Notes on the Broncos Practice Game

| August 19th, 2018

Photo by Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports

  • This entire game comes down to the medical status of Adam Shaheen (pictured above) and Leonard Floyd. If Shaheen is significantly hurt, the Bears will be devastated. For weeks I’ve been writing and Tweeting about the big tight end because I’ve been told no player has more excited the coaching staff with his potential. If Floyd is significantly hurt, well, that Kahlil Mack stuff is about to get serious because the Bears are lightest on the edge.
  • Back when I used to play fantasy football (my running backs were Marshall Faulk and Shaun Alexander) a game like this would have changed my entire draft approach. Why? Because it’s clear Mitch Trubisky and Trey Burton have a thing going and last night’s practice game was an opportunity for them to play pitch-and-catch against an actual opponent.
  • Why give Jordan Howard nine carries in a practice game? The numbers are definitive. These star running backs have a limited number of carries/years in their bodies. They hit a career wall at thirty years old. I’d put Howard in an ice bath until after Labor Day.
  • The interior of the Bears offensive line got pushed around a bit. But these guys are impossible to evaluate without scheme being involved. (And I don’t think this is their best five but that’s another issue entirely.)
  • Both Isaac Yiadom & Kyle Fuller were called for the “lowering the head” penalty. In neither case was the call accurate. It was obvious during the Hall of Fame Game and it’s becoming more obvious as days go by. If the NFL doesn’t suspend this rule before the season opens and revisit it, they’re making a terrible mistake. The product has suffered terribly over the last few seasons because of decisions by the front office. This will continue that trend.

  • Liked how Matt Nagy approached Cody Parkey after he missed a 52-yarder early. It wasn’t a Parcells “I’ll kill you” glance or a “Hey we’ll get em next time” pat on the fanny. Nagy was fired up. He knows the kicker has to be better. And the Bears better hope he is better.
  • Could have been a total fluke but Parkey killed a kickoff inside the ten. If he can do that regularly the Bears will have a huge advantage in field position.
  • Mitch Trubisky is going to drive defenses crazy with his legs. But how about not calling designed runs for him in practice games?
  • Trubisky rolled left an threw and absolute dime to Anthony Miller about twenty yards down the field ON THE RUN. It’s impossible to understand how difficult a throw that is for any quarterback to make. It’s those kinds of plays that make people, including me, think Tru is going to be special.
  • Roy Robertson-Harris and Jon Bullard were on the field at the same time for a lot of this game. RRH makes plays. Bullard doesn’t. It’s simple as that.
  • Case Keenum looked awful against the Bears starters. Once Emmanuel Sanders was one-on-one with Doran Grant he seemed to get more comfortable. Shocking, that. (Side note: Grant is not any good.)
  • How about Steve Levy and Brian Griese, two good broadcasters, not acknowledging the Broncos’ offensive success was coming against Bears backups? What’s strange is that broadcast is for Denver fans. How do you not communicate that information to the fans who aren’t familiar with the Bears roster?
  • On the Trubisky pick: (a) I don’t like Tru going to these sidearm deliveries. They’ve been getting Matt Stafford in trouble for years. Lazy mechanics. (b) I don’t like Tarik Cohen running crossing routes over the middle. That’s not where he’s going to be productive.
  • Iggy’s name barely fits on his jersey. (Yes, it’s getting near halftime and this is the level of cutting edge analysis I’ve got for you.) But he does a very nice job getting sideline-to-sideline. And he’s going to be a weapon covering backs in open space.
  • Man, every time I look at Anthony Miller I see Steve Smith. And Steve Smith is maybe my favorite non-Bears football player ever. Can we have one? Please, can we have one?
  • Kevin Toliver II is not a finished product by any means. He still needs to learn ball awareness. But he’s a far better cover man than Grant and the rest of the lower depth chart guys and I liked a few plays he made in run support, including one big stick early in the third quarter.
  • Kevin White is still catching passes well into the third quarter. And no other contributor is anywhere near the field any longer. White’s roster spot gets more and more tenuous by the week.
  • Deiondre’ Hall just hammered the Broncos punt returner after he called for fair catch. Hall should have been thrown out of the game immediately. If you want to protect players, or at least pretend like the NFL does, this is the kind of play that has to be completely eliminated from the sport.
  • Daniel Brown getting work as the third quarter winds down. Is that wise? Isn’t Brown going to be an important piece for this team if Shaheen is lost?
  • Hoo boy, Paxton Lynch is terrible. And Brian Griese just said he got booed walking onto the field. Who boos the third string quarterback in a meaningless practice game? Aren’t people in Denver supposed to be chilled out by the rampant marijuana usage?
  • I’m watching this game on an NFL Network replay at 7 AM. I really wish I lived on the west coast. I could get into morning football.
  • People who should not return punts for the Bears this year: (1) Cre’von Leblanc. End of list.
  • Chase Daniel looked fine. He’s a B- backup quarterback. He’ll bring unspectacular stability should he ever see the field in the regular season. Won’t win games. Won’t lose em either. (But not sure why Daniel played so much of this game.)
  • So. Many. Flags. And they just feel excessive in preseason games. I know they have to throw em but, really, do they? Let the Broncos have 12 defenders on the field. Nobody is even watching.
  • Something to watch in the WR roster battle: Marlon Brown is active on specials. Good tackler. One has to wonder how White’s inability to contribute on specials will impact the team’s decision on him.
  • Griese: “Tanner Gentry, he’s…he’s…he’s…reliable.” (Actual quote)
  • There should be a 54th roster spot for every NFL franchise, given to the guy who does the most grunt work in these practice games. Taquan Mizzell may not make the team but man is he working hard this summer for the team.

Okay, I made it. Updates on injuries are all that matters in next 24-to-48 hours. Stay tuned.

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