The Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers clashed in the second week of the preseason Saturday night, and it was all Broncos from the beginning. Do not get me wrong, preseason is not a measuring stick for regular season success as your record will not denote Super Bowl chances, however, it was still nice to see a dominating performance from the Broncos. With two more games to go before things start to count, it is time to examine some takeaways to understand where things might stand.
Lynch vs. Siemian: Who has the upper hand?
We saw Paxton Lynch get the first crack at establishing himself as a strong candidate to start in Week 1. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned as Lynch struggled heavily, completing nine passes on thirteen attempts for only thirty-nine yards for 4.33 yards per completion. Talk about brutal. Trevor Siemian was another story. Siemian completed eight passes on eleven attempts for ninety-three yards and a touchdown for 11.62 yards per completion. Undrafted rookie Kyle Sloter even impressed completing seven of seven for fifty yards, and while head coach Vance Joseph explicitly stated that Sloter would not compete for the starting job, it is a great thing to see nonetheless. To me, it is pretty clear that Siemian has the handle on the starting job heading into Week 1 and things would have to go pretty south for him to lose it to Lynch. Trevor Siemian is the best option for the foreseeable future in Denver.
*It was reported earlier today that Trevor Siemiam will be the week 1 starter*
C.J. Anderson vs. De’Angelo Henderson: The Battle for Backfield Supremacy
Over the course of the first two weeks, the 6th round pick in this years NFL Draft De’Angelo Henderson has been the talk of the Mile-High City. In the first two games of the preseason, Henderson has rushed for eighty-four yards and a touchdown on thirteen carries, as well as hauling in three receptions. Anderson, on the other hand, has not been anywhere near as explosive only racking up a total of forty-five yards on twelve carries, to include a touchdown. The obvious belief is that C.J. Anderson will begin the season as the starting running back, however, if De’Angelo Henderson continues to shine in the preseason, we could be seeing quite a different tune come Week 1. It is an outlandish theory, I understand, but with Devonte Booker shelved to begin his 2017 season, it would not surprise me to see Henderson splitting the load with Anderson in the Broncos backfield. This battle is one to watch over the next couple of weeks.
Fourteen different players hauled in at least one reception vs San Francisco. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will obviously be the two main beneficiaries in that offense and there is no reason to break that down.
It has felt like the Broncos have recycled through a handful of tight ends ever since the glory days of the Peyton Manning/Julius Thomas connection. Currently, the team has Virgil Green, A.J. Derby, Jeff Heuerman, and newly drafted rookie Jake Butt out of Michigan who will begin the season on the injury list as he recovers from a torn ACL. Honestly, I do not have much to say on this position. I would expect Green and Derby to begin the season as the main guys until Butt can recover from his injury. Personally, I do not believe much in Heuerman, but if he can catch up and produce then that will just add another capable pass-catcher. If I am being completely honest, I expect Jake Butt to be the starter after he fully recovers and is acclimated to the offense, and as one of the most underrated tight ends in the draft class this year, this bodes well for the Broncos.
Obviously with two more preseason games to go there is a lot to work out. I believe that in each passing week as is the case with most teams, sans New York Jets (sorry Jets fans), that depth charts are falling into place for Week 1. It will be interesting to see how the chips fall and to see who will be leading Denver into battle to start their 2017 season.