Gut Reaction: Preseason Week 4 - Broncos @ Cardinals

"That's about as bad as it gets," said John Fox at halftime.

He was describing the Broncos' play, but he could have been talking about the team's depth.

Here's something you can take to the bank--the Broncos will scour the waiver wire like crayfish.

Will they look for an offensive lineman, a defensive back, or a defensive lineman?

They'll probably grab one of each, and top it off with a running back for good measure.

The Broncos' second- and third-string units were as exciting as a Peter King fashion statement in their loss to the Cardinals tonight.

They will certainly test the theory that depth matters in today's NFL.

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

The Positives

1. Britton Colquitt was the team's MVP tonight.  It's too bad, because Colquitt was barely above average.  

2. In a game full of negatives, at least the Broncos kept the penalties down - they had only one tonight.  

3. Tim Tebow has to get a positive review in a game in which the Broncos did little to advance the ball.  His touchdown pass was really pretty, and he appeared to look off the safety first and he hung in the pocket tough on that play.  He also made some plays with this feet, which allowed him to get the ball downfield with this arm.  Yes, he failed to recognize the open receiver a few times, but Tebow injected into the Broncos' offense the only life they showed throughout the entire game.

4. Quinton Carter was active in the box tonight and was flying around like a linebacker.  If he wasn't a lock to make the team (which he was), he's certainly a lock now.

5. Jason Hunter brought his lunch pail tonight.  He used his pure strength to bully into the backfield on several occasions and delivered some hard hits.   He was truly one of the few bright spots on defense tonight.

6. Jeremy Beal showed flashes of brilliance, blowing up a few plays in the backfield.  I don't know how he makes the team, but I hope he does.

7. David "Mr." Anderson took a shot and kept on ticking.  That play alone kept me from hitting the bong for the tenth time.

8. Brandon Minor was the only bright spot in the Broncos' rushing attack.  Unfortunately for Minor, it probably came too late.

9. The same is true with WRs D'Andre Goodwin and Eron Riley.  Goodwin made a great tacke on special teams and showed a little shake on a few routes late in the game.  Riley busted loose for the long bomb from Tebow.

10. It's the preseason.  Let's get the hell out of here.

The Negatives

1. Injuries are a part of the game, but do they have to be a part of every Broncos game?  The achilles injury to Syd'Quan Thompson was particularly frustrating.

2. Brady Quinn may be #2 on the depth chart, but he was pretty bad with his accuracy tonight.  Surprisingly, he also showed some panic in his footwork.   On a scale from 1 to 10, a fan boy would score him a 6, an objective viewer would score him a 3, and a hater would give him a -2.  His interception was particularly bad.  I don't know how Quinn missed seeing the defender just sitting in the middle zone.  For statistical evidence, I submit to you his 7.6 rating.

3. Russ Hochstein slid backwards.  It wasn't intentional.  Enough said.

4. The Broncos' inability to produce anything on first and second down led to their inability to convert on any of their first six third-down attempts.  I'd call this brutal, but that would be an insult to Neanderthal Man.  For the game, they finished 2 for 11.

5. Derrick Harvey didn't do himself any favors tonight.  He failed to set the edge on several occasions in the first half.  He did better in the second half, but was it enough to keep him on the roster?

6. Mike Mohamed appeared out of position and slower next to Nate Irving tonight.  Before the game, I would have penciled Mohamed in on the roster.  I'm less sure now.

7. Britt Davis' early drop didn't help his case for making the roster.  I know it's only one play, but that's the only play he had to separate himself tonight.  

8. Perrish Cox didn't help himself with this sluggish play, although I think he makes the team (see note below).  He seemed slow in recovery, which is usually a strength of his.

9. Former University of Wyoming star Mitch Unrein won't likely make the team.  I'd like to send a letter of protest.  Every team should should have a Wyoming quota of at least one player.

10. What's worse than getting shelled on Thursday night?  Digging this deep for gold, Orlando Franklin!

Who The Heck Knows?

1. After listening to John Fox discuss the strategy behind not revealing the #2 quarterback, it's become a non issue.  Although the media has focused on the depth chart, the truth is that the Broncos have already installed special packages to take advantage of Tebow's strengths.  This means that even if Quinn is effectively #2, he's probably not seeing the field unless Orton is hurt.  Tebow, on the other hand, will see the field plenty.  So, while I get that Mike McCoy and John Elway are still teaching the basic high-school drops to Tebow, that all goes out the window when Tebow enters the game out of the gun.

2. Before the game, Von Miller was asked whether it was "Von and Elvis" or "Elvis and Von?"  Miller chose the latter.  Smart answer, even if it might not be true.  A lot of stupid rookies would have put themselves first.

3. I wouldn't have said this two months ago (in fact, I didn't), but I now think it's difficult for the Broncos to cut Perrish Cox.   He's (at a minimum) the fourth-best cornerback on the roster.   Given that Cox has been convicted of nothing yet, do the Broncos cut Cox simply because they might have a week during the season in which they are watching Demaryius Thomas testifying against Cox?  Or do they just accept this PR nightmare for a few news cycles and go with the guy who gives them the best chance to win?  Remember, Andre' Goodman has recently been injury prone, so it's not just a question of Cox playing nickel and dime packages.  Perhaps the real answer lies in the waiver wire on Saturday. Cox didn't perform particularly well tonight.

4. Adam Schefter speculated that Texans running back Steve Slaton, Colts receiver Anthony Gonzalez, and Seahawks receiver Golden Tate will all be cut this weekend.  You interested?

5. After watching Marcell Dareus two weeks ago and Patrick Peterson for a series tonight, the Broncos' pick of Von Miller seems--at first glance--to have been the right choice by miles.  Peterson may very well be a great safety in this league, but right now he doesn't appear to be a smooth cornerback.

6. Austin Sylvester or Spencer Larsen?  I'll be honest with you, they look like the same guy to me.  Flip a coin.

7. Brandon "Bada" Bing.  There, I got that out of my system while I still had time in the preseason.

8. This time each year--even in an age of huge contracts--we are reminded that NFL athletes are just as human as the rest of us.  On Saturday, many of these young men won't have a job, and some of them will have played their last game in the NFL.  The dreams they had as young boys will have ended.   For those Broncos whose road ends tonight, we salute you.   May you find a path or a team that suits you.

9. Adam Weber might be able to sling the rock.  I'll take his sample size tonight (1 pass) and just go with it.  The guy is the next Peyton Manning.

10.  I'm agnostic this week on Ryan McBean.  He didn't play all that bad, and besides, I'm saving all of my ammunition for the regular season.

As always, feel free to give us your own 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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