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 HT: Matchups to watch tonight vs Redskins

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Standartinė chenyan94 » 2018 Lap 06, 08:41

The first two preseason games were all about individual evaluation White Matt Paradis Jersey , with the score being a secondary matter. Now as the Broncos travel to visit a familiar face in Washington, the focus shifts more toward team performance for the game that’s traditionally a dress rehearsal of the regular season.The Broncos’ starters are expected to play “at least” as much as they did last weekend, which probably translates to a full half of the 1st teamers and the 2s opening up the second half. With a bit more gameplanning & such happening, if still not to full scale, we’ll hopefully start to get a real idea of what to expect from the Broncos this season based on actual performance.Case Keenum vs the Redskins SecondaryKeenum had some hiccups to begin the game again last week, so the top item on my to-watch list tonight is how he performs in the opening drives. Some preseason jitters are okay, especially when you’re the starting QB for the first time and suited up for a team you rooted for growing up. But it’s time for Keenum to settle down & start showing the steadiness, decisiveness, and accuracy that defined him last season with the Vikings.The Redskins do have Josh Norman at corner, but outside of him the most notable guy in their secondary is DJ Swearinger... and he’s only memorable because he pissed Peyton Manning off enough that the Sheriff cussed him out to his face after burning him for a touchdown in preseason action 4 years ago. As a whole, this unit can’t stand up to Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, and... you get the idea. There’ll be opportunities. Keenum needs to do a better job of exploiting them early this week.Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsChad Kelly vs the Phantom QuarterbackI think that if you asked the fans to make the call, Chad Kelly would already officially be the Broncos’ backup quarterback for 2018. But the team itself has so far refused to commit to that course of action- which is understandable. There’s not much reason for them to commit to one backup over another before they really have to.Kelly’s play last week vs the Bears silenced any fears that he might not be able to handle the increased level of competition with the 2s. Now, in order to secure his role as the backup for this season, he’s got to prove that he can perform consistently from game to game by tearing up the opposing secondary for a third straight week. If he does that, there’s no reason to think his future in Denver is anything but secure. If he can’t do that, he opens the door labeled “Sign a veteran backup” and possibly delays his own development. The stakes are high for Kelly, but he seems like a guy who does his best work in the spotlight.Broncos Secondary vs Alex SmithSmith is a familiar foe for the Broncos’ secondary, and one who’s coming off of a career year and an MVP-caliber season. Is the Broncos’ secondary as vulnerable as it has, at times, seemed? Can Smith continue the standard of play he set for himself in his last season in Kansas City? And can he do it in spite of the significantly reduced talent the Redskins have surrounded him with compared to what he enjoyed in 2017?It’s a legit sample size of action against an established NFL QB. The results should prove interesting.Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY SportsRoyce Freeman vs Devontae BookerSo far, Devontae Booker is still nominally the Broncos’ starting running back. But the general consensus in Broncos Country & around the league is that Freeman will be the #1 guy when the Seahawks come to town in a few weeks to open up the regular season. Freeman’s had a pretty nice preseason, and this is his opportunity to seize control of the starting role. It’s also likely Booker’s last, best chance to try and defend it. Can he be more than the guy who fell short when asked to take on the bellcow role after C.J. Anderson went down in 2016?Broncos interior pass rush vs Redskins Offensive LineIf the 2017 Broncos defense had an achilles heel (other than that nagging issue with covering tight ends & running backs), it was a stark lack of interior pressure. QBs were able to consistently step up in the pocket and minimize the impact of guys like Von Miller & Shaquil Barrett. So far this preseason, the Broncos’ front 7 looks to be doing better on that front. DeMarcus Walker, Adam Gotsis, and a healthy Derek Wolfe will look to limit QBs’ evasion options this season. And if they’re successful, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb will snack on tackles and feast on QBs.Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsBilly Turner vs Cyrus KouandjioTurner tends to get a lot more press Youth Darian Stewart Jersey , but that doesn’t mean the battle for the swing tackle job is over by any stretch of the imagination. Turner struggled last week, allowing a critical sack that knocked the Broncos’ 3rd team offense out of field goal range, and being saved from allowing another by Chad Kelly zipping the ball out quickly on what became the 16 yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton.He has serious competition from Kouandjio, who joined the Broncos last November and started the Week 17 game at right tackle in place of Watson & Stephenson. Kouandjio’s a former 2nd round pick who had a rough start to his career, but has played pretty decently when he’s on the field. And he held his own as the 2nd string left tackle last week vs the Bears.For what it’s worth, my money is Kouandjio.Paxton Lynch vs IrrelevanceLast week, I wrote this about Paxton: “If he doesn’t dominate at this lowest level of NFL competition, though? Yikes.”Well, folks.... Yikes.Lynch ended well vs the Bears, nearly leading a field goal drive to win the game. It’s certainly not his fault that Isaiah McKenzie fumbled away Lynch’s opportunity or that the Bears played a 10 year veteran backup QB vs the Broncos’ 3rd & 4th stringers. But it is very much his fault that he led the 3rd team to zero points at any time prior to that drive and played a big part in opening the door for the Bears’ comeback. It’s his fault that he didn’t dominate the lowest level of NFL competition.Now, Vance Joseph won’t even commit to playing Lynch in the 3rd preseason game. If that happens & Lynch doesn’t see the field tonight, then stick a fork in him. He’ll be officially done in Denver. That said, expect to see him in the 4th quarter for a meaningless drive or two. If he didn’t get that much, the Broncos would be torpedoing any trade value he still has themselves rather than taking the bad gamble that he won’t lower it too much more during those couple of drives.Horse TracksNFL preseason 2018: Highlights and results from Week 3 - SBNation.comGet caught up with all the action from the preseason’s penultimate week.NFL preseason 2018: 7 storylines to watch in dress rehearsal Week 3 - SBNation.comWeek 3 of the preseason is when teams actually give their starters meaningful minutes.NFL breakout players 2018: Predicting the next big thing for all 32 teams - SBNation.comRetired NFL defensive end Stephen White has been grinding tape all summer to figure out which players are poised for a big leap forward in 2018.NFL free agents 2018: 5 players who need to be signed before Week 1 - SBNation.comNFL teams will continue making moves as the season approaches, and while most of those moves will be cuts, there are still a few players we’re hoping to see signed before the regular season begins.Hard Knocks: Hue Jackson tells Dez Bryant the Browns will make the ‘biggest turnaround in sports history’ - SBNation.comThe latest episode of HBO’s "Hard Knocks" features excerpts from the meeting between free agent Dez Bryant and Browns coach Hue Jackson.Browns OL coach Bob Wylie is weird, wonderful and he’s our new dad - SBNation.comBob Wylie is our new emperor.What we learned from Browns' victory over Eagles - NFL.comPreseason games are rarely exquisite exhibitions of football elegance, but Thursday's Week 3 kickoff between the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns was a rather uglier than normal August affair.That said, "Shutout victory" is a phrase so alien for the Browns that you can't help but take notice.Denzel Ward suffers back injury during Browns' win - NFL.comCleveland Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward left for the locker room after suffering an undisclosed injury during the first quarter of Thursday's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.Steelers erect tarp to prevent against 'drones' - NFL.comWhen asked Thursday by reporters about the construction of a tarp hanging at the end of one of the end zones at the team's facility, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin offered an enigmatic explanation.Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt named HOF contributor finalists - NFL.comDenver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt have been selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Contributors Committee as the two contributor finalists for the Class of 2019.Raiders waive 2017 second-rounder Obi Melifonwu - NFL.comOakland waived/injured 2017 second-round selection Obi Melifonwu on Thursday while simultaneously confirming the signing of veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.Ranking the five most and least enviable QB situations in the NFL - NFL.comGil Brandt identifies the five most and least enviable QB situations in the NFL. Just how lucky are the Eagles to have both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles on their roster?(Fair warning, this one’s included mostly for the interesting topic. The post itself & several of the selections made in it are hilariously terrible.)Broncos fight through bad play for huge comeback win, big confidence boost Von Miller has a new nickname for his quarterback.Case Key-Man.Well, he’s trying to make it a nickname.“That’s our guy, ‘The Case Keeman.’ I love that guy,” Miller said. “I know his name is Keenum. It was just a joke. Nobody laughed, but it’s all good.”What wasn’t a joke was how key Keenum actually was to the comeback in the second half yesterday.It took clutch plays from both sides of the ball - including a huge third-down stop by the defense to give the Broncos a chance for a winning score - but the linchpin in the entire comeback, was Case Key-Man (helping you here, Von!), who was 14/24 with one rushing touchdown in the second half after an abysmal 5/11 with one INT in the first.“[Raiders] played good football in the first half, and we didn’t,” head coach Vance Joseph noted White Demaryius Thomas Jersey , adding the offense got more aggressive in the second half. “We had to be more aggressive — take more shots down the field — and that made them a little softer in the second half. Our guys kept fighting, kept playing and played through adversity and won a football game.”The Broncos’ drive chart in the first half was embarrassing - four punts in a row, an interception, a fifth punt, and then, in an amazing waste of game clock, the Broncos ended their final drive of the first half unable to even attempt a field goal because time just ran out.But the second half was a completely different story. A gloriously different story.Every drive ended in a score, including a ballsy QB sneak on 4th-and-1 at the goal line, and of course, the game-winning field goal with just seconds on the clock.From player performance to coaching decisions, the second half was a fan’s dream comeback scenario.Joseph said after the game that the decision to go for the TD rather than easy points in that third drive to close the deficit 19-17 wasn’t a tough call to make at all.“No, I told Billy, once we got inside of the 10-yard line, it was four-down territory,” Joseph said. “Taking the points there wouldn’t have worked. It would have been a loss for us today. Obviously, Case is a tough guy, and he wants to win and that was the best play to call.”Miller and his defense went to work to keep the Raiders from getting another score, but it took the defense 11 plays and a challenged spot to do it.“We were just trying to get off the field,” Miller said. “They had been doing a great job of running the ball and following it with play-action passes and quick passes. So we just wanted to get off the field, and we were able to do it.”With 1:58 left in the game, the Broncos offense had its chance. And Key-Man & Co. were up to the task. Jake Butt noted that the crew was just “business as usual” even.Thanks to a holding call on the first play from the Broncos’ own 20, the offense started back at its 10. On 2nd-and-20, Emmanuel Sanders showed what superstars do, making a 21-yard play for the first down. A couple of incompletes sprinkled with a 14-yard catch by Courtland Sutton and a 7-yard scramble by Keenum had the Broncos at 3rd-and-3 with 26 seconds to go. A four-yard pass to Jeff Heuerman gave the Broncos a first down, and two plays later Tim Patrick gave the Broncos another one - plus 26 yards and a heads-up play out-of-bounds.“It’s something that we’ve been practicing all the way back to Spring - the two-minute, these kind of situations,” Butt said. “V.J. has done a hell of a job at putting us in bunches of different situations: down six, down three, down two. We’ve been in situations like this before, so everybody was calm. Let’s just find a way to win. That’s what we did.”The rest is history as Brandon McManus nailed his 36-yarder for the one-point win, 20-19 with 10 seconds on the clock.“It wasn’t just Case. It was Jeff Heuerman getting out of bounds. It was Emmanuel Sanders bringing the ball into the ref, into the hash. The clock’s running. ‘81 ,’ Tim Patrick, running out of bounds. That was a huge play for us,” Joseph said of the team effort on the final drive. “We meet every Friday about two-minute offense, being smart with the ball and our guys came through. It was fun to watch.”Although Keenum led the comeback, he would probably decline the “key-man” nickname.“There are some incredible guys that never quit. Never quit,” Keenum said after the game. “I love that about them. We have great, great chemistry going right now with those guys. No matter what, I don’t think anyone points a finger at any one person. We just keep plugging along. We’re capable, we know we can do it, and it was just a testament to everyone’s grit and the hard work we put in.”And that means the defense too. Without Shaq Barrett’s blocked point after, without the relentless effort to hold Marshawn Lynch to a 3.6 yard per carry average, without Justin Simmons’ eight tackles (many on Jared Cook), without Miller’s one sack...the offense would likely never have had time to catch up.“We had confidence,” Chris Harris Jr. said of the offense’s chances to win. “Once we get that stop we just had to give them around two minutes to go score. I realized once we got that stop, it was over for them. They couldn’t guard us.”Harris Jr. pointed out that both offense and defense need a better start, but he liked the resolve that the Broncos showed.“We put so much work in as a team. We just decided together that we were going to play as one. Regardless of what adversity happens, we’re going to stick together and always have full confidence,” the cornerback said. “Offense only had one first down in the first half, but we knew they were going to come back in the second half and put on a show.”Domata Peko, whose energy could be felt all over Mile High, was ecstatic over that show.“That was awesome. Big play by Tim. ...It’s really good to see our team doing that. Playmakers making plays from the youngest guys to the older guys. It’s amazing,” he said. “It was a big win for us; division game, being down, fighting our way back up, and climbing back up for the W. Those are the type of wins you really love. When you are down and everyone thinks you’re out, but you climb out of it and you push and everyone believes in each other. It was a great win for us. Big shout to my defensive line, every one of them. We all played our tails off today.”Steve Atwater noted on Twitter that fighting through a bad day can be a great lesson early in the season.“Close games help show teams if they can overcome adversity or not,” he tweeted. “I think we got better by experiencing a rough day and coming out victorious.”Miller would certainly agree with that.“I agree with you 100 percent,” Miller said about having clutch play on both sides of the ball when it mattered. “We’re feeling pretty good just about the overall win today. Whenever you win, especially a team win like this, it’s just a great win. It’s great for the organization.”
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