5 things to watch in the Denver Broncos’ preseason game against the Buffalo Bills

The Denver Broncos head east to take on Josh Allen and the AFC favorites Buffalo Bills in their Week 2 preseason game. Both teams are coming off a win in their first pre-season game and are looking to move to 2-0 in the pre-season.

One of the main storylines in this game will be how the Broncos backups/second team offensive and defensive fairs against the starters the Bills plan to play for a good portion of the game. We know we won’t see many Broncos starters again, so hopefully our reserves put up a good fight against the Bills starters.

1 – Broncos substitutes vs. Bills starters

It will be a real test for the Broncos’ second and third team players. The Bills’ offense is explosive because it comes when they’re firing at full throttle and the defense now has Von Miller coming off the edge, so it won’t be an easy task for them.

Head coach Nathaniel Hackett called it an “incredible opportunity” for the players who will face some of the league’s best on Saturday.

“That’s the best rating you can get. We want to see who can come out and play against the best in the league. It’s an amazing opportunity for these guys to step in and show what they can do.

It’s exciting because if these second and third team guys are pushed into action, they’ll be expected to perform against the best of each team. So seeing how they’re going to perform, especially the rookies and inexperienced guys, is something I can’t wait to see.

If the Broncos come out and defend against the Bills with their reserves, that will be really encouraging to see. Now, if they’re struggling a bit, it at least gives them something to work on moving forward and they can use that as a teaching moment.

2 – The Broncos quarterback battle continues

The writing seems to be on the wall for this one, but the Broncos quarterback battle continues into week two of the preseason. Veteran journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson will get the second straight start and appears to be the favorite for backup work.

Josh Johnson is coming off a solid two-touchdown performance against the Cowboys and will now look to repeat his success against the Bills defense. Brett Rypien will likely arrive after half-time like last week and try to show the coaches he’s worthy of starting the pre-season finale next week.

Head coach Nathaniel Hackett mentioned looking for quarterbacks to not turn the ball around, make smart decisions and move chains.

“Yeah, both guys did really well. [QB] Josh [Johnson] played a very good game the other night. [It] wasn’t too big for him. I think he got out of here and did a good job. [He] had a few things he needed to improve on, but that’s everyone. Everyone has to improve. I do, these guys do and you just want to keep watching these guys fight and have healthy competition because ‘Ryp’ (QB Brett Rypien) did a good job. The idea is who can we get the most consistent? We want to be sure we don’t spill the ball, we make smart decisions and move the chains. »

That job looks like Johnson’s one to lose, but his struggle against the Bills’ starters could give Rypien (or the Broncos look elsewhere) a chance. So this is an important start for Johnson and hopefully he can repeat the success he had in the pre-season opener.

3. The domination of Baron Browning

The star of the preseason opener was second-year rusher Baron Browning. He recorded a sack, a pass deflection, a tackle for a loss and QB hit against the Cowboys and also showed his natural turn.

He was the best player on the court last week and if he can repeat that kind of success, especially against Josh Allen and the Bills’ starters, the hype train will be unstoppable.

Browning looked like the real deal and pushes Malik Reed as a third point carrier and likely gains reps with the starting defense as a situational passer. Also, with Randy Gregory slowly returning to form, we got to see Browning play some important snaps in Week 1 against the Seahawks.

I hope to see Browning continue his dominance, get a sack or two on Josh Allen and keep showing off that unreal turn and his other pass rush moves.

4 – The Run game needs improvement

One of the few disappointments in the preseason opener was the Broncos’ run play and run blocking. They couldn’t do anything against the Cowboys and the backs often had defenders in the backfield or just couldn’t do much with what they were getting. Additionally, the backs missed open running lanes and couldn’t create much for themselves either. It was just a poor performance for a team that should be a strong racing team.

I think we’ll see more third running back Mike Boone in this game. He played sparingly in the opener and should get more shots tomorrow. He’s arguably the most explosive back on the Broncos, so hopefully he can find some space and make a few plays.

Behind him, Stevie Scott and JaQuan Hardy will get the majority of the reps to close out the match. Neither of them really showed a ton against the Cowboys, so hopefully they can do better this time around. Both are a long way off for a roster spot and are likely just logging pre-season runs for the team, so I’m not too invested here.

I really just want to see the Broncos offensive line get more push, open up running lanes and see Mike Boone snatch some long runs.

5 – Wide receivers Brandon Johnson, Jalen Virgil, Seth Williams and Kendall Hinton

The stars on the offensive side of the ball in the first games of the preseason were the Broncos’ receivers. They showed their depth and several receivers fighting for a roster spot made the case for a roster spot.

First up we have Hall Of Famer Kendall Hinton. He started the game and caught a long touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Johnson. I think his spot on the roster is probably secure, but another big game should help his status or at least boost his trade value a bit.

Then we have undrafted rookie Brandon Johnson that I talked about earlier today. He would have taken on first-team representatives all week and also got the start last week. He looks pretty safe right now too, but another big game showcasing his talents will be exciting to watch.

Big Seth Williams proved he could be a red-zone weapon by knocking down a crossfade for a touchdown against the Cowboys. If he can show that and more, I think he could push for a spot on the roster as well.

Jalen Virgil is my x factor here. He has a speed and explosiveness that you can’t teach and has always brought deep balls all over the camp. He had 3 catches for 83 yards against the Cowboys and continued an impressive night by Broncos receivers. If he can do it one more time, it will be hard to keep him off the roster.

I’m skeptical that these four guys will be able to repeat or improve on their performances from the first game, but hopefully a few of them can once again impress. I’m betting on Brandon Johnson and Jalen Virgil to both have big games.

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