You Got Served: Are the Broncos using the right defensive scheme?

The question of the day is whether Mark Kiszla knows what he’s talking about, when it comes to football.

Are you done laughing yet?

I’ll wait. 

Okay then, welcome back.  Since we know the answer is that he doesn’t know anything beyond the most basic level, we can pat him on the head like a good little dullard, and at least explore whether the basic point he was making is valid.

Kiszla thinks the Broncos have better personnel to play a 3-4 than they do a 4-3.  If you’ve read this site for long, you know that there’s no monolithic 3-4 that half the NFL uses, and there’s similarly no monolithic 4-3 in use by the other half.  There are 3-4’s that play like traditional 4-3’s (such as Houston and Dallas), 4-3’s that play like traditional 3-4’s (like Seattle and Miami), and then there are teams that play both fronts, most notably New England and Baltimore.

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Lights out, Merriman Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! A hamstring injury has prevented third-round pick Ronnie Hillman from playing this preseason, but he returned to practice yesterday and is hoping to play during Sunday afternoon's home game against the 49ers.

Hillman admits he's not quite back to full speed yet; Quinton Carter practiced after missing almost all of training camp, although his work was restricted to individual drills.

Another youngster, Danny Trevathan, returned after missing last week with an ankle injury, and Tracy Porter was back from illness.

However, veterans Jim Leonhard and Keith Brooking are still not practicing; Leonhard remains on the active PUP list, while Brooking suffered a hamstring injury shortly after joining the team. Both players worked with strength coach Luke Richesson yesterday and are unlikely to play in either of Denver's remaining preseason games. The guess here is Leonhard ends up on the regular PUP list, while Brooking doesn't make the final 53 (it's unlikely either of them received any guarantees in their contracts).

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Bite-size nuggets: Pontificatin’ on officiatin’

Happy Monday, friends.  As I did my morning commute today, I was thinking about bad officiating and the lockout of the real NFL officials.  Since I got so much practice analyzing labor actions last year, and since I’m trying to serve up some bite-size hors d’ oeuvres (pronounced “whores divorce” in my best Andrew Dice Clay voice) I decided to scribble some thoughts in purple crayon for y’all.

First things first – the officiating has been atrocious in every preseason NFL game I’ve seen.  They’ve been getting a lot of stuff wrong, from spotting the ball, to speaking into a microphone, to being able to see the game at the speed at which it’s played.

It’s a mess, and it’s not these underqualified officials’ fault, really.  Mark my words: If they’re still officiating games come the regular season, they’re going to negatively affect playoff positioning.

The question is whether the evident suckitude of the officiating gives the locked out refs any leverage.  I initially thought it might, but it seems like it isn’t having that effect.  The dynamics in play are clearly pretty different than they were with the players.

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Broncos get four players back from injury/illness

After several weeks chock full of disappointing injury news, the Broncos finally got some players back for practice today.

Safety Quinton Carter, who had missed almost all of training camp, was back in action today; cornerback Tracy Porter, linebacker Danny Trevathan, and running back Ronnie Hillman also returned to practice.

Updated 3:51pm ET

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Six Broncos among Scouts Inc.‘s Top 200

ESPN's Scouts Inc. group has released its NFL evaluations for 2012, with six Broncos ranking among its top 200 graded players (Insider).

Peyton Manning (16), Von Miller (32), Ryan Clady (64), Champ Bailey (90), Elvis Dumervil (115), and D.J. Williams (185) all made the cut, while Chris Kuper appears to have just missed out (the last four players in the top 200 had grades of 79, which is what Kuper scored).

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A Second Helping of David Bruton vs the Seahawks

For the past three seasons, David Bruton has toiled in relative obscurity for the Denver Broncos. Despite being arguably their best special teamer, the fact that he doesn’t start at safety has led to his game sometimes being dissed and other times being ignored outright.

Early in training camp some people were already counting him off the final roster. During the Seattle game on Saturday night, Bruton showed what a mistake that view has been.

When Denver selected David 114th overall in 2009, they did so partly on the basis of his 4.46 speed, and also for his leadership; Bruton had been a captain during his senior season. He was commonly described as ‘raw’ back then, and the draftniks’ book on him was that he could be an excellent special teams player immediately and might develop the chops to start at safety over time. He’s become a force on special teams since then, working as the personal escort of the returner on some plays and as a gunner on others.

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Jim Miller logic fail Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! For those of us who suffered through Bears booth man Jim Miller's analysis of the preseason opener, it's no surprise the dummy declared there should be a QB controversy in Washington between RG3 and Kirk Cousins.

Of course, his reasoning is that Cousins is a winner, which is also the term he used while fluffing Bears QB Matt Blanchard. Something to the effect of, "He's on the Bears because he's a winner."

Mind you, Blanchard was a Division III quarterback, so do you think anyone would ever have even looked at his tape were he not winning at the DIII level? And BTW, the backup Denver defenders who got torched on Saturday night sacked Blanchard three times and picked him off once.

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Peyton progressing just fine, thank you Lard

Good Morning/Afternoon, Broncos fans! If you happened to watch last night's 30-10 loss to the Seahawks (BTV, NFLN) in its entirety, or if you saw none of it and instead just checked the box score, it would be quite easy to be discouraged by Denver's performance.

The closing half was so boring and lopsided that it made the fine play of Peyton Manning and the Broncos defense in the first 30 minutes almost fade from memory, and, well, there's that score.

Yet in the same way that last week's 31-3 win over the Bears didn't engender Super Bowl predictions, last night should be no cause for great concern.

Indeed, there were the three turnovers - each a terrible mistake by Zane Beadles, Manning, and Lance Ball - while purported PMFM security blanket Jacob Tamme dropped a pair of passes, including an easy would-be touchdown pass. Brock Osweiler and the second-team offense failed to move the ball (37 net yards and a lonely one first down), and the second- and third-team defenses gave up big play after big play to Russell Wilson and Co.

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Gut Reaction: Preseason Week 2 - Broncos vs Seahawks

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It was a great first half, it was a second half I can't remember.

Week 2 of the preseason is officially in the can. And what have we learned?

Depth could be an issue with the Broncos in 2012.  Injuries have already taken their toll.

It seems it's the scoreboard's turn now.

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Open Thread: Preseason Week 2 Broncos vs. Seahawks

Enjoy the game, and Go Broncos!

Tracy Porter is not expected to play, while Ronnie Hillman is in uniform.