With the Denver Broncos having to be cut down to 53 prior to the 4pm ET deadline on August 30th. Because of that, time is against me. I won’t be able to spend the hours upon hours of re-watching the games to hand out grades. Instead, these grades will be handed out after the live watch through.
Well the Broncos beat the Dallas Cowboys 27-3. For the most part it was a rough game for the Broncos. There were very few shining moments for the team. Those moments were mostly of defense. The grades, like always, will start out at a C. Good play raises it, bad play drops it. Now onto the grades. Along with the grades will be a 53-man roster prediction followed by a practice squad prediction at the end.
At the Quarterback position, Peyton Manning did not play. Brock Osweiler did, and he played really well with little help from the offensive line. He was accurate and quick with his throws. Also showed he is a threat with his legs. Got graded with a B+. Zac Dysert played as well, though he did not have as many opportunities to throw like Osweiler. The few throws that were seen, were inaccurate that forced the receiver to readjust. Got graded with a C-.
53-man Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert.
For the running backs, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman both did not play. C.J. Anderson started the game and looked excellent. He played really well as a runner, but his best play came in blitz pickup. He got graded with a B. Juwan Thompson showed why he should make this roster, yet again. He always keeps his legs churning when he has the ball. Graded out with an A-. Kapri Bibbs was making a case for the 53-man roster, but it is hard to see him make it, unless they keep 5 RBs. Running, receiver, and on special teams, he performs at a high level. Graded with a B+.
53-man Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, C.J. Anderson, Juwan Thompson
The wide receivers had a really good game, for those that played anyways. We saw no Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker or Emmanuel Sanders. Cody Latimer was brilliant all game long. He looks like he can become the best WR from the draft. A grade. Andre Caldwell showed why he has been kept around and will stay around. B+ grade. Isaiah Burse made his case on offense, though he did have a couple solid returns. As a receiver, B grade, as a returner, C+ grade.
53-man roster Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders, Cody Latimer, Andre Caldwell, Isaiah Burse.
Julius Thomas, Virgil Green, Jameson Konz and Gerrell Robinson did not play, leaving the Broncos with Jacob Tamme and Cameron Morrah at TE. Tamme played little, but looked good. B- grade for him. Morrah finally put together a great game as a receiver and blocker. He also got one of the best grades with an A-.
53-man roster Julius Thomas, Virgil Green, Jacob Tamme, Cameron Morrah.
The offensive line play was the worst I have seen in a long time. The first unit, which consists of Ryan Clady, Orlando Franklin, Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez and Chris Clark did not play. The second unit performed so bad, they eventually brought in an extra OL as a TE to help block. Instead of handing out individual grades for the second unit OL, they will get a collective grade. The second unit consists of, Paul Cornick, Ben Garland, Will Montgomery, Vinston Painter and Michael Schofield, they get a D grade. They all had some good plays, but for the most part they were just awful. All of them got beat multiple times. Ryan Miller and Matt Paradis, who came in as the “third” unit did really well. They get a C+ and B- grade collectively.
53-man roster Ryan Clady, Orlando Franklin, Mann Ramirez, Louis Vasquez, Chris Clark, Michael Schofield, Will Montgomery and choose either Ben Garland or Vinston Painter. Pick one, it’s a wash either way.
The defensive line played really well, even without DeMarcus Ware, Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson, Terrance Knighton and Sylvester Williams did not play. Kenny Anunike got hurt during the game, but before that he did enough to earn a B- grade. Marvin Austin sealed his spot on the roster with a performance worth an A grade. Kevin Vickerson, Mitch Unrein and Sione Fua are all competing for potentially one spot. They all graded out really well. Vickerson was the lowest with a B followed by Fua and Unrein at a B+. For the defensive ends, Quanterus Smith played good, but he could have been better. His impact was minimal. A C- grade. Brian Sanford, well he is on his way out. Didn’t do anything to impress, or anything unimpressive either. Stays as a C grade.
53-man roster DeMarcus Ware, Derek Wolfe, Terrance Knighton, Sylvester Williams, Malik Jackson, Quanterus Smith, Marvin Austin, Mitch Unrein. More on Kenny Anunike later on.
Many of the linebackers did not play, Von Miller, Danny Trevathan, Brandon Marshall, Nate Irving did not play. Lerentee McCray continued showing he is starting caliber with B+ play. Steven Johnson started as the middle linebacker, and was underwhelming. He gets graded out with a C. Lamin Barrow did well, but there are still some issues, which is ok since he is a rookie. He got graded with a C+. Corey Nelson is pushing for a spot and had a strong showing, he showed more than just his quickness. All in all was a solid B performance. L.J Fort had a forgettable performance, often out of position. However, he had enough good plays to keep his grade at a C. Shaquil Barrett had an excellent game and it translated to the stat sheet. He was great in all phases of the game and ends with an A- performance.
53-man roster Von Miller, Nate Irving, Brandon Marshall, Lerentee McCray, Lamin Barrow, Steven Johnson, Danny Trevathan.
Bradley Roby did enough for the coaches to be put with Aqib Talib and the rest of the players who didn’t play. Chris Harris and Kayvon Webster also were kept out. Omar Bolden played really well. He showed why he should make this roster on defense and special teams, earning a B- grade. Tony Carter is the most controversial player, surprisingly. He can make the good play, but makes many bad ones to cover for it. Despite the interception, he gets a C grade, plenty of mistakes caused the grade to fall back down. Louis Young, Jerome Murphy and Jordan Sullen are all fighting for a practice squad and all played good games. Young got a B grade, Sullen a B- and Murphy a B- as well.
53-man roster Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Kayvon Webster, Bradley Roby, Omar Bolden.
The safety position was settled against the Cowboys. T.J. Ward and Rahim Moore did not play. Quinton Carter played only for a little while, but did really well. He got a B grade. After him Duke Ihenacho really stood out. He knew he was in jeopardy and played to stay, earning a B+ grade. John Boyett did not have the impact he has previously, which he needed to in order to take the spot away from Duke. Boyett ends with a C grade. I do not recall seeing David Bruton, but didn’t see him as part of the players not playing.
53-man roster T.J. Ward, Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter, David Bruton, Duke Ihenacho.
Special teams is the final part of the team. Britton Colquitt punted well, A grade. Brandon McManus missed two field goals from over 50 yards, but he did well outside of that. He gets a B grade, mainly for his leg. It is important to note his two misses were wide, so he has the leg to make them. The final spot goes to Aaron Brewer, the long snapper. He was on point and got his snaps on target, A+ grade.
53-man roster Brandon McManus, Britton Colquitt, Aaron Brewer.
With Kenny Anunike hurt, the Broncos can place him on IR and give him a shot this year. This would allow them to keep other players who have experience, instead of keeping an unproven injured player as part of the 53-man roster. Matt Prater goes on the suspended list and does not count against the 53-man roster.
Practice squad- RB Kapri Bibbs, WR Bennie Fowler, OL Ryan Miller, C Matt Paradis, OT Paul Cornick, LB Shaquil Barrett, LB Corey Nelson, CB Louis Young, DB Jordan Sullen, S John Boyett.