The Denver Broncos (1-0) are back in action after their opening Hall of Fame win over Atlanta (14-10), to take on Seattle from CenturyLink Field. Last season, these teams faced each other in the opener of the regular season with the Seahawks winning, 27-24.
Ugly offense, solid defense
You are not going to get a lot of the first preseason game, especially when it’s the Hall of Fame Game. In Vic Fangio’s opener as head coach, the former defensive coordinator received a strong effort from his defense, which held the Falcons to 178 yards passing and 83 yards rushing. That’s against mainly Kurt Benkert and the third-stringers of the Falcons, while Denver was led by Brett Rypien, who threw a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:26 left to Juwan Winfree for the win.
This was Fangio’s first win and a painful one as he was attempting to pass a kidney stone before the game. He must have felt a little better after Rypien’s touchdown pass. Rookie quarterback Drew Lock completed 7 of 11 for 34 yards in an unimpressive start for the second-rounder. He should see more action in the second game with starter Joe Flacco, getting minimal action at best. Flacco is working hard in practice and could see minimal action in this one. He’s coming off an erratic season with Baltimore and as an average quarterback since winning the Super Bowl in 2012, he’ll need a better effort from an offensive line that was subpar last season. Fortunately, he has two quality running backs in Phillip Lindsay (1,037 rushing yards) and Royce Freeman. He also has veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, returning from an Achilles’ injury.
While offense will be a question mark, defensively under Fangio, this should be a strong unit with Von Miller (14.5 sacks) and Bradley Chubb (12.0 sacks) leading the way. Last season, they finished 22nd overall in total defense and 21st against the run (119.6ypg). The additions of corners Kareem Jackson (Houston) and Bryce Callahan (Chicago) should alleviate the loss of CB Bradley Roby.
Not ready to rebuild
Seattle finished 10-6 last season as the team has transitioned from a defensive-oriented team to one led by Russell Wilson and the offense. The “Legion of Boom” is gone with Earl Thomas now off to Baltimore and Kam Chancellor expected to retire. The addition of 6-3 rookie Tre Flowers from Boston College, gave the Seahawks a long corner, reminiscent of Richard Sherman (now with the 49ers). Up front, they didn’t pay DE Frank Clark (13 sacks) so they moved him to Kansas City. That means first-round pick L.J. Collier and second-year end Jacob Martin will have to provide pressure. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Collier suffered a serious ankle sprain in practice and is out for “weeks”.
Last season, Seattle ranked first against the run and 14th against the pass. They’ll have to rely even more on arguably the best linebacker combo in the game in Bobby Wagner (138 tackles) and K.J. Wright. On offense, running backs Chris Carson (1,151 yards) and Rashaad Penny (419 yds, 4.9ypc) led the Seahawks to the number one rushing team in the league. Wilson tossed for 35 TDs and just seven picks last year with 3,448 yards, cementing his status as one of the elite quarterbacks in the game.
Wilson did miss his first preseason practice ever after attending his grandfather’s funeral.
“I don’t like missing practice ever, but life and family are more important than anything we do,” Wilson said. “So to go back home and see my family and everything else and celebrate his life with them—it was a quick 24 hours, but it was worth it for sure.”
Wilson adds a freakishly big and athletic receiver in D.K. Metcalf out of Ole Miss, who could provide a nice complement to Tyler Lockett (57 for 965 yds) and Doug Baldwin (58 for 618 yds).
Injury update: Metcalf is dealing with an oblique injury and sat out the team portion of practice on Monday.
Asked if Metcalf will be able to play in Thursday’s preseason game, Carroll said, “It looks like it. We’ve got to wait and see though. He could have practiced today; we wanted to get another day of clearance just to make sure that it’s not lingering.”