Denver Broncos: 10 Winners and Losers After Preseason Week 1
It has been said that while the quarterback controversy is getting all the publicity in Denver, some very intriguing position battles are raging.
One preseason game does not tell the whole story, and to be fair, a lot of players were missing from the lineup in Dallas. Still, sometimes a player's absence allows another to shine and steal an extra look.
With three more chances for most of these players (some might only get next week if it doesn't go well), here are some winners and losers coming out of Week 1.
Winner: Kyle McCarthy, SS
McCarthy had certainly caught the attention of both John Fox and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen in practice.
Thursday night in Dallas he caught everyone else's. Even though he does not have blinding speed, McCarthy is showing an astute football IQ and sure tackling ability.
He has played way into the second on the depth chart behind Brian Dawkins and could be forcing his fellow Notre Dame alum, David Bruton, out of a job.
Loser: Quinton Carter FS
Why is David Bruton in jeopardy of losing a spot? Because the Broncos are invested in draft pick Quinton Carter at FS.
Carter did not have the kind of showing that the Broncos were hoping for. His confusion with the scheme caused him to not be able to showcase his hard hitting, which it what got him drafted in the first place.
The truth of the matter is that the Broncos are going to hold onto every draft pick from this class. Still, it will be hard to justify why if players like Carter don't progress quickly.
Winner: Jeremiah Johnson RB
If you weren't watching the game on Thursday, you might be wondering why everyone was talking about a character that Robert Redford played and what it had to do with football.
Sorry, Jeremiah...if you make the team I will never make that pop culture reference again.
Johnson, with his hard running and touchdown dash, might have just become the apple of John Fox's eye. He is still behind Moreno, McGahee and Lance Ball on the depth chart, but another performance like the one he authored in Dallas will knock Ball from his spot with ease.
Loser: Lendale White RB
Coming into camp I thought that Lendale was going to get serious about making sure he made this team and prove the doubters wrong. He still has time to do that, but performances like Thursday's will not help.
In what can only be described as a "ho-hum" performance, White was far outplayed by newcomers like McGahee and Johnson.
Lingering questions about White's weight and overall fitness have not gone away and eventually could prove costly to his NFL career.
Winner: Mario Haggan MLB
Has there been a more versatile defensive player for the Broncos in recent memory?
A player who was on the fringe coming into camp because of the youth movement at linebacker is now threatening to crack the starting lineup again at MLB.
He has played numerous positions and been good enough to find playing time at all of them. Even if Haggan doesn't win the battle for inside linebacker over Joe Mays (which he might), his versatility is too valuable to let go of.
Loser: Nate Irving MLB
Wait...Irving didn't even play on Thursday night, how can he be a loser?
Irving is a loser because of how much ground he lost in the race for starting inside linebacker. Remember, that the Broncos drafted Irving and had high hopes for him to jump in and make an impact immediately.
Now, he gave the old veteran Mario Haggan an extended chance to show why he should be the guy over Joe Mays instead of Nate Irving. Granted Irving can't control his health, but I think he makes sure he is out there against Buffalo.
EPILOGUE: Irving had a freakishly good interception in full pads practice on Monday, Aug. 15. He knows that he needs to start impressing, and he is off to a good start.
Winner: Matthew Willis WR
Those who say that Tim Tebow under-threw Willis and cost him a game-changing touchdown are nitpicking, but that doesn't mean they are wrong.
Willis more than demonstrated his ability to separate from the defense, and building a connection with the possible future of the Denver quarterbacking position can't be a bad thing either.
The Broncos have a nice race developing amongst some of their possession receivers like Royal, Decker and Anderson. Willis is a winner for showing the ability to be a real home run hitter and separate from that pack.
Loser: Brady Quinn QB
Brady Quinn did not do anything to be considered a loser, which is what makes this so unfair.
Quinn is a loser because he has to come in every day and slip on the same jersey as Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow.
Tebow played well enough to justify his second spot on the depth chart at quarterback. That isn't to say that Quinn might not have been equally impressive taking snaps with the second team in the game, but when will he get that chance?
Quinn can continue to play well, but the only way he is jumping Tim Tebow on the depth chart would be due to injury, and nobody wants to see that happen.
Winner: Perrish Cox, CB
Like it or not, behind Champ Bailey the best cornerback on the roster may be Perrish Cox.
If he can focus solely on football, the Broncos might see Cox around the ball all the time in the defensive backfield. Not to mention after his interception against Dallas, it was clear that Cox is explosive in the open field and could still be valuable in the kick return game.
Loser: Denver Broncos in the Perrish Cox Situation
Every man deserves his day in court in our justice system. However, in the court of public opinion, Perrish Cox has already been found guilty.
In a perfect world for the Broncos, Cox would have faded away into anonymity and been easy to cut and part ways with. Now it seems that unless the Broncos find a better solution for depth at the cornerback position, they may be forced to keep the troubled cornerback.
If the Broncos cave to public opinion, they will have been forced to part with a promising talent, and if they decide to keep Cox, the fans will always see a criminal (right or wrong) when they look at No. 32.
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