseason game at home will be against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, August 18th. I’m sure the atmosphere at Mile High will be electric and Broncos Country will be soaking up every moment. Hit me up on Twitter so we can break it down in real time. Go Broncos!
Tags: Adam Weber Brock Osweiler Caleb Hanie Chris Gronkowski Denver Broncos Derek Wolfe Eric Decker Jack Del Rio Jeremiah Johnson Knowshon Moreno Lance Ball Mike Mohamed Mile High Monday Nate Irving Peyton Manning Ronnie Hillman Willis Mcgahee Xavier Omon