Denver Broncos Game 1 Position/Player Grades

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Aug 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) chases down Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (left) during the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive End

  1. DeMarcus Ware: A+

Dominance is the word that comes to mind when watching Ware. From his first snap to his last, Ware was controlling the game. His presence was a boost to the rest of the defensive line as well. He applied consistent pass rush all while keeping contain. His run defense was excellent as well, set the edge and forced the runner back inside.

  1. Derek Wolfe: B+

Seeing Derek Wolfe back on the field and healthy was great. His pass rush was better than ever and he is still stout against the run. He was kicked inside often and showed the ability to penetrate and cause interior pressure. With what he showed, he is going to be a force on the edge and when kicked to the interior. For a player of his size, he is surprisingly fast, agile and quick.

  1. Malik Jackson: A-

His performance is a B+, but one hit on Russel Wilson boosted it up. It was a hit that you don’t see often in the preseason. He creamed Wilson as he threw. Outside of that play, he was still great. Like Wolfe, Jackson kicked inside often and did so with great success. Jackson is a jack of all trades player and he showed it.

  1. Quanterus Smith: B+

The excellent showing of the defensive line continued with Smith. His burst off the line is second to none. His hand work was great as well. He did a great job keeping the blockers hands off of him. Smith also put up a great showing against the run. He set the edge really well and showed good strength to control the blocker, instead of being controlled by the blocker.

  1. Kenny Anunike: A-

A pleasant surprise. Anunike was tearing it up during practices and he transferred it to the field. He was consistently applying pressure on the QB. His first step was beautiful to watch and was a big reason he was always in the backfield. On the occasion the Seahawks QB broke contain, Anunike wasn’t far behind, chasing him down. In a somewhat surprise to myself, Anunike looked better against the run than he did rushing. A spot of the 53-man roster needs to be found for this man.

  1. Will Pericak: C+

With joining the Broncos about a week before the game, it was surprising how many reps Pericak got. When he took the field, he showed how he earned them. He looked really good going after the QB, but struggled in run defense. Instead of controlling the blocker, Pericak got controlled and moved, opening a hole for the runner. Despite his issues, he looked pretty good for the amount of time he has been with the team.

  1. Brian Sanford: C

Another player I was surprised to see playing, Sanford signed with the Broncos two days before the game. He didn’t get a lot of reps, saw only 8 snaps, but he got snaps over players who have been with the team for a few months. Hard to gauge Sanford on such few snaps, but he played, didn’t do anything that grabbed my attention in a positive or negative way.

  1. Greg Latta, Hall Davis, Chase Vaughn: N/A

None of them saw any snaps. Latta has been dealing with an injury. Davis and Vaughn are just that low in the pecking order.

Overall: B

The defensive line were the players of the game in my mind. All game long they were applying pressure on the QB. On top of that, for the most part, they were stout against the run.