The Denver Broncos open the preseason on Thursday night versus the Seattle Seahawks and believe it or not, that’s all it is. It’s a preseason opener; it’s not a revenge game, it’s not even a big preseason game. It’s a game for the Broncos to look at the back end of the roster in an effort to get ready for the regular season.
Some in the media and many fans have framed this game as a huge measuring stick for the Broncos, I’m not buying it. The starters on both sides are likely to play a series or two and neither team has game planned for this game. I suppose you can look at the physical aspect of the game and see how the Broncos matchup, but even that’s dangerous.
I have no doubt that some of the Broncos’ players will see the Seahawks and get a little more pumped than they normally would for a first preseason game, but let’s not pretend it’s going to feel like a re-match of the Super Bowl. It’s the first preseason game and that’s what it’s going to look like.
Let me ask Broncos’ fans a couple of questions; if the Broncos win, are you really going to feel better about the loss in the Super Bowl? Secondly if the Broncos lose, are you going to give up on the season because they lost? My guess is the answer to both questions is no.
Save the “revenge” talk for the third week of the regular season, but even then it would be foolish. The only way the Broncos and their fans are ever going to get revenge is by beating the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, and we’re a long way from that. So please stop with all the nonsense and look at Thursday’s game for what it is, the first of four preseason games.
Now just because the outcome of the game does not matter; there are things to look for and they would be the same things regardless of who the opponent was. Here are a few legitimate things to watch for on Thursday night.
- Brock Osweiler: The third year quarterback is going to play a lot in the first two weeks of the preseason. Watch his development; is he getting rid of the ball on time, it he moving the offense and is he making the right decisions.
- Running backs: Is Ronnie Hillman finally ready to assume the role of a change of pace back and can he hang onto the football. Who will step up and win the job as the fourth running back?
- Defensive line: Will the first team dominate another opponent just as they have in practice, and can they begin to generate a pass rush without blitzing? In addition, which defensive lineman will emerge and win the backup jobs?
- Rookies: Keep an eye on Bradley Roby, Cody Latimer and Lamin Barrow. The Broncos are counting on all of these players to contribute in 2014 and Thursday is their first test.
- Defensive attitude: Even in a preseason game, the Broncos want to see a more aggressive attitude on the defensive side of the ball. That should be noticeable with the naked eye.
- Running game: A key to the Broncos success this season is their ability to run the ball better. The Seahawks will provide an excellent test for the running game and the young backs.
- Stay healthy: In reality, this is the only thing that matters.
Those are some of the things to keep in mind as you watch the game on Thursday night. I could care less if the Broncos win or not; I care about looking at individuals and specific areas of the game.
Yes it’s the Seahawks and I understand the wounds that are still fresh, but it’s a game in August and that’s how it should be treated.