Denver Broncos ‘Hop’ to victory over Bears in preseason debut

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 10: De'Angelo Henderson
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 10: De'Angelo Henderson /

The Denver Broncos rode some clutch play from their third unit to a victory in the preseason opener over the Chicago Bears, 24-17…

As the Denver Broncos kicked off their preseason campaign under Vance Joseph, there were highlights and, unfortunately, many low-lights.

What is the value of preseason? Its simple. Preseason is a measuring tool of development and growth for players year in and year out, especially with a new staff and new system. It’s even more meaningful for many young players who are fighting to make a name for themselves in the business that is the NFL.

The Broncos overall looked decent on Thursday night. If you were watching your Twitter feed, often agonized was the quarterback play between Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. After a summer where the media created a division by #Decision17, nearly every three-step drop, handoff, and throw was under a tremendous microscope for both guys vying to be the no. 1 quarterback.

Trevor Siemian got the start tonight and finished the night 6-of-7 for 51 yards, while Paxton Lynch finished 6-of-9 for 42 yards.

Tonight, the main complaints around Twitter predicated around Siemian throwing the ball short of the sticks on two plays on 3rd down. For Lynch, he had a couple of passes that were thrown short, and some that were overthrows. Lynch also held onto the ball for too long. Siemian had a solid night and a safe performance. Lynch still looked young, but he gets a chance to get more reps with the first unit next week.

Kyle Sloter came in and started slinging the ball around. ‘Slingin Sloter finished 5-of-6 for 94 yards and connected on a 47 yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie to tie the game up for Denver in the fourth quarter.

Sloter looked comfortable out there and he played loose. While he may not be a candidate in the QB race this season, he’s certainly shown so far that he can play. Ideally I see him being the Broncos’ practice squad quarterback which will help the Denver defense prepare during the year.

De’Angelo Henderson is the energizer bunny! Hop to it young fella, Henderson sprung off some flashy runs.

Early on some of those runs were negated by holding penalties (ironically). His big moment though came in the fourth quarter that won the Broncos the game after he burst off a huge 41 yard touchdown scamper on a 3rd and 22 draw play.

In my opinion he earned a roster spot right there. His vision and quickness replicated what we saw from him in training camp. The Broncos have a huge decision to make at running with five on the roster.

Special teams-wise the Broncos played well overall. Minus a couple of lengthy kick returns, the coverage units made several plays.

Rookie Carlos Henderson struggled and had two drops on two kick return attempts. It wasn’t the start he envisioned for himself in the league. Kalif Raymond and Isaiah McKenzie appear to have earned a spot on the roster in the return game, where obviously McKenzie is guaranteed.

Raymond demonstrated why he deserves to be on the roster as well.

Defensively the Broncos first unit rocked it. Jared Crick, Kasim Edebali, and Derek Wolfe got pressure on Mike Glennon early and often in the first quarter that led to a fumble and the games first score which was a pick 6 to Chris Harris Jr. The first unit came in for one series.

Brendan Langley was a guy I tweeted about before the game and spoke with Andy Lindahl on Orange and Blue 760 radio this morning about keeping an eye on. He performed decently given different elements. Lorenzo Doss also played and had several pass breakups, but him and Chris Lewis-Harris gave up some throws playing off coverage.

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My overall reaction is that Siemian played well enough in my opinion to be the clear leader in the quarterback race as of tonight. Next week, Paxton Lynch gets to run with the first unit and the pressure is on him.

Tonight, Lynch didn’t perform that well and looked hesitant and skittish. Both QBs still have a lot to improve on overall. There is still some concern with the OL regarding Max Garcia and Menelik Watson in the eyes of Broncos fans.

Obviously offensive penalties found their way onto the Denver side as well. The running game looked decent, without a true look as to how improved it may be. De’Angelo Henderson made a huge splash tonight.

Cody Latimer was one of the guys who played consistently well offensively tonight at the receiver position as he fights for the number three wide receiver spot.

It’s the first week of preseason and there is much to clean up, but there are also little things to celebrate as well. It’s a growth and development period for coaches, and players alike!