Denver Broncos: Key Matchups for Week One vs. Chargers

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24: Outside linebacker Von Miller
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24: Outside linebacker Von Miller /
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Garett Bolles
during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Broncos defeated the Bears 24-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
  • Broncos O-Line vs. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram

Pro Football Focus rated the Broncos offensive line 24th overall last season. This year, with the exception of center Matt Paradis, the Broncos are introducing four new starters: right guard Ronald Leary, left guard Allen Barbre, right tackle Menelik Watson and 2017 first-round draft pick, left tackle Garrett Bolles.

Von Miller has already touted Bolles as future “legend” and Watson starting at right tackle is by default — an improvement — considering last year’s starting right tackle Donald Stephenson, finished last season with the lowest overall grade of any offensive lineman in the NFL.

Going up against Ingram and Bosa, the Broncos will be faced with two high-motor pass rushers with the skill set to bring in pressure with speed from the outside, and strength and versatility to bull rush and disrupt the run game inside.

Look for matchups of Bosa and Ingram against both Bolles and Watson on the outside Week One. To this point, Bolles’ only shortcoming has been penalties in the preseason. If he can tidy that up, and keep Bosa and Ingram at bay, the Broncos will have a good day on their hands.

There should be no problems running on the inside along with Leary and Paradis, but keeping that sack total to just one or lower should be the goal in mind. If the Broncos can do that — against these pass rushers — this new offensive line will be off to a great start.

  • Von Miller vs. Russell Okung

It’s a friendly matchup that should land in our favor. Russell Okung — the Broncos’ starting left tackle from last season — signed with Los Angeles and will be starting week one. Miller — who spoke a 30-sack season into existence, saying it was “doable”, is going against a former teammate whom he’s sure to have a competitive insight on.

The fact is the same with Okung, but he is not on the same talent level as Miller, who spent more this entire offseason improving his physical fitness comparably more so that the year before (2015 Super Bowl run).

In an interview with ESPN, Miller said that “… You’ve got to get ten in the first month.” In order for that to be realistic, Miller will have to get at least three sacks to keep that pace against LA. According to ESPN, Phillip Rivers became one of the most sacked quarterback’s in 2016. With Okung starting, Miller might have a mental — as well as a physical edge — to get the job done.
Look for Miller to go for the sack trick week one (that’s a hat trick but with sacks).