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Mile High Monday: What to watch for in Broncos-49ers matchup

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Broncos wrap up the second week of the preseason with a game against the 49ers on “Monday Night Football.”

I like going to Broncos games – even preseason games. Broncos Country usually shows up strong, even during the exhibition season, and it’s fun to see the team feed off the energy from the crowd.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ. The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.


More Fireworks Please

The Broncos and 49ers had a back-and-forth during joint practices that was fun to watch. The 49ers worked the Broncos offense on Friday and they made sure to talk a lot of smack while keeping Denver’s offense down.

Saturday it was time for revenge.

The Broncos offense looked fiercer on the second day of joint practices, and the added emotion led to more fights and a couple of players getting ejected from practice. I want to see this added energy on the field Monday night.

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio did not see the same thing from his offense on Saturday.

“No. I didn’t feel more energy. I think more of what you’re alluding to is there was some chirping and trash talking going on towards the end of yesterday’s practice and I think it carried over a little bit to today. That’s about it,” Fangio said.

We don’t need to see more fights, and certainly nobody wants these guys to get hurt in any sort of scuffle. What we need to see is the fight within the Broncos manifest itself to energized play, especially on offense.


Take Two

On Monday night, we will get to see Joe Flacco in action for the second time this preseason and I want to see improvements on the first-team offense. Mainly, I want to see Flacco lead the offense to a touchdown. He moved the team into position last week against the Seahawks, but was unable to connect with Courtland Sutton on a “jump ball” thrown into the end zone.

I want to see that connection come through this week.

The Broncos have played two preseason games and their No. 1 wide receiver, Sutton, has yet to make a catch. He’s only been targeted with one pass, that was off target from Flacco for a would-be touchdown. That’s got to change. Teams don’t want to show too much in the preseason, but we should see a greater emphasis to get Sutton the ball over the next two games.

In the Hall of Fame Game, the Broncos had no problem peppering rookie tight end Noah Fant with targets. That showed immediately how much they want to get him involved this season. Going after Sutton early and often would be a great way to showcase the chemistry that he and Flacco have built over about a month of training camp.


Moving On Up?

We’ve seen a change in practice reps for rookie quarterback Drew Lock during the last week or so. He’s been getting worked in more with the second-team offense, while veteran Kevin Hogan has been mostly running the scout team during practice.

It’s time to see Lock as the second-team quarterback in the preseason. During the team’s first two preseason games, Lock has been coming onto the field after Hogan. That has changed in practice with Lock getting more reps with the second team and Hogan getting less. That trend needs to carry over to the game on Monday night.

Fangio revealed on Saturday that the team did not know how the quarterback rotation was going to play out against the 49ers. “We’re starting Joe and then after that I’m not sure yet.” Fangio said.

There’s no need to keep the charade going that Hogan has a shot to be the backup to Flacco when the season opens. Lock is the better player, he’s performed better in training camp and he deserves the shot in a preseason game to show what he can do with the second-team offense. He is the quarterback of the future and has done a good job of minimizing mistakes, listening to coaches and working hard to be a better player.

Lock is in no way ready to be a starter, and he’s certainly no threat to Flacco’s job at the top of the depth chart. He is better than Hogan, and I feel he needs to be the No. 2 quarterback – officially – sooner rather than later.


Countdown to Party Time

Get your tickets now! My annual Fantasy Draft Party is scheduled for Aug. 25, at the Blake Street Tavern and this is going to be the must-attend fantasy event of the year. Have you ever wanted me at your draft to guide you? If that’s the case then you have to attend my draft party. I’ll have a two-hour Q & A session before the drafts begin, taking you through my draft plans for 2019.

I’ll talk sleepers, players you must draft, players to avoid and all the keys to winning your fantasy league.

This is always one my favorite event of the season, and I know we’re going to put on another great time for those in attendance. Fantasy football drafts are always the highlight of the season. Sure, your league is not won at the draft and it takes great care and management during the season to bring home the title, but at the draft party, nearly everyone feels good about their chances to hoist the trophy at the end.

For the best draft prep, check out my articles and videos here on The Fan. Plus, download the free Draft Dominator app from Footballguys! I’ve worked for since 2005 and can assure that no other site puts as much work in as we do to help you dominate your league.

I’m super excited to draft in my leagues this year, and I can’t wait for my draft party coming up later this month!