Denver Broncos Week 7 Player Grades: Offense

With the Broncos beating the San Francisco 49ers 42-17 on Sunday Night Football (NBC), the big news was 509 touchdowns for Peyton Manning. With the game in the books, MHH Analyst, Erick Trickel, went over the game film and now hands out his offensive player grades. (Photo courtesy Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Perfection. That is the word that comes to mind when going over almost every play for this offense in week 7. There were few mistakes made, and when there was a mistake, it mostly came after the starters were pulled for the second string, because the game was in hand. The offense, with the starters, was firing on all cylinders for the second straight game. When they are playing near perfect, they are hard for anyone to stop. The good thing for Broncos Country is, they still have yet to hit their peak.

Now, onto the player grades. Each player starts off with a C grade. A positive play helps their grade, while a negative play hurts their grade. As always, the grades will start off at the quarterback position.

QB Peyton Manning

Snaps: 52. Stats: 22/26, 318 yards and 4 touchdowns.

When talking about perfection in this game, it all starts at the quarterback position. Peyton Manning was perfect Sunday night. He only had two incompletions that were his fault. The other two being dropped. In picking apart the 49ers defense, Manning was surgical and precise, as he usually is. For Manning’s perfect game his grade is an A+. Even if he didn’t break the record, it would still be a perfect grade.

QB Brock Osweiler

Snaps: 9. Stats: 0 completions on 1 attempt.

With Manning as the starter, it is not surprising Osweiler only saw time when the game was well in hand. That being the case, it is hard to get an accurate read on whether Osweiler is the future or not. However, he looked good in his time vs the 49ers. He was quick with his reads on the two passing plays he had. On one of them, he was let down by a drop from the receiver. His grade: C+.

RB Ronnie Hillman

Snaps: 14 rushes for 74 yards, with 2 touchdowns, 2 forced missed tackles. 4 catches on 4 targets for 29 yards.

With Ball hurt, Hillman has made the most of his opportunity and he looked great carrying the ball for the Broncos. But a fumble could land him back on the bench. Until that happens, Hillman's burst andd speed will continue to add a completely new element to the offense, making it better than it was before. His grade: B+.

RB Juwan Thompson

Snaps: 12. Stats: 6 rushes for 30 yards.

Hillman is the speed, Thompson is the power. Watching Thompson run is like watching a wrecking ball crash into multiple brick walls, and breaking through most pf the time. With Hillman playing as well as he is, it is hard to justify getting Thompson more snaps. The Broncos running back corps is one filled with great potential. His grade: B+.

RB C.J. Anderson

Snaps: 9. Stats: 2 rushes for 9 yards.

Anderson started off the season as the #2 running back, but seemingly faltered and fell down the depth chart. With the few snaps he got, Anderson showed he can play. But, like with Thompson, the running back corps is a young, deep, talented group filled with potential, so it is hard for Anderson to get more playing time. His grade: B-.

WR Demaryius Thomas

Snaps: 41. Stats: 8 catches on 9 targets for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Thomas continued his hot streak with another huge performance. His performance against the 49ers was a continuance of the perfection Manning had rolling. Well, not so much a continuance. Thomas was a big part of the perfection in Manning’s game, just as Manning played a big part in Thomas’. His grade: A+.

WR Emmanuel Sanders

Snaps: 50. Stats: 3 catches on 3 targets for 41 yards and 1 touchdown.

With Thomas on the hot streak, Sanders appears to be “suffering” in his performance. That is not an accurate statement. Appearances can be deceiving. Sanders has been key for the success of the Broncos offense. He has time, and time again, come up with a clutch catch to put a spark in the offense and get them going when they seem to falter. His grade: A.

WR Wes Welker

Snaps: 3 catches on 3 targets for 50 yards and 1 touchdown.

Welker is often the forgotten man on the Broncos offense. Not just by the fans, or analysts, but by the opposing defense. That became apparent on a long touchdown to Welker against the 49ers. A fake screen to Thomas allowed Welker to slip on by and score #508 for Manning. His grade: A.

WR Andre Caldwell

Snaps: 20. Stats: 0 catches on 1 target, with a dropped pass.

Not much can be said about Caldwell that has not been said before. He saw the most snaps he's seen in weeks against the 49ers, with no success. He failed as a blocker and as a receiver, dropping his third pass on 8 season targets. So, why is he active? Is it experience? With the few snaps he sees, why not activate Cody Latimer and let him get some experience with this offense? It’ll only help out in the long run. Caldwell receives an F grade. It’s not his fault he is rarely used, but it is his fault he is failing when he does see the field.

WR Isaiah Burse

Snaps: 4. Stats: 0 catches on 1 target, with a dropped pass.

Burse actually saw time on the offense, instead of being just the punt returner. However, he confirmed my doubts of him being on the roster. Normally I don’t talk about special teams play, but that’s going to change for a short bit. Burse is not cutting it as a return man. He can’t find the open space and makes questionable decisions. The only thing he does well is not go down on first contact. As for a receiver, he dropped a pass that should have been a catch. His grade: F.

TE Julius Thomas

Snaps: 51. Stats: 4 catches on 6 targets for 27 yards, with a dropped pass.

One of the few starting offensive weapons who was not perfect; Julius Thomas. He still had a great game, but it actually wasn’t so much because of his receiving game. For once, Thomas actually showed up as a blocker. Surprising right? If Thomas can keep up the blocking side of his game and perform as a receiver, he is looking at a huge contract in the off-season, one the Broncos may be unable to afford. His grade: B.

TE Virgil Green

Snaps: 17. Stats: 1 rush for 3 yards, with 1 forced miss tackle.

Green is an athletic, blocking tight end, who has been unable to see more playing time due to the weapons on offense. However, he is deserving of a bigger role where he isn't just a blocker. His grade: B.

TE Jacob Tamme

Snaps: 10. Stats: None.

Tamme’s role with the Broncos is a limited one. He has mainly been used as a blocker, which he does not do too bad. Against the 49ers, he mainly saw time late in the game when the starters were pulled. Tamme performed well enough as a blocker. His grade: B-.

LT Ryan Clady

Snaps: 55. Stats: None.

Ryan Clady looks like the Ryan Clady from two seasons ago. When matched up against the 49ers defensive front, Clady shut down his man in both pass protection and in the run game. Clady is why the Broncos running backs were able to rush for 40 yards off the left tackle. His grade: A+.

LG Orlando Franklin

Snaps: 61. Stats: None.

Franklin played a great game, but he needs to be careful. He got called for an unnecessary roughness oenalty, once the play was dead, and there were a few other moments a flag could have been thrown. He is aggressive, which is great, but he is a risk when he keeps it up after the whistle. His grade: B.

C Manuel Ramirez

Snaps: 61. Stats: 1 hurry.

At this point in the season, it is hard to make a change at center, especially when Peyton Manning is the quarterback. With that being the case, Ramirez has to step his game up. He is a weak point on the offensive line, which was exploited by the 49ers. His grade: D.

RG Louis Vasquez

Snaps: 55. Stats: None.

Vasquez has been a consistent force on the Broncos offensive line. His play in pass protection and run blocking has been near excellent all season. When the 49ers came to play, Vasquez was near perfect. He allowed no QB pressure, but had a couple bad plays in run blocking. His grade: A-.

RT Paul Cornick

Snaps: 61. Stats: 1 sack and 3 hurries.

The coaches made a switch with Paul Cornick getting the start at right tackle over Chris Clark. It was a rough start, but he got better as the game went on. In pass protection, Cornick did no worse than the former starter, but did no better either. However, in run blocking, Cornick was an upgrade. Cornick should improve with more experience and coaching. The first thing he needs to learn is to kick out faster. His grade: C-.

T Chris Clark

Snaps: 10. Stats: None.

When Clark entered the game, it was clear why he was demoted. He struggled in pass protection, though he saw only two pass block snaps, and in run protection where he was unable to get any push. His grade: D.

RG Will Montgomery

Snaps: 6. Stats: None.

When the starters were pulled Montgomery stepped in at right guard. He showed why the Broncos can’t make a switch at C from Ramirez to Montgomery. Montgomery was unable to get any kind of push in the run game and was pushed back in pass protection. His grade: D-.


The starters on the Broncos offense were perfect or close to it. They made few mistakes, the worse being dropped passes or penalties. They put together a full game, in only 3 quarters of play, in what was the best showing from this Broncos offense so far this year. They are just starting out and it will only get better.

Erick Trickel in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @AlaskanBronco. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook.

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