Preseason

What no preseason games means for the young Broncos

  • 2020 NFL Training Camp
  • 2020 Offseason
  • Chris Harris Jr.
  • Denver Broncos
  • Drew Lock
  • Jerry Jeudy
  • K.J. Hamler
  • Lloyd Cushenberry
  • NFL
  • NFLPA
  • Pat Shurmur
  • Phillip Lindsay
  • Preseason
  • roster
  • Undrafted Rookies
By Andy Martinez July 30, 2020 0 Comment

THE NFL AND NFLPA ANNOUNCE THE CANCELLATION OF THE ENTIRE PRESEASON. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE BRONCOS?

As the start of the new NFL season approaches, its future still seems uncertain. With the current COVID outbreak, the league is faced with acclimating to protocols to protect its players and their families. Last week, the NFL and the Players Association decided to forgo the entire NFL Preseason.

The move was rooted in the idea of eliminating any unnecessary risks prior to the highly anticipated 2020 season. For many veteran players, the change was a relief, for others not so much. Although the NFL’s preseason has faced criticism in previous seasons, it continues to lend itself as an opportunity for success.

The loss of all four preseason games will put young, developing teams like the Denver Broncos at a major disadvantage.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

The Broncos made some noise this offseason with plenty of new additions on the offensive unit. The team became younger, faster, and stronger seemingly overnight. Unfortunately, with the cancellation of the entire preseason, the offense’s development took a massive hit.

There is no doubt First-Rounder Jerry Jeudy, is about as NFL ready as any rookie can be. Coming out of a pro-style system in Alabama, Jeudy has the training and ability to shine at the next level. But the potential for problems begins to grow with rookies like KJ Hamler and Lloyd Cushenberry III. The lack of live repetitions will deter the growth of many young players expected to produce early and often.

However, the pressure for these rookies comes nowhere near the level Drew Lock is set to face this season. After a long offseason of growing expectations, the 2nd year QB will have a chance to establish himself as the man in Denver. Lock will have to learn and perfect Pat Shurmur’s offense as he tries to lead his team to its first playoff berth since 2015.

RISKING IT ALL

The virus wasn’t the only prominent risk associated with this year’s cancelled preseason. Player injuries are extremely common and costly to teams across the league. Teams often limit their starters to a certain amount of play time and can only hope their star players don’t get hurt in scrimmages.

This season, the Broncos have a few vital players directly impacted by the decision to scratch the preseason. Players like Bradley Chubb, Bryce Callahan, and Ja’Wuan James are all fresh off rehabbing injuries this offseason. While wiping the preseason entirely would essentially give them more time to heal and condition, they lose the opportunity to ease back into the field at a comfortable pace.

MAKING THE CUT

Along with the cancellation of the NFL Preseason, it was announced that teams would field roster sizes of 80 players, as opposed to the usual 90. What does that mean for the Denver Broncos?

For starters, at least ten more players will have their dreams cut short. Preseason and training camp are often proving grounds for players scrambling for a roster spot. Among them? Undrafted rookie gems.

For years, the Broncos have been able to find diamonds in the rough. A few notable players include: Rod Smith, C.J. Anderson, Chris Harris Jr. and of course the hometown kid, Phillip Lindsay.

It seems as if every season the Broncos make it a mission to give at least one undrafted rookie a shot at making the 53-man roster. That streak can possibly come to an end this year. Without preseason games, these unproven players have no light to shine over them, while limited roster spots make it more difficult to leave their mark before the season begins.

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