Gut Reaction: Preseason Week 2 - Broncos vs Bills

Marcell Dareus wanted to make the Broncos pay for not taking him with the second-overall pick in April.

Perhaps another day, big guy.

Tonight, it was Von Miller who brought the punishment.  Miller showed why he's been compared to Derrick Thomas.  His first step is supersonic.

He broke the speed of sound (and the ankles of the right tackle) several times tonight in the Broncos' 24-10 victory over the Bills.

Both Miller and the missile known as Rahim Moore made it clear that the Broncos did not miss with their first two draft picks.  They were part of a defense that, for the second straight week, kept the opposing offense from doing any noticeable damage.

This defense--even without Ty Warren--will make things interesting this season.  If they can get to third down quickly, they might even be more than interesting.

They might be finger-licking good.

Let's get to the Positives, the Negatives, and the Who The Heck Knows?

The Positives

1) Von Miller is a grenade.  Elvis Dumervil is barbed wire.   Together they turn third downs into trench warfare.  

2) Kyle Orton continued to put his vice-like grip on the starting quarterback job--a 135.1 QB rating will do that for a guy.  Outside of taking an early sack, Orton looked downright comfortable in this offense tonight.

3) I thought Knowshon Moreno showed some great quickness on the outside.  It's good to see the oft-ridiculed running back get into the flow of the game.  There is no doubt that he is quicker this year than at any point in his NFL career.

4) Champ Bailey covering in the slot is a thing of beauty.  Running a hot slant route against Bailey won't win you any games, point, or yards.

5) The Broncos used more one-back sets tonight and combined them with a much quicker tempo than they displayed last week.  This put the Bills on their heels for a large part of the first half;  further, it forced the Bills into personnel packages which were not in their favor, including trying to cover Julius Thomas with linebackers.

6) Rahim Moore is the answer.  His range in Cover 2 is as advertised, he's bigger than he looked on his college film, and he oozes nasty.  Oh, did I mention he wants to knock you out?  Strong with the Atwater this one is.

7) Nice two-minute drill by Brady Quinn and the Broncos at the end of the first half despite the tipped-ball interception.  I had not seen Quinn look that good in at least two years.  Even the most ardent of Tebow supporters have to admit that Quinn did himself a solid with his play tonight.

8) I continue to believe that Brodrick Bunkley is the answer at NT.  Bunkley was, as usual, strong against the double team.  I was surprised, however, to see him so spry against the pass.  He tipped a pass and threw a blocker to the ground Reggie White-style to apply the heat.  

9) Cassius Vaughn put a lot of pressure on Perrish Cox tonight.  Vaughn was tough against the run and glue in coverage tonight.   I think Cox has his work cut out for him in this battle, and not just for his legal reasons.

10) Saving the best for last.  Brandon Lloyd was, well, he was Brandon Lloyd.  He was also doing his usual impression of Stretch Armstrong.  Yeah, I know, Armstrong was white and made of gel.  So what?  Lloyd may not have the same number of catches or yards this year with John Fox in charge, but I can assure you of this--he'll be just as dangerous.

10a) J.D. Walton and Chris Kuper getting nasty.

The Negatives

1) Watch the screen pass against Dennis Allen's defense this year.  One way to attack an "always pressure" defense is to use the screen pass.  The Bills dismantled the Broncos' defense with screens on their first offensive possession of the game.  If I'm an offensive coordinator for any team on the Broncos' schedule this year, I'm bringing out my screen game.

2) After starting their first drive off well, the usual happened: mental mistakes, dropped passes, and Kyle Orton doing his impression of a folding chair in the pocket.

3) Orlando Franklin continued to struggle in pass blocking tonight. It's still too early to make a dramatic switch, but my good friend Doc Bear might have been onto something when he mentioned two weeks ago that Zane Beadles could find himself at right tackle again this year.  However, it should be noted that this has nothing to do with Franklin's run blocking.  The ex-Cane leaves little doubt about his run-blocking abilities (re-watch the goal-line touchdown run in which he mauled the defender).  I'd be inclined to let him continue to work against Dumervil and Miller in practice.  After all, it doesn't get much harder than that.

4) The Broncos' run defense started out slow for the second straight week.  Bend but don't break?  Or break and don't bend when season starts?

5) Alfred Williams on the TV broadcast.  It pains me to write this, since Alfred is one of my favorites from the Super Bowl years.  Sorry, Big Al.  I'm just calling them as I see them.

6) The Broncos still committed too many penalties.  Yeah, I'm reaching, but one penalty is one too many.

7) My notion that the Broncos should have drafted Marcell Dareus instead of Von Miller.  Dareus will be a decent pro, but Von Miller is like a hurricane.  He comes through town, and you immediately have to clean up the mess.

8) The name Sports Authority Field.  What the SAF is this?  Invesco got a bad rap, but during its time adorning Mile High from 2001-2010, the Broncos were a healthy 51-29 at home.  That's a 63% winning percentage.  

9)  Although the Broncos had too many penalties, the call against Rahim Moore was a bad call.  Guy led with his shoulder.  Case closed.

10) I've got nothing, so when that happens, I simply start chanting, "Raiders Suck."  Join me, won't you?

Who The Heck Knows?

1) In a pre-game interview, John Elway said, describing Tim Tebow, "Timmy's camp has gained momentum."  If Tebow started on the depth chart at #2 and he was moved to #3, is Elway a little confused on the term momentum?  Sounds like a politically correct soundbite to me.  Also, why does Elway keep calling Tebow Timmy?  Too much South Park?

2) Last week the Broncos didn't run their two-minute offense at the end of the first half with Tebow.  This game, they did so with Brady Quinn.  What's the frequency, Fox?

3) Brian Griese brought up a great point on the radio broadcast.  Von Miller is an even more potent weapon at home--if the fans make noise.  If an offensive tackle can't hear the snap, Miller will take advantage.  As a side note, Brian Griese is an excellent color announcer.  He's also surprisingly self-deprecating about his days in Denver.

4) Can kickoff returns be any more idiotic this year?  The good news?  The Broncos won't have to waste a roster position on anyone for their kickoff skills.

5) The Broncos showed they can run against a 3-4 system tonight, in case anyone doubted it.

6) For what it's worth, punt coverge has been sound in the first two games.  Quick, knock on wood (or a Raiders fan, which is a good equivalent).

7) Brandon Minor and Lance Ball got their chance tonight and took advantage.

8)  Tebow simply wasn't in the game long enough to render much of a decision, although I think he did fine.  I thought he did better from under center and had some zip on his passes, but he just didn't have enough drives (1.5) or attempts (two) to show the coaches anything tonight.

9) Britton Colquitt really kicks far at altitude.  Keep it up and you've got a Pro Bowl season.  

10) As excited as I'm getting tonight watching the Broncos, it's important to remember that it's preseason.  The Broncos are still in the installation phase of their offense and defense.  They did not scheme the Bills this week.  It's likely the Bills followed the same script.

As always, feel free to give us your gut reactions in the comments below.

TJ Johnson can be reached through telegraph, ESP, Spanish interpretor, or via email: Follow him on Facebook and Twitter if you want to see him mock "the man."  He assumes you are following It’s All Over Fat Man on Facebook and Twitter, but if you are not, that’s nihilistic, man.

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

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