Broncos’ 17-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, there were both winners and losers
Overall, the Broncos had a really good night, but we do have some players and positional groups who didn’t play that well.
The Denver Broncos resumed their dominance over the Cowboys by defeating them 17-7 in their first preseason game after crushing them during their joint practice on Thursday. It was a fairly one-sided performance by the Broncos as they managed to hold them to a shutout until the very end of the game.
There were plenty of standout players in this game who helped their chances of making the 53-man roster while others will need a bounce-back performance next week. So let us take a look at which players came out of this victory as a winner or as a loser.
Winner – EDGE Baron Browning
Baron Browning, an edge rusher, is most likely the greatest winner from last night’s game. He appeared to be as excellent as claimed and to be someone who will compete for some important snaps this coming season.
Browning flashed his speed, athleticism, strength, versatility, and Von Miller-like bend in this game. He was disruptive and looks like someone who could be a potential starter for the Broncos at some point this upcoming season
I think he outperformed Malik Reed as well and could be pushing to be the third edge rusher and potentially forcing the Broncos to create packages to get Browning, Chubb, and Gregory all on the field at the same time.
Given that Browning only made the switch this offseason, it’s thrilling to see him gel as an edge rusher. He will likely be listed in these postings as a winner in the following preseason games and should only grow better from here on out.
Losers – Broncos running game
Getting pumped up for the preseason running back darling who destroys second and third team defenses is one of my favorite preseason activities. That, however, absolutely did not occur during the introduction.
They had 22 rushing attempts for a measly 39 yards. The Broncos’ four running backs averaged 1.8 yards per carry as well which is not good. One of the issues was that the second-team offensive line was not creating rushing lanes which is a problem in itself and/or the backs couldn’t find the hole and create yardage on their own.
Mike Boone had three rushes for -1 yards, Max Borghild had 4 carries for 10 yards, Jaquan Hardy had 5 carries for 13 yards while Stevie Scott led the Broncos in carries and yards by totaling 20 yards on 6 carries.
Obviously, not the best showing and we could potentially see a few changes among this group after this poor showing. Sure, Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon were not out there with the rest of the Broncos starting offensive line, but you still want to see better from this unit.
Seth Williams, Brandon Johnson, Kendall Hinton, and Jalen Virgil, all wide receivers, won.
After losing Tim Patrick to a season-ending ACL injury, the big question was who would replace his role with the team? Well, the Broncos appear to be loaded at the position as multiple receivers turned heads during this game.
Jalen Virgil, a rookie receiver, led the club in receptions with three for 83 yards, and Brandon Johnson added four for 64 yards. Kendall Hinton, a future Hall of Fame receiver, scored a stunning touchdown catch and finished with three receptions for 53 yards. Seth Williams, a large wide receiver, also had four grabs for 29 yards, including a spectacular goal line fade in which he used his stature to block the defender and high point the ball.
The competition for the last two or three roster places is between Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Montrell Washington, who are all guaranteed spots. With 4 or 5 receivers left, it will be difficult to decide who will make the roster and who won’t.
Loser – Punter Corliss Waitman
One of the roster battles I was keeping an eye on was the Broncos punting competition between Sam Martin and Corliss Waitman. Well, through one preseason game, it appears that Sam Martin still is the favorite for the punting job.
Both punters had two punts and Martin outperformed Waitman in pretty much all categories. Martin had two punts for 101 yards, a 50.5 average, one down inside the 20, and a long of 52 yards. Meanwhile, Waitman had two punts for 75 yards, an average of 37.5 yards, one down inside the 20, and a long of 41 yards.
With Martin being a veteran and a pretty solid overall punter, Waitman needs to really outperform him or at least equal him to really push for his job. That didn’t happen last night and Martin appears to be the Broncos punter this upcoming season.
Winner – QB Josh Johnson
Another battle I was keeping an eye on was the Broncos’ backup quarterback competition. Veteran journeyman Josh Johnson got the start last night and after a slow start, he really turned it on and had himself a pretty solid game overall.
Though he was aided by the Cowboys’ penalties, Johnson completed 16 of 23 passes for 172 yards for two touchdowns and had a quarterback rating of 120.2. That’s pretty damn good and about what you hope to get from your backup starting the preseason opener.
Although he was far from perfect, I liked how he stretched several plays, created plays while moving, and appeared composed in the pocket as the rush approached him.
The backup position could use improvement for the Broncos, but hopefully the backup will only play in routs of the Chiefs.