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Published on 08/31/2012 at Fri Aug 31 09:00.
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Manning and Weber

Peyton Manning and Adam Weber at the Denver Broncos 2012 summer scrimmage. (BroncoTalk.net photo/Kyle Montgomery)

A collection of notes and nuggets from the Denver Broncos’ last-second 16-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the team’s Week Four 2012 preseason finale.

Caleb Hanie.

Where to begin? We were given the opportunity to critique Hanie for an entire half. The CSU product finished 7/13 for 75 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions, but he was sacked five times. On some of the sacks, Hanie simply didn’t stand a chance. His blockers did him no favors. On others, Hanie did himself no favors. Hanie didn’t separate himself from Brock Osweiler or Adam Weber Thursday night, so let’s just continue with John Elway’s strategy to date.

Stay healthy, Peyton Manning. There is no Plan B. Seriously, people.

Big Brock

Speaking of B’s, Brock Osweiler had a rough night. His early interception on 3rd and 8 was about as poor a throw as one could make. He locked onto his intended target, giving Cardinals DB Preston Upton every opportunity to jump the route. Even then Osweiler might have been able to save the play with a sideline throw over his receiver’s shoulder, but the rookie threw it short, all but guaranteeing the pick.

He made up for it later in the half with a 14-play, 94-yard drive that took seven minutes off the clock. Granted, the offense didn’t score a touchdown there or at any other point Thursday, but what I like about Brock — something he clearly has over Hanie — is his pocket presence. He can feel the pressure around him and take a half-step as necessary. His understanding of the game has to improve, but that will come with time.

Running for your NFL life

Knowshon Moreno

Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno, seen here wearing a knee brace on the first day of the team's training camp, July 26, 2012. (BroncoTalk.net photo)

Knowshon Moreno ran hard, and it just feels like the Broncos have invested too much in the former first round draft pick to cut ties now. His first two carries were for nine and ten yards each, and it set the stage for his entire night. Moreno was electric and gave absolute continued effort after every play. And that was with the second team offensive line going against Cardinals starters for part of the first half. He finished with an impressive 7.0-yard average on seven carries.

Ryan Harris’ second half redemption

That may have been Ryan Harris‘ last game as a Bronco, but he did everything he could in the second half to make up for a dreadful first.

First, the bad: Harris was beaten badly at right tackle in an early series, lasso-ing a Cardinal and yanking him to the ground from behind. He didn’t get called for the hold, but it was consistent with what I had seen from Harris this preseason and camp: a player who just isn’t the same as he once was. As the second quarter ended, he was pancaked moments before his quarterback, Caleb Hanie, suffered the same fate. Things were looking bad.

But then, the second half got underway, and Harris transformed. Flashes of the old Harris emerged. I saw him bend better, I saw him use his upper body strength to his advantage. I saw him use both speed and power to eliminate pass rushers from the Cardinals’ defensive equation. I’d like to take a look at the tape to verify what I saw, but Harris looked like a completely different player from one half to the next. If he makes the roster I have every intention of scouting him more closely from this game.

The other rookie defensive lineman

Malik Jackson has been overshadowed by higher draft pick Derek Wolfe (who didn’t play), but the fifth round draft pick had a great preseason finale. He Force-pushed Ryan Lindley for a sack late in the second quarter (“Look Ma, no hands”) and was around several other running plays otherwise. Lindley felt Jackson’s pressure again later that night, but didn’t yield the sack. Give Jackson a pressure for his effort, and also note that he was second on the team with four tackle.

Eight tackles in a half.

Danny Trevathan will be special.

The wrong side of the SportsCenter Top 10

Michael Floyd, that was ridiculous. Even Larry Fitzgerald called it a “circus catch.”

The Tony Carter Show

Tony Carter put on a show to finish the 2012 preseason… first the fastest player on the Broncos squad blurred past his teammates (including Matt Prater, who like like he was running in slow motion by comparison) to prevent what might have been a kickoff return by the Cardinals for a touchdown. Then he led the Broncos defense to forcing a Cardinals three-and-out, breaking up two passes in the series. He iced that cake with a ten-yard punt return moments later. Carter is on the bubbliest of roster bubbles, but that series definitely aided his cause.

Squid worth?

Syd’Quan Thompson – when you’re up, you’re way up (interception). When you’re down (last-minute bazillion yard throw over your head)… man. But let’s not lay all the blame on Squid… where was the safety on that play?

Whew.

Again, thank you Adam Weber.

Not all good

Let’s be real, the Broncos are lacking in depth at several positions, most notably (in my opinion) at offensive line and safety. None of the safeties look particularly better than the next, and the offensive line’s struggled beyond the ones have been well documented here and on the Broncos’ scoreboard (no touchdowns in three games). Quarterback isn’t the only position with no Plan B.

What were some of your notes from the game, good or bad? Who saved themselves a roster spot during the Broncos’ preseason finale? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Carter is faster than Thomas? I didn’t know that. We can’t give up that kind of speed on special teams. Considering how bad some of the depth is, this shouldn’t be a hard cut. So what if we go into games thin at DT, we can sign a replacement off a practice squad that’s just as good as what we would hold onto anyway.

    I like Lance Ball and J. Johnson but I hope we say goodbye to both of them. Moreno is the most complete back on the roster and really should be Peyton’s best friend in the backfield this year. Hillman is clearly the future if he can stay healthy and McGahee isn’t going anywhere until his legs officially give out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Smith/100001449854664 Steve Smith

    Ball would be a surprise cut, he does the little things that usually earns a roster spot (special teams, blocks, catches out of the backfield). He just doesn’t carry the ball well enough to get more than five carries a game. But I agree Moreno looks hungry for a guy that had knee surgery around 9 months ago.

  • DougEngland

    I think the Broncos have to risk going with only two QBs. Manning and Osweiler, and put Weber (who I actually like much better than Hanie) on the practice squad.

  • Big_Pete

    I agree.

  • TheTroglodyte

    That’s true but Moreno is as good of a blocker, a better runner, a better catcher. He just doesn’t play special teams. He also never had injury problems until the last 2 years so unless he gets hurt again, I’m more inclined to think those were fluke injuries.

    Moreno is somewhere in between The Edge and Addai in terms of skill sets. Ball just doesn’t bring anything special to the table so why have Morneo (slightly above average skill set) and Ball (very average skill set) on the same squad when you are going to carry 2 other RB’s as well.

  • fiercepika

    Totally agree. Since it’s a given that none of our backups could take this team through the playoffs, may as well clear space for guys who can contribute while Peyton’s healthy.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Adam Weber was the first one announced cut. Nice. I hope someone else picks him up and gives him a job.

  • anthony33

    Agree that Moreno had a decent night. But seriously, what is with the nonsense antics after he makes a decent run? It’s like he is on crack or something. Burns a lot of energy after the play is over.
    He has shown flashes for sure. Just a matter of time before he’s hurt IMO.
    I like the little bit I saw from Hillman.

  • anthony33

    Bummer… hope Hannie is on the list, dude stinks.

  • TheTroglodyte

    He’s just pumped to be healthy and on the field I think. If he is rushing like that, he’s welcome to keep doing it in my book. It’s not like it’s done in an unsportsman type manner.