BRONCOS

Don’t expect to see starters vs. Minnesota after Bills blasting the Broncos

Aug 22, 2022, 1:07 PM
Nathaniel Hackett...
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

About 48 hours after the Bills destroyed the Broncos in preseason game No. 2, there’s all different levels of concern.

Some folks are panicked, and rightfully so. How the Broncos played on Saturday was pitiful. Others are wisely pointing out Denver played very few of its starters, so the result should essentially be dismissed.

There are fair points on both sides, but one thing is clear, head coach Nathaniel Hackett isn’t going to have a knee-jerk reaction. Meeting with reporters on Monday, Hackett was asked about the plan against the Vikings in Denver’s final preseason game this weekend. It sounds like it will be similar to what we saw against the Cowboys and Bills.

“Yeah, I would say right now unless some things change, just like last week, a couple guys talking with them (and wanting to play),” Hackett said when asked if his starters would go. “For me, you lose two guys for an extended amount of period, just in this Bills game, I don’t want it to be anybody that could potentially be in that Seattle game.”

Hackett is referring to a dislocated elbow for cornerback Michael Ojemudia and a nasty foot / toe injury for offensive tackle Casey Tucker. While neither injury is crippling, Hackett doesn’t want to see something like that happen to a key Week 1 starter. In fact, as tempting as it is to start looking ahead to the Seahawks on Sept. 12, Hackett isn’t going there just yet.

“You don’t want to start right now because you don’t want the game plan to get dull. So you still want them to get better and compete against the defense we’re going against which is ours. I’m not going to lie, I may have looked at a couple things myself. Maybe talked to Russell (Wilson) about a couple things here and there, but you just don’t want to go however much longer we still have because things can change. We’ll slowly implement that in probably next week a little bit,” Hackett said.

The numbers on Saturday weren’t pretty, with Buffalo racking up 208 rushing yards on just 27 attempts, good for 7.7 yards per carry. Hackett know his defense, starters or not, has to be better.

“I think there was obviously a lot of stuff when you have a game like that,” Hackett said. “In the end that’s not what we want to be about when it comes to physicality, across the board. I think everyone can be more physical, but it looked like they were thinking too much.”

The head coach said the Broncos did elementary things wrong, like knowing where to line up on defense. He calls the term ‘alignment assignment,’ something Denver needs to get better at in a hurry.

“Those basic things, for whatever reason, didn’t work. We have to evaluate all those guys, those guys have to evaluate their process to get ready for that game. We can’t put that stuff on that tape. That’s not what we’re about,” Hackett said.

The Broncos will simulate “more of a game week” in practice, putting on pads two times before the Vikings come to town on Saturday night for the preseason finale. It will be the final tune-up, with a lot to improve on after a very disappointing day in Buffalo.

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Don’t expect to see starters vs. Minnesota after Bills blasting the Broncos