Denver Broncos Game 1 Position/Player Grades

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Aug 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) is called for a pass interference on Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) in the second quarter of a preseason game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


  1. Danny Trevathan: B+

Despite getting beat once, Trevathan had a great game. He look awesome against the run and his usual self in coverage. He looked a lot faster and quicker out on the field, enabling him to be all over the place. Against the run, he looked stronger than last year and looked like he trusted his instincts a bit more.

  1. Nate Irving: A-

After watching Irving, he looked like he is the MLB for the future. He was making plays all over the field, but especially in the backfield. He was able to read and react, finding the hold and getting through it to stop the runner. He has the instincts needed and it was on display.

  1. Lerentee McCray: B

Thankfully, McCray is a pass rusher and shouldn’t drop into coverage too often, for that is his weak spot. He dropped into coverage 10 times, but was never targeted. When he did, he often gave up a step to his cover assignment, which is not a good thing. Against the run and rushing the passer he looked close to excellent. His combination of speed and power put the offensive linemen on their toes.

  1. Lamin Barrow: B-

For being a coverage linebacker, Barrow struggled dropping back, but looked good against the run. His issues in coverage seemed to be nerves from his first game, but that is just speculative. Against the run, he looked smart. Instead of using strength, he looked to be reading the play and countering it with his movement.

  1. Brandon Marshall: B-

Marshall was reportedly getting reps as the second cover LB in nickel packages, and it showed in-game. He saw a limited amount of first team reps, all in sub packages. In coverage he looked really good. Always there by his man. However, his run defense was lacking. Seemed to get lost as the play progressed, or misdiagnosed the play and go to plug the wrong gap.

  1. Shaquil Barrett: C+

It was believed that Barrett would struggle in coverage, but it was quite the opposite. In fact, he put together a well-rounded performance. His pass rush ability stood out, quickness with power to provide stable pressure. Run defense, he was setting the edge forcing the runner inside then shedding the block to be part of the plays end. In coverage he looked best. Kept his man close by and was aware of what was going on around him. Even when the play became broken and the QB scrambling behind the line of scrimmage, Barrett kept his man close. That is something some cornerbacks even have a hard time with.

  1. Steven Johnson: C-

His interception could only do so much to save his performance. On defense he looked lost and out-of-place. His specialty seems to be regulated to special teams where he did well, like always. Only positive on defense was his interception, where he showed awareness on what was going on and to find the ball to pick it off.

  1. Corey Nelson: D

Nelson was just painful to watch. Only positive he displayed was speed and quickness. In coverage he got beat, badly, for a 25 yard gain. That also happened to be the play where he really displayed his speed, as he got beat but had to speed to recover. Against the run, he just got bullied by the offense.

  1. Von Miller, Jamar Chaney, Jerrell Harris, L.J. Fort: N/A

Miller, still recovering from his ACL, didn’t play. As for the others, they may just be that low on the totem pole.

Overall: B

The Broncos seem to have a solid set of linebackers. Of course there are some areas for concerns individually. But as a group, they have complimentary skill sets.