Broncos' starters to play in preseason opener, need to see encouraging performance from shaky position on defense

Sean Payton indicated that the starters will play in the team's preseason opener versus the Arizona Cardinals, and they need to see some encouraging performances from a certain group on defense

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos
Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos play the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, August 11th in their first preseason game, and need to see some encouraging performances from a certain position group on defense. The preseason from the Denver Broncos kicks off soon, as the start of the 2023 season gets closer and closer.

The new-look Broncos will get to show their new team off for the first time against the Arizona Cardinals on August 11th, and while things appear to be pointing up for the franchise, the roster still has a couple of question marks. On Saturday, Sean Payton indicated that the starters will be playing in the preseason game, but he didn't have much more to offer in terms of snap counts beyond that.

The majority of the game will almost certainly be played by backups, but with the starters set to get some action, I think it's almost a must that the team sees some encouraging play from their pass rush, which has been horridly inconsistent for a couple of years now. To me, it's the most uncertain position on the roster, and I think they still need to add to this group, whether it's a true defensive end or a stand-up rusher.

Since the starters are playing, we should see some sort of dosage of Randy Gregory, Zach Allen, and Frank Clark on the field at the same time. Right now, those appear to be the top three pass rushers on the roster. Other players who figure to get a ton of playing time in this game include Jonathon Cooper and Nik Bonitto, two younger pass rushers who would surely be doing everyone a favor if they broke out in 2023.

The Arizona Cardinals are also a total mess, so their offensive line should be virtually nothing to deal with. But what I hope Broncos Country sees is some pressure from the pass rush. There are a couple of new faces in this unit in Allen and Clark, and both have shown strong pass-rush prowess in the NFL. I guess all I'm trying to say here is that I'd be quite concerned if the Denver Broncos' pass rush was kept at bay in game one of the preseason.

Depending on how the first preseason game goes, the team might be inclined to add to this position in free agency. There are still some very good names out there like Justin Houston and Jadaveon Clowney who could surely provide a boost to a unit that was one of the worst in the NFL last year.

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