Chris Humphreys/USA Today

Broncos Offensive Player Grades: Week P3

MHH Analyst Erick Trickel is back once again with his player grades for the offense. The Broncos had some rough spots throughout the game, and some bright spots. Find out how each player graded out.

The Denver Broncos offensive units struggled throughout their home preseason debut vs. the San Francisco 49ers, especially the first-team offense in short-yard situations. Second unit struggled, but not as bad and were able to drive down the field for the touchdown. It wasn’t a very pretty game for either unit, but some individual players did great, but there were very few times that the units did a good enough job all at once.

Peyton Manning

Snaps: 42. Stats: 14-of-21 for 124 yards and 1 interception.

Manning had a very rough game and seemed out of sync with the rest of the offense. Many of his passes were not on target. He did drop one beautiful pass in the perfect place where only the receiver could make a play on it. That was his best pass of the game, and it isn’t even close. He also threw an interception that was way off target, but he got no help from the receiver, either.

Grade: 29.8

C.J. Anderson

Snaps: 30. Stats: 13 rushes for 49 yards, 3 targets, with 3 catches for 22 yards.

Running the ball, Anderson went how the blocking went for the most part. If it was bad, he didn’t do a good job, but if it was great, he got positive yardage. He did have a couple of beautiful runs where the blocking was bad, and he broke tackles to pick up some yards. He looked best as a receiver out of the backfield, and worst as a blocker.

Grade: 52.9

Demaryius Thomas

Snaps: 39. Stats: 5 targets, with 3 catches for 30 yards.

With a couple of solid catches, Thomas had a decent game, for the most part. He did allow an interception, without even trying to fight for the ball, or try to break it up. As a receiver, that is part of your job. Not every pass can be perfect, and with Thomas’ size, he can fight for the ball better than he did. His game relies on finesse so much that when it requires some physical play, he looks like he isn’t even on the field.

Grade: 31.0

Cody Latimer

Snaps: 37. Stats: 4 targets, with 1 catch for 14 yards.

A big reason for the first unit's struggles were because of Latimer. He looked so uncomfortable out there and clearly does not have chemistry with Manning. A lot of passes were thrown his way that he could have hauled in, but was unable to come down with it. Many have high hopes for Latimer, but he looked like the worst wide receiver on the field against San Francisco.  

Grade: 3.9

Owen Daniels

Snaps: 39. Stats: 1 hurry allowed, 2 targets, with 1 catch for 3 yards.

Daniels hasn’t had the best offseason. He doesn’t seem to have chemistry down with Manning yet, and it shows on the field. Daniels is a receiving tight end, but hasn’t been able to show what he can do—yet. As a blocker, he leaves a lot to be desired.

Grade: 1.9

James Casey

Snaps: 28. Stats: 3 targets, with 3 catches for 30 yards.

Casey is known for his blocking ability, and he showed why. He was excellent as a blocker and it didn’t matter where he lined up to block. He also showed up big-time as a receiver. This preseason, Casey has looked like the better pickup between he and Daniels.

Grade: 92.9

Ty Sambrailo

Snaps: 42. Stats: N/A.

Without a doubt, Sambrailo put up his best game against San Francisco. He had plenty of rough spots still, and doesn’t quite look like an NFL left tackle yet, but it was his best game. He looked much better pass blocking, but did get beat, or came close to getting beat a few times, just not as often as first two games. As a run blocker, he was able to show his athleticism, but he still looked technically raw at times, and had a lot of reaching for blocks. Still lots to work ahead for the rookie, but he finally had a good game to build on.

Grade: 85.1

Max Garcia

Snaps: 42. Stats: 1 hurry.

The rookie left guard has lost his starting spot, but it isn’t due to performance. He put together another great showing, and proved he can be a starter, now, in the NFL. He did allow a hurry, which came from confusion of which of the two rushers in his lane he should pick up. He also continued to impress as a mauler in the run game.

Grade: 81.9

Matt Paradis

Snaps: 42. Stats: 1 hurry.

The center had a solid game, but had a lot of rough moments, too. He really struggled with quick moves to his left side, and got beat a few times by them. He also let a few late blitzers by, but he didn’t see them until it was too late. A lot of that will come with experience.

Grade: 67.9

Louis Vasquez

Snaps: 42. Stats: 1 hurry.

Vasquez looked really off against San Fran. He wasn’t close to his normal self as a run blocker, and did a lot of nothing on multiple runs. In pass protection, he struggled and was beaten, or nearly beaten, more often than usual in one-on-one situations.

Grade: 19.8

Ryan Harris

Snaps: 42. Stats: N/A.

The veteran right tackle put together a solid game. He wasn’t credited with any kind of pressures, but there were a couple very close calls. The running game is where Harris really seemed to have a hard time. Multiple times he was set to cut block, and failed miserably. Cut blocks seem to be something every offensive linemen in Denver is having an issue doing.

Grade: 51.9

That wraps it up for the starters. Time for the second unit offense, and a few players who subbed in and out with the first and second units. 

Brock Osweiler

Snaps: 36. Stats: 15-of-20 for 104 yards, 2 rushes for zero yards.

The backup quarterback played a really strong game. Many want to critique him for taking the check-downs so much, but that was a good thing. Many young quarterbacks sit in the pocket and force things downfield. Osweiler went through his reads, didn’t see an opening and instead of taking a risk and trying to force the ball, he took the check-down. Very mature and experienced move, which was unexpected in a young, inexperienced quarterback.

Grade: 81.9

Ronnie Hillman

Snaps: 20. Stats: 1 sack allowed, 5 rushes for 35 yards, 2 targets, with 2 catches for 3 yards.

As a runner, Hillman was excellent. He was finding holes and getting big runs with great blocking upfront. He also looked good as a receiver. He had low yards, but all of his catches were check-down passes behind the line of scrimmage. What keeps him from a perfect grade is the sack he allowed and his pass blocking in general.

Grade: 91.9

Juwan Thompson

Snaps: 15. Stats: 1 hurry allowed, 4 rushes for 15 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 2-point conversion, 4 targets, with 3 catches for 19 yards.

Thompson looked really good as a runner and receiver. He was showing the great burst and strength he has for his size, the burst being surprising to some. However, he looked poor as a pass blocker and on special teams. Both of which were a strong point of his game from a year ago.

Grade: 78.9

Montee Ball

Snaps: 11. Stats: 4 rushes for 11 yards, 1 target, with 1 catch for 20 yards.

As a runner, Ball is too patient. He needs to hit the hole faster and harder than he does. That will go a long way to helping him out. He did look good as a blocker and receiver, though. He was the best running back against San Francisco in both of those categories. As a running back though, he has to look good as a runner and he just hasn’t yet.

Grade: 62.8

Joe Don Duncan

Snaps: 4. Stats: N/A.

Duncan impressed as a lead blocker in the run game. All four of his snaps came in such a way. He cleared space and made multiple blocks on one of the runs.

Grade: 80.0

Jordan Norwood

Snaps: 27. Stats: 4 targets, with 4 catches for 38 yards.

The other day, I came out with an article about the 53-man roster, Norwood did not make it. He put up a great performance and did a lot that should see him land on the roster. He's still not there yet, but he helped himself a lot. He was excellent in all phases, including as a blocker.

Grade: 96.8

Andre Caldwell

Snaps: 17. Stats: 1 target, with 1 catch for 18 yards.

Andre Caldwell had a really good game. He continues to do an excellent job as a blocker, and stepped up big as a receiver. He made a huge catch on a pass from Manning. Manning put it high and away and trusted Caldwell to go up and make the catch. There is a lot of trust between Manning and Caldwell

Grade: 99.1

Bennie Fowler

Snaps: 4. Stats: N/A.

Three of the four snaps came as a blocker and one as a receiver. He looked good, but seemed to be in pain after on snap. He came off the field and didn’t return.

Grade: 50.0

Nathan Palmer

Snaps: 17. Stats: 1 target, with 1 catch for 13 yards.

Palmer looked really good offensively. He was quick with his routes and showed strong hands on his one catch. He is part of a battle to make the roster, but it's doubtful he does. He did a lot to help his chances for the practice squad though.

Grade: 87.9

Isaiah Burse

Snaps: 19. Stats: 2 targets, with 1 catch for 13 yards.

Burse looks like a different player on offense from a year ago, and in a good way. He seems smooth, relaxed and possesses strong hands. He does lack as a blocker, largely due to his small size.

Grade: 73.9

Jordan Taylor

Snaps: 29. Stats: 5 targets, with 4 catches for 9 yards.

Taylor almost made a few big plays, but was unable to finish, one of them being a long pass. Despite not coming away with it, he showed great speed to take the top off the defense and get behind them. And drew a pass interference call in the endzone that lead to the go-ahead touchdown.

Grade: 83.9

Corbin Louks

Snaps: 8. Stats: 1 target, zero catches.

Louks looked solid out there on offense, but not close to how he did against Houston. He also didn’t get a shot as a returner.

Grade: 25.0

Virgil Green

Snaps: 30. Stats: 1 target, with 1 catch for 8 yards.

Against the 49ers, Green continued to look poor as a blocker, both in the run game and passing game. Blocking is where he normally excels at, so it is starting to be a concern. He has shown more as a receiver this preseason than he has throughout his whole career, however. The San Francisco game was no different. On multiple routes, he looked really good running them, despite not seeing the ball thrown his way.

Grade: 65.9

Dominique Jones

Snaps: 16. Stats: N/A.

Jones is said to have a solid all-around skill-set, but I have yet to see it. So far this preseason, and especially against the 49ers, he looked really bad as a blocker. He wound up on the ground far too often for a player of his size. The term 'looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane' has come to mind when watching Jones play.

Grade: 4.3

Chris Clark

Snaps: 36. Stats: 1 hurry.

The backup left tackle played a solid game, but there were a lot of concerning moments. As with all the other offensive linemen, he was unable to properly execute a cut block. In pass protection, he found himself giving up more ground than he should, and barely blocked his defender away from the quarterback.

Grade: 45.3

Ben Garland

Snaps: 36. Stats: N/A.

Of all the backup offensive linemen, Garland looked the best. He was generating great push in the run game, and found himself in a position to block multiple defenders. As a pass protector, Garland struggled, but nothing super bad. He looked beaten a few times, but rebounded nicely.

Grade: 76.9

Gino Gradkowski

Snaps: 36. Stats: 1 hurry.

The best play of the backup center's preseason came on a flop to draw a flag. In all seriousness though, his play this preseason has been rough, and it was no different against the 49ers. As a run blocker, he allowed his defenders to disengage too early, far too often. As a protector, he was constantly getting pushed back, making it hard for the quarterback to step into his throws.

Grade: 33.4

Shelley Smith

Snaps: 36. Stats: 1 hurry.

Garland was the best backup offensive linemen, but Smith wasn’t far behind. While Garland looked better as a run blocker, Smith looked better as a pass protector. The veteran is on the bubble, but he made a great case to potentially stick around on the roster.

Grade: 74.6

Michael Schofield

Snaps: 36. Stats: 1 QB hit, 2 hurries.

The backup right tackle and former third round pick has been a complete mess this preseason. He consistently fails on cut blocks, and his raw technique has shown no signs of improvement, and looks weak when blocking stronger defensive linemen. Schofield needs to improve his game drastically and soon.

Grade: 14.6

That wraps up the offensive player grades. Stay tuned for my defensive player grades that should be up here at MileHighHuddle.com within the next couple of days.

To get instant Broncos notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE! 

Be sure to check out the ever-growing benefit package of being a Mile High Huddle Insider! Check it out HERE.

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

Follow MileHighHuddle on Twitter @MileHighHuddle and become a subscriber to receive access to premium content and discounted Broncos tickets and merchandise.


Mile High Huddle Top Stories