The Denver Broncos played their starters for nearly the entire first half of their preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
It was an opportunity for the team to get a look at how that offense would run under new head coach Sean Payton and truthfully, it looked quite similar to the stagnant team that couldn't get out of its own way last season.
Payton wanted to see Russell Wilson lead the offense and he gave him four drives to do that in this game. Though Wilson did throw a touchdown pass, he did anything but "cook" against the Cardinals.
Wilson completed 7-of-13 passes for 93 yards in the game before throwing his final pass, a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy to provide the game's first score.
But most of the rest of it was ugly. Wilson was under duress on many of his dropbacks and he had more than one of his passes batted back into his face at the line of scrimmage. He also had the ball knocked out of his hands on one play, though he was able to recover.
Wilson did complete some good throws to Courtland Sutton in which he stepped up into the pocket and threw a good ball into his receivers hands, but questions about how good he can still be are very much valid right now.
The Broncos' first three drives resulted in a punt and two missed field goals. Wilson certainly could have gotten more help from his teammates, but we will have to hope that his level of play steps up as we get closer to the start of the regular season.
For anyone thinking that this is just a meaningless preseason game, that would probably make this performance even more concerning. The starters will need to be more precise the next time we see them on the field.
Good on Payton for playing the starters for nearly the entire first half, however.