It’s not Sunday afternoon or Monday night, but football is in the air as the Broncos have their first preseason game of the season tonight against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Broncos travel to the repulsive heat of Dallas to find some answers. They will get a sense of what the first team offense and defense need to improve upon, they will see if there’s anyone from the second team who is capable of being a first teamer, and they will see which guys have potential to stick around from the third team.
The last time these two teams met was in October of 2009. This was one of my favorite games of that season because nothing is better than knocking off “America’s Team” with Champ Bailey knocking down Tony Romo’s last two passes with seconds remaining.
Now, tonight’s game doesn’t mean a thing from a win-loss perspective. It does however, give everyone a chance to see who is performing well thus far. All eyes will be on the quarterbacks first, but we have to keep in mind that the Broncos problem areas from last year came in getting their own run game going, stopping the run, converting in the redzone, and putting pressure on the quarterback.
Here are a few key things to watch for:
– How will the Broncos use Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee? Moreno is list No. 1 on the depth chart, but will John Fox use McGahee in a lot of third down situations?
– How do they pressure the quarterback with Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller, and Robert Ayers. Will their blitz package be too much to handle?
– Will Fox and Co. insert Tim Tebow into the first team offense when near the goal line or will they let Kyle Orton carry out the drive?
– How much time will the first string offense/defense get? It’s usually in the first two preseason games that they see the most action.
– The defensive line has been a big concern. Will we notice a difference with Ty Warren up front helping to stop the run?
– Keep an eye on rookie Rahim Moore. He replaces veteran Renaldo Hill at strong safety.
– Julius Thomas has created some waves in practice. Can the former basketball player turn into an Antonio Gates-like tight end?
– Reporters have noticed that Ryan Clady is looking stronger than last season when he was coming off of his offseason knee surgery. Let’s see if his feet are moving quicker.
-Rookie Orlando Franklin is starting at right tackle. Watch his ability to protect Tebow’s blindspot if the two are in together.
The game starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT so flip on the tube and watch a new version of the orange and blue.