Posted Sat Aug 18th by Jonathan Douglas
Unfortunately, I don’t live in Denver or Colorado or any state nearby in fact. That means I don’t have local TV coverage of the Bronco’s. And that means I won’t be able to see our second preseason game tonight against the Dallas Cowboys until tomorrow afternoon when the NFL Network replays the game.
And since I want to watch the game before reading anyone else’s opinions or analysis, I will be imposing an internet-ban on myself from tonight until tomorrow evening. That means no surfing the net, checking email or blogging for 24 hours… ouch!
Here is what I’m looking forward to when I do get to see the game.
1. First look for 2007 — Brandon Marshall, Matt Lepsis and Tony Scheffler will all be making their 2007 preseason debut tonight. I’m very interested in how this impacts our offense — specifically Marshall and Scheffler. Both were favorite Cutler targets and I would be surprised if Shanahan doesn’t try to get them some touches tonight. Add Javon Walker and Daniel Graham to the mix, we could see a very explosive passing game. It will be interesting to see Cutler’s decision making skills tonight when he finally has some options.
2. Our banged up O-line (Zombie Line) — We have a VERY depleted O-line right now. Ryan Harris just went in for back surgery, Ben Hamilton is still out with a concussion, Adam Meadows has a very bad calf strain and Jacob Rogers is also being held out of the game.
Our starting line-up tonight will likely be as follows: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Chris Myers, C Tom Nalen, RG Montrae Holland, RT Erik Pears.
However, it’s the 2nd Team line-up that gets interesting. Lepsis and Nalen will be benched at the beginning of the second quarter, leaving Patrick Ramsey with a line-up that could include the likes of Cliff Washburn, a 27-year-old, converted basketball player from The Citadel who never has played in an NFL game and tight end turned tackle Chad Mustard.
“To be honest with you, it’s always a good test for some of our younger guys. You get a chance to see them against their starters, and we’ll get a chance to get good evaluation if that’s the case.”
— Mike Shanahan 8/17/07
But for me the biggest name to watch tonight will be Chris Kuper. He lost his starting job to Montrae Holland in the last week of camp. In the game tonight he will get enough playing time to prove to the coaches he can get the job done. Kuper needs a good game tonight — and he knows it.
3. Improvement against the run — After the cheese-cloth run defense we saw last weekend, we need to see some improvement up front against Dallas. Bates and Johnson have had another week to focus on this and I would be surprised if we don’t see some major strides in this department. I know it was something they worked on in practice, so now we need to see it on the field.
4. Special Team not Special Olympics — OK, that’s too harsh. But still, the biggest hole in our special teams unit last year was Kick-off coverage. Last week we gave up BIG yardage in that area again. We need to see some guys step up and TACKLE tonight in both punt and kick-off coverage.
5. Linebacker Line-up — Both Webster and Lewis showed us they can play last week. This week, we’ll see if one of them separates themselves as a starter. We’ll also get to another look at listed starter Louis Green and maybe we’ll see what the coaches saw before he got dinged up at the end of camp.
And Finally, I’m waiting for my highlight footage from D.J. Williams. I expected it against SF, but I’ll take it anytime during the preseason. I really just want to see DJ blow someone up! I want something that ESPN and the NFL Network will replay all week from our new starting MIKE LB — I’m not asking for much! :)
SOME OTHER THINGS TO WATCH:
Travis Henry running people over!
Patrick Ramsey and our other backup QB’s getting better — not perfect, but getting better.
Morgan and Hixon continuing to work the passing game as well as returning.
Champ vs TO — OK, it’s silly. But I like the idea of two position experts squaring off against each other.
Back-up RB’s — While I look forward to seeing Sapp and Bell tonight, I’m sad Andre Hall is still suffering with that hamstring injury. I really wanted to see him get on the field and show what he can do in a game-day environment.
NOTE: Most importantly, we want to get through this preseason without injury. It won’t do the team any good to win this game if we lose an important starter for the regular season.