Denver Broncos Offense: The Final Pre-Season Exam Against The Minnesota Vikings

Michael Keller@@MichaelK_NFLAnalyst IIISeptember 4, 2010

Denver Broncos Offense: The Final Pre-Season Exam Against The Minnesota Vikings

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball during an NFL preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, on September 2, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Ph
    Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

    If I were taking this exam as the Denver Broncos offense, I would elect to take it as a Pass/Fail. No chance to get an A, so just look to survive.

    Did they do that? Barely. with some critical injuries and some incredibly sloppy play by many members of the group. The RBs, the QBs and especially the offensive line, at times were, well .... offensive.

    Let's look at some of the performances and see where they grade out.

Starting at The Front Of The Line, With The Offensive Line

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  Brady Quinn #9 of the Denver Broncos passes the ball as Nate Triplett #58 of the Minnesota Vikings defends during an NFL preseason game at the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, on September 2, 2010 in Minn
    Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

    A disclaimer here. The first team started the game and played about two series, with a few individual exceptions. They looked good, moved the ball and provided decent protection for Kyle Orton. But also we must remember that Minnesota didn't play their first team at all. So even in those first two series, the Broncos first team was going against the Vikings second team.

    And it was when the second and third team came on the field that we started to see some really sloppy work.things started to get sloppy, sometime VERY sloppy.

    The first play of the series when the second string came in, there was a fumble between the center, Olsen and QB Tebow. Which allowed a 7-0 lead to go to a 7-7 tie in about 32 seconds of clock time. Whose fault was it? I don't know exactly but it kindof set the stage for much of the play to follow by the offense and the line in particular.

    The afore mentioned Mr. Olsen had an OFF-SIDES call against him. And he is the one that controls the snap. Not the right move if you want to be a center in the NFL. In addition to that, he had some missed blocking assignments and seemed to be not-ready-for-Prime-time in many ways.

    We als saw missed assignments and missed blocks all over the field that provided a lot of excitement for the RBs and the QBs in getting plays to go past the line of scrimmage.

    Final Comment and final grade:

    D+ and a "Please, oh Please, don't let any more of the starters get hurt. 

The Running Backs: They Could Run But They Couldn't Hide

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    DENVER - AUGUST 29:  Running back Lance Ball #35 of the Denver Broncos rushes the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during preseason NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    With the offensive line play as it was, it was difficult for any of the RBs to truly distinguish them selves. Bruce Hall got most of the work and looked good in spots but had a fumble with a helmet hit by the Vikings defense. He did have a couple of decent runs later but didn't stand out.

    Lance Ball didn't get too much playing time but solidified his lock on a roster spot. With Moreno's and White's injuries, he will be here for the duration, barring an injury to himself.

    Final Comment and Final Grade:

    C- with no help from the offensive line.

Wide Receivers: The Homecoming Kings

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    DENVER - AUGUST 21:  Wide receiver Eric Decker #87 of the Denver Broncos makes a reception against the Detroit Lions during preseason NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 21, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Lions defeated the Broncos 25-20.  (
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Here was the only real bright spot in the Offensive Team's notebook.

    Eric Decker continues to do his best Eddie MacCaffrey impersonation and was the primary target for both Tim Tebow and especially Brady Quinn. He went accross the middle ant made catch after catch over the middle.

    Matthew Willis was also a huge target for the QBs left in the breach and was doing all he could to make sure he was a roster survivor. I think he was successful.

    Final Comment and final grade:

    A- and a "Big Gold Star". This group is ready for post-graduate work. 

Last But Not Least; The Quartebacks

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 2:  Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos passes the ball during an NFL preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, on September 2, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Phot
    Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

    This is a Good news/Bad news situation in that what I saw from both contenders was not totally bad but was not worthy of many "Oh Yea's" either.

    Both Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn made some good plays and some not-so-good ones. 

    Bottom line; I saw enough from Quinn last night that he should be the backup QB but would be listed as the "disaster QB" so that Tebow can do the Wild Horses" thing. But if I wanted anyone to be my backup starting QB after last night, it would be Brady Quinn.

    Final Comment and final grade:

    B and a "Have Some Talent Here but Kyle is the Best Option, Assuming We Don't Want to Skip the Playoffs one more time". Please, oh Please, don't let Orton get hurt. 

Final Thoughts: The Injury Bug Still Bites The Broncos

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  LenDale White #25 of the Denver Broncos leaves the field during an NFL preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, on September 2, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
    Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

    RB LenDale White, gone for the season.

    RT Ryan Harris, limped off the field and didn't return. Potentially, a huge blow.

    TEs Marquis Branson and Richard Quinn both walking wounded.

    I am not sure how many more players can go down before Josh has to wave the white flag. They just keep coming.

    Overall, some good things and some bad things but now the real test is coming at JAX next week.

    One more week to bolster this side of the ball but we will need all the time we can get.

    And the defense better be ready to hold the fort while the offense heals.

    Final Grade going into the regular season:

    C-/D+ Or in the Pass/Fail scheme a (barely) Pass grade.