There are few things you should be aware of during the Broncos preseason openers against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Denver Broncos will begin their preseason 2022 tonight against the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams had a very chippy joint practice Thursday, which the Broncos won easily. Now they will face off for real tonight.
It is unlikely that we will see any of the Broncos’ main starters in this game. This will allow the Broncos’ backups and rookies to show their skills to the coaches, with live bullets flying.
Here are five things you should watch in the Broncos’ preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
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Josh Johnson vs. Brett Rypien
The Broncos have once again launched a quarterback competition. This is the competition for Russell Wilson’s backup quarterback.
Johnson, who played for 17 professional teams during his legendary journeyman career, has the best chance to win the backup quarterback position. The Broncos signed Johnson in free agency. He was likely someone that the Broncos wanted to work with. Although he hasn’t had the best camp, he has been able to turn it up and show off his deep ball skills.
Rypien is the most popular of the two. Rypien has shown some promise during his time with Broncos, and has made some notable plays during Training Camp. Rypien was drafted by Vic Fangio and John Elway. They both went away, and a new GM is in place. Rypien has lost the support he needed most. He will need to exceed his expectations in order to win the job as a backup.
We’ll likely see Johnson play the first half and Rypien the second. We’ll be seeing the Broncos have only three quarterbacks so expect to see them both in the three remaining preseason games.
There is no guarantee for the selection of both for the team, so both quarterbacks will have to take the heat starting tonight.
Montrell Washington, Brandon Johnson
Montrell Washington was the star player at Broncos camp, and it was an unanticipated one. Although the fifth round selection was not a popular choice, it was considered a player who could only be used as a receiver. But that perception changed quickly during camp, when Washington became a standout player in every practice. Washington even got some first-team reps. Washington now has the chance to carry that momentum into the Broncos preseason opener.
Washington will likely start in the slot for Broncos, while Washington can also handle kick and punt return duties. We should expect a lot from this exciting rookie.
Wide receiver Brandon Johnson, an unexpected UDFA, has been a big hit during training camp. He worked out with Russell Wilson in the offseason, and had a solid training camp. Although he was outshined in the end by Montrell Washington’s, he made key plays with camp and the first-team offense.
The Broncos are looking for someone to snap Tim Patrick, who is out for the year due to an ACL injury. Johnson and these two players will get their first chance to prove that they can potentially earn these reps.
Baron Browning, Nik Bonitto
The Broncos two young, explosive edge players are probably the two players that I am most excited to see tonight. These players are Baron Browning, and the 2022 second-round selection, Nik Bonitto.
Baron Browning, their most notable breakout player on the defensive side of football, is probably their best. This offseason, the former third-round pick who was an inside linebacker player was made an edge rusher. Browning’s elite athleticism, size/speed/strength and natural bend make him a viable starter in the Broncos defense.
Browning will be facing the Cowboys’ backup tacklings, who were being worked during joint practice. We should expect to see Browning chasing the quarterback often and aggressively. He’s going be the player everyone is hyping up for after tomorrow’s game.
Bonitto had his best practice this summer in the joint practice, where he accumulated four sacks against Cowboys. These were not live bullets so they were assumed sacks. We’ll see how he does when he takes to the field tonight.
I’m excited to see him explode off the snap and chase the passer at a high speed once more tonight. It will be interesting to see how he handles running. It’ll be interesting for us to see how he does in the run game.
The preseason’s most intense roster battle will be for the 4th-5th and possibly 6th cornerback positions. About four to five real players contested these roster sports.
Patrick Surtain II and Ronald Darby are all likely to be absent so Michael Ojemudia and rookie Damarri Mathis will likely be in the starting corners. Essang Bassey will be in the slot corner.
These three seem to be leading the pack as of now. However, veteran Bless Austin and rookie FaionHicks are trying to push for roster spots during preseason.
I really hope to see Michael Ojemudia make a strong preseason showing. He was very popular in the spring, and he needs to continue that momentum into the summer. He’s currently the Broncos number four corner. But rookie Damarri Mathis is close behind him. I have high expectations of the rookie corner for the Broncos and believe he can be the star of the game on the defensive side.
Faion Hicks, seventh-round draft, is a dark horse to keep an eye out for. He has been a standout at camp and should get plenty of playing time tonight. It would not surprise me if he plays well and makes his push for a roster slot.
Sam Martin vs. Corliss Waitman
The Broncos’ punting contest will be a fascinating one to watch. It is perhaps the most overlooked roster battle on the team. While veteran Sam Martin is the favourite for the job, Corliss Waitman’s kicks have been impressive in camp and could be a cheaper option for Broncos this season.
The Broncos placed a lot of emphasis on special team play in the offseason, and it carried into the summer. This is a legitimate roster battle. The team has a new coaching staff and no commitments to Sam Martin. Waitman is also a bit cheaper than the veteran Sam Martin, and financials are often important in these tight roster battles.
Martin is the favourite for the job. However, it will be interesting seeing how Waitman performs during tonight’s match. We could have a bigger conversation if he makes a few more punts from the 20-yard line.