Lost amidst the Denver Broncos’ quarterback drama is the fact that their defense looks to be just as dominant as it was last year. That may come as a surprise, considering the Broncos lost Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan in free agency. But through two preseason games, Denver’s first-string defense has been sharp, and it will look to continue that trend at home Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams.
According to Mile High Report, the Broncos’ No. 1 defense has been on the field for 16 plays this summer. They’ve allowed just 47 yards and sacked the quarterback twice. Not too shabby.
But of course, all eyes Saturday will be on Trevor Siemian, who will try to take control of the starting quarterback job before the season opener against the Carolina Panthers Sept. 8. Siemian and Mark Sanchez have both struggled this summer, turning the ball over in last week’s 31-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Siemian’s passing line of 10-of-14 with 75 yards looks fairly respectable, but he also lobbed up a pick-six.
Sanchez didn’t throw an interception, but fumbled twice and was sacked on three occasions. He finished 10-of-17 passing for 120 yards.
Head coach Gary Kubiak says all three of his quarterbacks, including rookie Paxton Lynch, will play an equal amount of time against the Rams Saturday night. Lynch has been the most impressive one this preseason, completing 6 of 7 passes for 74 yards in the opener. He wasn’t as efficient last week, though, when he went 15-of-26 for 113 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Despite their QB woes, a couple of Broncos’ positional players have shined this month. Running back C.J. Anderson ripped off a 19-yard touchdown run last week, showing that he possesses the explosiveness to live up to his four-year, $18 million contract extension. Tight end Virgil Green, who has largely been a blocking tight end during his first five NFL seasons, now appears ready to break out. He caught four passes for 57 yards against the 49ers.
The Rams are 2-0 this preseason, but their record is secondary to the development of No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. He was a little better in Week 2, completing 8 of 12 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. But his outing paled in comparison to Case Keenum, who went 4-of-5 for 53 yards and two touchdowns before handing off the ball to Goff.
Running back Todd Gurley should also be active for the second consecutive game. He made his preseason debut last week — he was held out during his rookie campaign while he recovered from a torn ACL — and rushed for a touchdown. Given the tenuousness of the Rams’ QB situation, Gurley may have to carry the load offensively yet again.
One of the two rookie quarterbacks who’ll take the field Saturday has a legitimate chance to start Week 1. But it’s Lynch, not Goff, and that’s not the ideal scenario for either team.
How to watch
When: 9 p.m. ET
Where: Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colo.
Online: NFL Live Stream FREE