Preseason made for DVR
Sunday afternoon in mid-August.
Sunshine, green grass, maybe a hint of cooling breeze.
And you and I are going to sit inside and watch the Denver Broncos take on the San Francisco 49ers in a preseason football game?
How about we record the game that will start at 2 p.m. MDT and watch it later?
If you’ve got nothing going on Sunday night, perfect. The alternative I’ll favor will be to wake up early Monday morning, opt for coffee instead of beer and check out the action. And because it’s a preseason game, I won’t care if I do already know the final result. All I’ll be watching for will be certain individual performances.
So, what are we watching for, this second preseason game, the Broncos helping the 49ers kick off a new era in a new stadium?
First and foremost, we must keep in mind these are two of the most talented teams in the league, and the second game is traditionally one of the two preseason contests in which the first-teamers spend plenty of time on the field.
Look for the Broncos and 49ers to go with the regulars on both sides of the ball into the third quarter. That will give this contest much more of a regular-season look than the preseason openers in which the regulars were on the field only briefly.
Yes, we’ll see plenty of Peyton and plenty of Colin (Manning and Kaepernick for the obsessively compulsive).
Manning spent the better part of the first quarter in Denver’s 21-16 win over Seattle monitoring a long touchdown drive and hitting his favorite receiver Demaryius Thomas. Manning was 10 of 13 for 78 yards, with five completions going to Thomas.
In this one, look for Manning to try to get more familiar with newcomer Emmanuel Sanders and the wizard over the middle, Wes Welker. Also look for second-round draft pick Cody Latimer to see more action, especially in the second half.
The other thing to watch for offensively is the “second coming of Terrell Davis.” That’s the moniker put on undrafted rookie Juwan Thompson by at least one reporter after his 59 yards on six carries against the Seahawks.
It’s way too early to go overboard on Thompson, but the 5-foot-11, 225-pounder has been impressive in camp and has caught a few breaks with the appendectomy to starting running back Montee Ball and the concussion sustained by C.J. Anderson that have combined to get Thompson onto the field.
He will see plenty of action against one of the toughest run defenses in the league and, if he continues to impress, the Broncos will have gone a long way toward answering what was probably their biggest problem area going into the season, depth at running back.
One other offensive area to keep an eye on is the performance of the offensive line that is solidifying — Ryan Clady, Orlando Franklin, Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez and Chris Clark, from left to right. Again, they will be going against a superb defensive unit. Can they hold their own, perhaps even dominate?
Defensively, the Broncos suffered a setback during the week when starting weakside linebacker Danny Trevathan went down to a fractured knee that could keep him off the field through the first couple of regular-season games.
His backup is Brandon Marshall, a second-year player from Nevada. And if the coaching staff decides to go another direction, be on the lookout for Lamin Barrow, the team’s fifth-round draft pick out of LSU who has drawn raves and already moved up the depth chart a couple of spots, now being listed as second team behind Nate Irving in the middle.
As for other places to shine the spotlight on defense, you should see much more of the new free agent signees, DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib, and they’ll certainly have their hands full in trying to deal with Kaepernick’s scrambling.
Ware, who had a sack in his preseason debut, will have to be more concerned about containment in this one.
Chris Harris won’t be ready at corner, and Von Miller won’t play at linebacker, but that will allow more experience for corners Bradley Roby and Kayvon Webster and Larentee McCray, who backs up Miller at strongside linebacker.
So, set the recorder and enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the great western Colorado outdoors.
Rick Jussel is a former Daily Sentinel sports editor.