The building process continues for the 2009 Denver Broncos. This week, Head Coach Josh McDaniels released the first depth chart of training camp. While a part of me believes too much is made of the depth chart, especially the first one, I also find it fun to look it over.
1) There aren’t any huge surprises. There is no 2009 Mike Bell, the free agent running back who found himself atop the depth chart a few seasons ago. Mario Haggan listed at first team outside linebacker is probably the most unexpected placing.
Don’t read into Brandon Marshall being a second-team wide receiver. Brandon has been injured virtually all of training camp and he won’t play in the pre-season opener Friday night. As of now, Marshall as a second team wide receiver is a non-issue.
2) Even without Marshall most of camp, the Broncos have some quality wide receivers. Eddie Royal, Brandon Stokley and Jabar Gaffney are the number ones right now and a team could certainly do worse than that. Plus, Marshall is clearly still a top receiver, with veteran Brandon Lloyd a second-teamer. Young guys like Nate Swift, Kenny McKinley, Matthew Willis and Travis Shelton will be fun to watch in the pre-season. Oh yeah, Chad Jackson is on the roster, too.
3) Several guys stand out as being at a crossroads. Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder, Josh Barrett, and Jeb Putzier come to mind in this regard. These are familiar names to Broncos’ fans but is there room on the roster for them? They’ll all have the chance to state their cases in the next four weeks.
4) When I see the depth in the secondary, I get excited. I love the mix of experience and youth. Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill are the starting safeties, with draft picks David Bruton and Darcel McBath as the back-ups.
Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman are the top corners. Behind them are Alphonso Smith and Jack Williams. Nice.
I know the young guys haven’t done anything in any kind of game yet. But as the Broncos head into the pre-season opener, I like the defensive backfield.
5) How long will it take for running back Knowshon Moreno to climb the depth chart? We all know he won’t be the fourth-string running back for long.
6) Seeing all the defensive linemen on one sheet of paper makes me realize how many questions there are with this group. I know, that isn’t exactly a news flash. I still believe this unit will be better than many people think it will, but there isn’t one guy who has been a standout player yet in his career.
How good will the starters (Ryan McBean and Kenny Peterson at end and Ronald Fields at nose tackle) be? Fields is getting his first opportunity to be a starter, as is Peterson. McBean, while seemingly talented, has played in one NFL game in his first two years in the league.
Of the second-team defensive linemen, Marcus Thomas (DE), Matthias Askew (DE) and Chris Baker (NT), only Thomas has appreciable NFL experience, if two years qualifies as such.
As mentioned earlier, I am going to wait and see how this group develops. That process begins at the end of the week.
I’m not usually much of a fan of the NFL preseason. But this year is different. There have been so many changes for the Broncos, with a brand new coaching staff and a lot of turnover on the roster. I am both interested and excited to see how this team will come together.
As a personal added bonus, this preseason opener will be extra special since I’ll have the opportunity to work the broadcast from a different perspective. Normally I am in the studio hosting the pregame, halftime and postgame shows. Friday night I’ll be in the booth calling the game as Dave Logan’s color analyst.
Candlestick Park holds many memories for me. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I rooted for the 49ers. And when I was in college at Cal, I worked for CBS (when the network aired NFC games) at many 49ers games.
I hope you enjoy Friday’s game as much as I will. If you have a moment, let me know what you think of the depth chart. I always enjoy reading your comments.