2016 Broncos Season — Preseason, Week 1


Most of the time in sports you play to win the game, but in the preseason in the NFL, you're really playing to see what kind of team you will have. Judging by Thursday night, the Broncos will still have a pretty good one.

Game: Denver Broncos 22, Chicago Bears 0
Preseason Record: 1-0 (0-0 Home)
Key Play: In the first quarter, on the opening drive, the Broncos' faced third and nine from the 32 yard line. On the play, under pressure, quarterback Mark Sanchez dropped back and connected with Demaryius Thomas on a touchdown pass. The Broncos never looked back.

Recap: The Broncos are the defending champions, but they head into the preseason with a lot of questions to answer, especially on offense. They have a strong rookie class, but the main focus is on the position of quarterback. All three played, and we got a sense of where they are, their strengths and weaknesses, and how this team might be going forward. The Broncos scored in all three phases of the game and looked every bit the defending champions on defense, even without Von Miller, Chris Harris, Jr., and Demarcus Ware. There is work to do and areas of focus, but overall you couldn't hope for much better on opening night.

Quarterback Competition:
* Mark Sanchez drew the start, going 10-for-13 for 99 yards, a touchdown and an interception. With Sanchez comes experience and big plays, but also the potential for turnovers. He was great on the opening drive and OK on the next two. The interception wasn't awful, but it was a mistake.
* Trevor Siemian entered the game in the second quarter, going 7-for-12 for 88 yards. He led the team on two field goal drives, had some good command of the offense and seemed to have a strong connection with Cody Latimer. I still think Sanchez is the better option.
* Paxton Lynch was the Broncos' first round pick, and is undoubtedly the quarterback of the future, but the future isn't here. He looked raw and has some growing to do. He went 6-for-7 for 74 yards, but the offense really stalled in the second half.

Game Balls:
* Demaryius Thomas. Thomas drew a lot of criticism for his 2015 season, but he started strong Thursday, catching two passes for 43 yards and a touchdown.
* Cody Latimer. It's time for Latimer to justify his second round draft position. It was only preseason, but he took big steps toward that with seven receptions for 82 yards.
* Kapri Bibbs. Bibbs is a long shot to make the team, but he stated his case in the second half with 15 carries for 53 yards.
* Bennie Fowler. Fowler looked Ok as a receiver, going for three catches for 18 yards. But he shinned on Special Teams, blocking a punt that led to a Broncos' touchdown.

Lingering Questions:
* What will we get from the offensive line. It was OK on Thursday, not great. But it was missing some key cogs.
* What will the running game look like. As Coach Gary Kubiak evaluated quarterbacks, CJ Anderson, Ronnie Hillman and Devontae Booker hardly toted the rock.
* How long with the quarterback competition last? No one clearly established themselves Thursday. The next shot is Saturday, August 20. The Broncos need to make a decision sooner rather than later to settle the team heading into the season.

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