Gut Reaction: Preseason Week 1 - Broncos @ 49ers

I’ve been waiting an entire offseason to write this, but here goes:

Rahim Moore, you’re off the hook. In fact, you’re already victorious in my eyes.

How so?  Given that none of us—the organization, the players, the fans—can change the results of last year’s playoff loss, my definition of victory evolved once preseason began.

And once I saw Rahim Moore take the field tonight and play (even just a few snaps) with the ferocity I’d hoped to see from him, I knew he’d already won.

You see, you’re only defeated when you stop working, stop trying, stop competing, and stop improving—when you give up. 

Rahim Moore is doing none of these things.

Now, let’s stop whining about last year and get this mother#$cker started, shall we?

The Positives

  1. It appears as if the reports of Peyton Manning's increased arm strength are true.  Of course, it’s hard to judge based on one drive.  Stay tuned.  Or arm wrestle Peyton Manning before the end of the week and report back to us.
  2. I didn’t think he could do it, but Von Miller looks like he got bigger without sacrificing any of his flexibility or quickness.  It got me pretty excited—not as excited as dropping E, but it was a close call.
  3. Did you notice Montee Ball reading his blocks and zone cutting north and south?  That’s your first-string running back, Broncos fans.
  4. Julius Thomas needs to stay injury free, but I like how he did more than simply make acrobatic catches tonight.  He got separation, too.  Did I mention his blocking has improved?
  5. Is Duke Ihenacho for real?  If so, I want him on the field—if not at safety, then at least let him play some nickel and dime.
  6. Brock Osweiler still has some work to do, but he did manage to work through a progression or two and hang in the pocket and make some throws with a patchwork line.  Finally, he changed the play at the line of scrimmage a number of times.
  7. I have to say, tonight was the first time I uttered the name “Shaun Phillips” without punching a wall, kicking the dog, or urinating on the neighbor’s lawn (he’s a Chargers fan).  If Von Miller gets suspended, the Broncos will be fine.  Did you see Phillips’ ability to use his hands to create rushing space?  The Broncos won’t lose Miller’s sacks as much as the sacks won’t seem as spectacular and will be spread around.
  8. Kayvon Webster didn’t hurt himself with his interception tonight.  The trouble (or great thing for Broncos fans) is that Omar Bolden played well, too.
  9. Yes, C.J. Anderson was playing against scrubs, but wins the eye test—low to the ground, powerful, and with the ability to cut and fall forward.
  10. Way to go, John Fox.  You made the right call—whether the challenge held up or not.

The Negatives

  1. Ronnie Hillman may be bigger, but he still doesn’t pass the eye test as someone who will ever run between the tackles with regularity.  I expect Montee Ball will be the starter Week 1—assuming he picks up pass blocking.  No, I’m not saying Hillman shouldn’t be in the mix.
  2. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Manny Ramirez at center, but he’ll probably grow on me as he did last year--not like mold, but slow and hard to get rid of, like ass hair.
  3. Philip Blake and Ryan Lilja—both looked like they were reaching.
  4. As I wrote the last bullet, I just saw Vinston Painter get beat for a third—wait, make that a fourth time.  In all cases, he spent more time bending at the waist than he did at the knees.  There’s a reason he was drafted so late: he needs development.
  5. I'll need to see more from Stewart Bradley, but his lateral movement is the question mark.  He’s also going to struggle in coverage, just not as much as Joe Mays did.  That aside, it's clear the guy reads his keys faster than the other Broncos linebackers in the running game.  My guess is that they are prepping for Von’s departure with Irving at SAM and Bradley at Mike.
  6. Candlestick Park blows.  And now it’s time for someone to blow that house down.
  7.  I’ll withhold my judgment on Adam Gase until they start keeping track of the standings.
  8. I had to listen to Big Al and D-Mac argue about the value of the running game using statistics while I was navigating traffic tonight.  The traffic eventually dissipated, but the horror of hearing Big Al citing playoff teams and running yards per game will never go away.
  9. One problem with the preseason?  The regular season can’t come soon enough.  It’s like being thirteen again—you can look at JC Penney catalogues and still have some fun, but you really need a Playboy to do some damage.
  10. I’ve got nothing.

The Who The Heck Knows

  1. It was hard to say much about the starters at the skill positions, so we’ll just assume Wes Welker is going to kick ass.  The same goes with Champ Bailey, Chris Harris, Eric Decker, and Demaryius Thomas.
  2. It’s one preseason game and the offensive line is far from solidified.  Are you as concerned as the media wants you to be?
  3. Just when I’d forgotten about Perrish Cox, I was reminded again that if you can play cornerback in this league, you get a second chance, no matter the infraction.
  4. Peyton Manning in the pistol?  It’s preseason, my friends.  Are you not entertained?
  5. It’s impossible to judge the play of Sly Williams tonight.  The corpus of play is too small.
  6. Did you miss Elvis Dumervil? It’s the fourth quarter, and I just remembered to ask the question, so you know where I stand.
  7. Have you noticed how many times Matt Russell was mentioned this week?
  8. What was that other dude’s name who is not Matt Russell again?  That’s right, nobody cares.
  9. Seriously, it’s time to forgive Rahim Moore, people.
  10. No, really, it’s time.

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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