The Broncos had their annual Orange vs. Blue scrimmage at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado on August 2nd, 2014. It was a hot dry day in the Highlands of Denver with temperatures reaching the 90’s. The Broncos started with stretches and walkthroughs for about one hour then played their first full contact scrimmage of the year. While watching the practice it was clear that there was a lot of reason to be excited for this upcoming Broncos’ season.
There was a lot of talk around the Mile High City this offseason regarding the Broncos’ improved defense. Well today was all about the offense which put on a great show for the roughly 40,000 fans in attendance. A couple things and players on the offensive side of the ball stood out to me while watching the ‘Gameplay’ simulated scrimmage. First of all it was impressive out how quick the Broncos were moving. Not only was the offense moving the ball down the field, but also it appeared they were getting plays off quickly not letting the playclock reach twenty seconds. Maybe John Fox met up with Chip Kelly in the offseason, but there is no question that the Broncos want to move the ball this year. Granted the number one offense was going up against the number two defense but they looked great.
The offense behind Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler moved the ball down the field with relative ease on the first two drives. The offense was balanced between running and passing plays. Both sides of the offense were able to gain positive yards on almost every play. It was encouraging for the orange and blue fans in the stands to see the team score with ease after losing their last game in the Super Bowl 43-8.
There were a number of players today that played very well that you might not have expected. The Bronco with one of the best days in the scrimmage was CJ Anderson second year running back out of California. Anderson has appeared to make a strong recovery after a knee injury sidelined him last year. He was playing with a chip on his shoulder and was running downhill. He made a bunch of good runs in the scrimmage as he fights for the number two position with Hillman.
Ronnie Hillman was another Bronco that had a good scrimmage today. He broke a tackle with a spin move. Then a play or two later broke another tackle with a nice juke. He was definitely providing evidence as to why he keeps getting looks by different teams despite is downfalls in the running game.
Both backup quarterbacks, Brock Osweiler and Zac Dysert, played well and completed passes showing off their skills. Osweiler made a couple of throws that were perfect balls beating double coverage on occasion. He still showed some downside when he tried to force a ball between three defenders that was almost intercepted. Dysert from Miami Ohio looked good under center as well for the Broncos. He seemed to move through his progressions well making quick decisions for positive yards. Zac never really took any chance relying on his check down a lot but at the same time did make any big mistakes that hurt the offense. Both look to be quality backups if Denver fans’ nightmares ever come to fruition with Manning getting injured.
Rookie Cody Latimer from Indiana took reps with the second team wide receivers often going up against fellow rookie Bradley Roby out of Ohio State. It seemed to me a stale mate throughout the battle. Latimer ran a lot of good routes but never really got any looks. Many of the routes were underneath which never really allowed him to get into open space and make a play. Bradley Roby looked solid and poised to see the field this season. He was very impressive in press situations as well as lateral movement and changing direction. He is quite the athlete and I would expect to see him grab a bunch of playing time this upcoming season.
Bennie Fowler was another receiver that made a couple plays worth mentioning. One play in particular he was lined up to the right of the quarterback outside with the second team offense. He was going up against newly acquired Aqib Talib, which could prove to be a difficult task for a rookie. Fowler got off the line quickly ran a seven to five comeback and caught the ball on the sideline. Talib went low for the tackle and Fowler was able to juke inside, break the tackle, and get upfield to the one and a half yard line almost scoring a touchdown. He had a few other good plays as he hopes to see the field this year after coming off a good year at Michigan State.
Jacob Tamme had the play of the day without question on a touchdown scoring catch. The Broncos were on about the 15 or 20-yard line when Peyton snapped the ball and Tamme ran a fade into the endzone on the left side of the field. Peyton put the ball perfectly outside his shoulder near the front pylon. Tamme at full speed reached out one arm and reeled the ball in for a show-stopping web gem. Tamme looked very good and healthy make plays all over the field helping Manning look like the future Hall of Famer that he is.
The usual suspects looked good as expected in the first full contact scrimmage of the year. Demaryius Thomas made a catch on the left sideline, broke a tackle and cut inside getting about 8 yards after the catch. Emanuel Sanders made two catches in his limited time on the field looking fresh and quick.
One last interesting point to note is that the Broncos were kicking all of their point after touchdowns from the 15-yard line. This has been a topic of discussion in many NFL closed-door meetings suggesting that the current format is too easy and looking for a way to increase the difficulty of a PAT. Maybe the Broncos know something that we do not. Either way Prater probably kicked forty field goals from all over the field and did not miss one.
All in all the Broncos looked very good as expected in their free to the fans scrimmage at Mile High Field in Denver. The defense could be an area of concern as the season progresses but we will learn more as the preseason games commence.
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