Saturday, August 22, 2009

Broncos Gameday Recap: Preseason Game #2 - at Seahawks

Kyle Orton isn't a great quarterback, but he isn't as bad as he looked last week. He had an okay bordering on good game, save for a few plays where was truly abysmal.

Only in the NFL preseason can you lose a game by 1 point and feel like your team is doomed, and then lose a game by 14 the next week and feel slightly hopeful. The Broncos showed glimpses of the possibility that they will be sharp and well coached. They looked especially solid in the first half when traditionally the players that matter are in the game during the preseason.

Kyle Orton looked like a competent NFL quarterback for much of the evening. Although for the second straight game he did throw a terrible pass on 2nd and Goal at the three on the opening drive, this time it didn't cost him. The ball could have been intercepted, but it fell harmlessly to the turf and Kyle proceeded to toss the ball to Brandon Stokley for a TD on the next play. He also is beginning to display a tendency to really let the play clock wind down, which may be coaching or it may just be that he is a bit of a poky puppy.

One of the better moments of the game for the Broncos, as Brandon Stokley hauls in a 3 yard touchdown pass from Kyle Orton.

Other than that opening drive, Orton was steady if not spectacular with a few plays that were notable exceptions. He dinked and dunked his way down the field and generated a drive which resulted in a 53 yard Prater field goal and another nice long 86 yard drive which got them inside the 5 before Orton embraced his inner Jake Plummer and tossed an interception into the end zone with his left hand. (Yeah, he's not left handed.) This play was at least somewhat forgivable, because the Broncos tried to punch it into the end zone on 4th down, and if he didn't at least try to do something, the Seahawks would have had the ball anyway.

Peyton Hillis continues to be a preseason bright spot.

Peyton Hillis continued to look solid, with a long screen play that got called back due to a totally unnecessary Ryan Clady chop block. He also had an impressive first down conversion on a 3rd and 1 with an effort where he should have lost yards but he refused to go down without converting. Lamont Jordan didn't prove much other than even at only 5'10, he is still one large dude. Seriously, that guy is wide. Running back by large committee appears to mean that in actuality they don't really have any good running backs. Knowshon better be the real deal.

Matt Prater proved that he can do a good squib kick kickoff and also that he is still money from long distance with a 53 yard field goal. Although he didn't get a chance to dispel thoughts that he is still shaky on those pesky 28 yarders, although to be fair it doesn't appear like the Broncos will get into close enough position for short field goal on a regular basis anyway, so he may just be the perfect kicker for Denver.

Although, I do have to say that for awhile you could feel like McDaniels was running a solid ship. The first quarter left Broncos fans feeling a bit hopeful, although that feeling dissipated quickly as the Seahawks rattled off 20 straight points. There was that brief shining moment when the Donkeys held the lead, but that early confidence vanished into a fog of fluke fumbles and bad play, the the time the third quarter ended, the Broncos looked like a team looking for a soft place to land.

Positives from the game: Not a whole lot, but more than we had last week. Orton showed flashes of effectiveness, and the Broncos looked like a confident team for the second half of the first quarter. When the most important players were in the game, the Broncos were at their best, which has to be at least slightly encouraging.

Also what can be spun as a positive is that the Broncos were far from full strength, as they were without the services of key contributors such as Knowshon Moreno, Brian Dawkins, and the mercurial Brandon Marshall. One would think that these talented players will help once they are back on the field, although the jury is still out on Marshall.

Hasselbeck did get hurried and even sacked several times, which is nice.

The final positive is that the defense was getting pressure on the quarterback for the second straight preseason game. Matt Hasselbeck went down three times in the first half. Hopefully they can keep getting into the backfield like this, as that can only help the defensive scheme.

Negatives from the game: Lots and lots of turnovers, for the second straight week Denver coughed it up thrice and failed to take it away even once. After two preseason games, they are a rather unsightly minus 6 in the turnover department which makes it rather tough to win games.

The Defense was solid at times, but they also looked pretty weak more often than not. Sloppy tackling and defensive positioning, no turnovers created, and the fact that they gave up a go ahead TD to Seattle with only nine seconds remaining in the first half were all discouraging. The Defense looked very similar to the paper thin unit they fielded last season.

Andre' Goodman gets burned for a 34 yard touchdown as Matt Hasselbeck connected with Deon Butler.

Another negative is that Chris Simms tweaked his leg, and Tom Brandenstater looked very much like a 3rd (or 4th or 5th) stringer. No news has been released as of yet that I have seen on Simms injury, and it's probably not major, but it's not like Denver is stacked at the quarterback position, so hopefully Chris is okay.

In the end, the game doesn't matter, but you'd like to see your team putting it together a little better after two exhibition games. The 27-13 loss is barely even a footnote to this season, and there were definitely a few signs of life, but they still aren't showing much to dissuade me from my predictions of gloom and doom.

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