This is just going to be a random jumble of thoughts, in no particular order, as they come to me.
I’m giddy right now about two players: Tyler Lockett & Frank Clark. LEARN HOW TO SPELL HIS NAME NOW! No ‘e’ on the end! Lockett was a pure bundle of energy last night on most of his returns. Maybe time will tell if that’s just the Broncos having a crappy special teams, but I’m putting it out there that at some point in the next two years, Lockett will be a Pro Bowl returner. This kid’s got everything we ever hoped and dreamed out of Percy Harvin, minus the cancerous attitude, hefty paycheck, and need to be placated on offense with an endless stream of bubble screens. Was he worth the draft picks it took to trade up to get him? I think the NFL will learn very soon (if they haven’t learned already) that he most certainly was!
Frank Clark definitely looked like he belonged among the starters in the first half, and that’s great. But, he looked like a man among boys in the second half, and that’s actually what I find encouraging. I know you’re not supposed to get too excited about what happens in the second half of the first pre-season game, but I think it clearly showed he’s a step above most rookies in the league. He rifled through the line to make play after play in the backfield; if we only get that on a rotational basis, just imagine how good he’ll be once he’s got a year or two of professional experience under his belt!
I was also highly encouraged by Cassius Marsh. He looked faster than most coming off of the edge. While he didn’t always get home – and on more than a few occasions ran himself out of the play – that’s something you can correct and work on in practice. To say he’s the second-coming of Chris Clemons would be short-changing him, but I think we’ll have something special in him when it’s all said and done.
The obvious bummer of last night (aside from the injuries) was the offensive line. From the get-go, it just didn’t look right. I don’t know how you can expect Russell Wilson to throw in rhythm and in the pocket when it’s collapsing around him the moment he reaches the end of his drop! Still, I believe in Tom Cable, and I think he’ll give us something we can use by the time the games start counting. Nevertheless, the O-Line will be our #1 concern throughout the season, so be prepared (what else is new, right?).
Honestly, what’s most discouraging was our lack of a run game. Turbin & Michael were pretty well bottled up most of the game. Cable seems to be willing to concede some pass protection in the name of a powerful rushing attack, and if he’s okay with it, I can be okay with it. But, if we’re getting neither? That’s gotta change.
Given the horrendous effort from our O-Line, it’s hard to really evaluate anyone else on the offense. Obviously, Anthony McCoy dropping two easy passes doesn’t bode well, so we’ll see how he bounces back (he’s obviously not the only tight end on this team whose been prone to the dropsies – I’m looking at you, Luke Willson). Honestly, I thought Chris Matthews was looking the most solid of our receivers – bringing in one catch for 8 yards with a defender draped ALL OVER him. I REALLY fucking hope his injury isn’t serious, but it looked bad when I saw it in live action. Potentially season-ending (if you believe Jeremy Lane is going to be our one IR-Designated To Return player). For the record, I think that’s a stupid rule, and I think teams should be able to put as many players as they want onto the IR-Designated To Return.
Tarvaris Jackson went down with an ankle, which also looked pretty bad. I don’t know how long he’ll be out for, but if this team has to bring in another veteran QB, that’s a bad sign.
I don’t have a lot to say about the secondary, other than the obvious: this team will be hurting if our stars don’t show up for the regular season. No one really stood out in a good or bad way to me, so we’ll see how the rest of the pre-season goes.