Preseason Week 1: 5 Denver Broncos Who Earned Their Spurs

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Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Nate Irving (56) breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (15) in the end zone in the first quarter in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

56. player. 45.  <span style=. Middle Linebacker. NC State. Nate Irving

After 3 years of being lost in the MIKE LB shuffle, Nate Irving is finally getting a full opportunity to be the Broncos’ starter in the middle. And based on last night, he’s taking full advantage of it. Irving flew all over the field. He made plays behind the line of scrimmage, on the perimeter and was solid in coverage, although he got flagged for a defensive holding penalty. The refs were the epitome of ticky tack last night. Irving showed flashes of a former Bronco great who also wore #56. He looked natural, lining up next to Danny Trevathan. It’s still early, but here’s to hoping last night wasn’t an anomoly.