Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports

Grading The Performance of the Denver Broncos Offensive Players In Game 1 Of The 2016 Preseason

The Broncos are back. MHH Analyst Erick Trickel returns with his player grades and to kick them off, he evaluates the Broncos victory over the Bears. As it is preseason, included also is a quick updated 53-man roster prediction.

The Denver Broncos offense struggled in their preseason victory over the Chicago Bears, which isn't reflected in the final score. They had one offensive touchdown, but moved the ball decently before stalling for field goal attempts multiple times. There are still many questions with this offense and the biggest is at quarterback, which is where we'll begin.

Writers note: The order of the players is how I would put them now, not the order they saw the field in.


1. Mark Sanchez: 56.6
2. Trevor Siemian: 52.3
3. Paxton Lynch: 64.3

Yes, Sanchez threw an interception, but it came off a deflected pass and wasn’t a terribly bad decision. Outside of the deflected pick, he looked rather good. He was quick with his decisions and moved well enough. His best play clearly was the long touchdown.

As for Siemian, there are many who are hyping up his performance, but the hype needs to be tempered. There were several issues with Siemian's game. The worst was that he gives the play away before the snap with how his feet are set. His feet set differently from run, pass, and even play-action.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1695259-evaluating-denver-s-qb-tr... Then after the snap, his elbow gives away where he is going with the ball. On top of that, he nearly threw three interceptions on really bad decisions. One of those was forgivable as it was a free play after an offside on the Bears defense. Siemian is often praised for his decision making, but it wasn't good this game. He missed open receivers on harder throws to receivers who were well-covered.

Finally, the rookie played well, and had his ups and downs as expected. His zip on the ball is unmatched with the other quarterbacks. There were questionable decisions, but he was quick and decisive with the ball.

He showcased his movement and ability to avoid pressure, though those plays still ended with sacks multiple times. Lynch got stuck behind an offensive line that struggled mightily and it showed. He did well with what he had to work with.

All three quarterbacks make the final 53 man roster.

Running Back

1. C.J. Anderson: 69.9
2. Devontae Booker: 88.2
3. Kapri Bibbs: 79.6
4. Ronnie Hillman: 74.2
5. Juwan Thompson: 31.1

Even though he played a short time, Anderson was solid. However, he didn’t inspire much confidence in me for being the premier back. Not all of that is on him, as there are plenty of issues on the offensive line, which we'll talk about later.

Booker looked like the best back of the bunch as a runner, but his blocking still needs work. He has shown improvements from where he was in college.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1695479-film-room-top-plays-in-ch... The final back to make the roster right now is Bibbs, who was the second-best runner and looked solid as a blocker. He also stood out on special teams. 

That leaves Hillman and Thompson off of the roster. Thompson saw little action, and when he did, it wasn’t pretty. He was used both at running back and fullback and left me disappointed. Hillman played well, but the numbers play against him.

He was the third best runner, but showed issues that have always existed. When he can use his speed and burst from the handoff, he will pick up yards. But, if he had to fight with contact to help pick up some yards, he struggled.


1. Andy Janovich: 21.9

As the only pure fullback on the roster, expect the rookie to make the squad. However, he had a very rookie showing in his first game. Very little positives came from his game on offense. Janovich played great on special teams, though. It was his first game, so it could be attributed to nerves, or not being ready for the speed of the game. Either way, hopefully the young fullback turns it around.

Wide Receiver

1. Demaryius Thomas: 88.8
2. Emmanuel Sanders: 91.0
3. Bennie Fowler: 94.6
4. Cody Latimer: 93.3
5. Jordan Taylor: 77.4
6. Kalif Raymond: 81.1
7. Jordan Norwood: 43.8
8. Bralon Addison: 87.4
9. DeVier Posey: 71.1
10. Mose Frazier: N/A
11. Durron Neal: N/A

Thomas and Sanders played like they never took a break for the offseason. In fact, they actually looked even better in the short time they played. Fowler took a step up from where he was last year, and Latimer finally showed some of why the Broncos traded up to select him.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1695742-wr-bennie-fowler-to-miss-... Latimer recently made comments about how Peyton Manning made him nervous, and that very well could be why he is really emerging now. Taylor has been lighting up practice, but his game was a small drop off from practice. He still looked good, but not as good as expected. Raymond played great as a returner, which is how he will have to make the roster. Those six are the six to make the roster.

The veteran Norwood didn’t have a good game. He didn’t get any returns and offensively looked bad. Separation seemed impossible for him, and that was just the main issue for Norwood. Addison is another fighting as a returner and he looked really good. Definitely a battle between Addison and Raymond for that final spot.

Posey saw action late in the game, and looked good. However, the numbers game plays against him.

Tight End

1. Virgil Green 94.9
2. Garrett Graham 80.0
3. Jeff Heuerman 17.1
4. Henry Krieger-Coble 37.1
5. John Phillips N/A

Will we finally see the emergence of Green as a receiver? Well, we saw that potential once again in this preseason game. There was one play in particular where Green showed such understanding of the game and determination. He caught the ball, and was tackled, except he realized he was never down and kept going to pick up extra yards.

Graham played a really good game. His routes looked good and his blocking was really good. The first-year tight end Heuerman was really disappointing. His blocking was really bad and his routes were sloppy, and from what I have been hearing from training camp, these issues have been consistent.

Krieger-Coble looked better than Heuerman, but not by much. His blocking was just a little better, but his routes looked a bit crisper than Heuerman’s. Due to the numbers game and injuries elsewhere, only three of these guys make if, pushing Krieger-Coble off the roster. John Phillips also doesn’t make the roster.

Offensive Tackle

1. Russell Okung: N/A
2. Donald Stephenson: 49.3
3. Michael Schofield: 63.6
4. Darrion Weems: 58.1
5. Cameron Jefferson: 17.4
6. Justin Murray: N/A
7. Lars Hanson: N/A
8, Sam Carlson: N/A
9. Kyle Roberts: N/A

Okung did not play due to injury. Stephenson started at right tackle, with Schofield at left tackle and it was a rough go for Stephenson. Schofield played much better than credit will be given, but it was still a rough outing. Schofield’s weakness was on display as he faced the speed rushers of Chicago, making him look like he was on skates.

Weems started at right guard, where he looked best, then moved to RT and eventually LT. His showing at RT left a lot to be desired, but he looked comfortable at LT. Of course, facing off against third/fourth stringers at that point may have helped.

Jefferson came in to end the game at right tackle and looked lost on multiple occasions. Due to injury concerns here, along with versatility, the top four make it. Schofield and Weems provide value as they can play multiple spots on the offensive line.

Offensive Guard

1. Max Garcia: 71.3
2. Ty Sambrailo: N/A
3. Connor McGovern 81.3
4. Aaron Neary: 41.1
5. Robert Myers: N/A

Ty Sambrailo did not play due to injury. At left guard, Garcia looked good but had plenty of issues. His pass blocking was inconsistent, but his run blocking was strong and he showed run-mauler ability on multiple occasions.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... When McGovern came in, he really excelled. Before I realized it was him, I was trying to figure out which veteran was at right guard. He looked that good. There are many questions about his strength, but on one run he pushed two 300-plus-pound defensive linemen away from the play, opening a good hole for the ball carrier.

As for Neary, it was inconsistent, which isn’t surprising at all. He made a big case for a practice squad spot. Myers did not play. Only the top three make it here.


1. Matt Paradis: 94.9
2. James Ferentz: 91.9
3. Dillon Day: 18.9

Paradis played a really good game, and it was nearly flawless except for two plays. One, he lost track of a player who came on a stunt and allowed pressure. Two, he let the defender get his inside shoulder, which he blew past to cause disruption on a run play.

Ferentz played a really good game with the second unit. Day first came in at guard, and looked really bad. His game continued to be poor as the time went on.

Best Practice Squad Options

1. Henry Krieger-Coble
2. Bralon Addison
3. Aaron Neary

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

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