The Denver Broncos spent the last five days sharing their field with the Chicago Bears.
There were scuffles, there were questionable performances from the Chicago side, notably Cody Whitehair’s difficulty in connecting with Mitchell Trubisky on shotgun snaps. There was video (thanks to our friends at Predominantly Orange) of Emmanuel Sanders embarrassing Chicago cornerback Kyle Fuller.
"“We’re out here to get better. We’re not out here to grind each other down or ruin each other’s season, because if somebody gets hurt out here you’re taking food out of their mouths, their family’s mouths, their kids’ mouths, everybody’s mouth. You have to take care of each other and keep each other healthy.”"
The joint practices were productive and saw good performances from the Denver defensive front-seven as well as several standout performances from the offensive backfield and wideout spots.
Jeff Heuerman had a strong week in practice and carried that into Saturday’s game. Heuerman, battling injury for much of his 3-years in the NFL is showing the impact he can have. Of particular note, Jeff caught a pass from Broncos starting QB Case Keenum in the left flat and straight threw a Bears defender off of him. In a previous possession, the Broncos TE lowered the boom on a Bears DB after a catch. Heuerman has not been promoted as a Gronk/Olsen type guy but Saturday’s game paints a different picture.
Isaiah McKenzie fumbled albeit not on a punt return. Hopefully the wiggle he’s shown from the PR spot is enough considering he’s been overtaken in the WR ranks.
The worst news of the night came in the form of injury to starting safety Will Parks. There was a scare after he remained on the field for an extended time after the play near the end of the first quarter. He eventually was helped up and walked off the field, aided and gingerly. Coach Vance Joseph, after the game, revealed that Parks did not suffer structural damage and that the injury was a “contusion”. A relief with backup safety Jamal Carter going on IR this week with a hamstring,.
There was a game, which Denver lost 24-23 but there were many takeaways and the loss wasn’t a concern. Let’s look at some things that stood out: