The Denver Broncos hosted the Dallas Cowboys in their preseason opener on Saturday at Empower Field at Mile High.

In the Broncos’ 17-7 win, they lost a key starter due to an injury that could have ripple effects on the defense.

Jonas Griffith exits game vs Cowboys with injury

The Broncos’ defense suffered a massive blow on Saturday in their win against the Cowboys.

Jonas Griffith, a starter on the Denver defense left the game with an elbow injury.

The injury came on the second play of the game.

Griffith immediately went down on the play and was visibly in a lot of pain.

He would leave the game and would not return.

The injury to Griffith is a cause for concern due to the depth of starter experience at the position.

Behind him, the Broncos have Alex Singleton who they brought in during NFL Free Agency.

Singleton has prior experience as a starter, where he started eight games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021.

Other linebackers on the roster include Justin Strnad, Barrington Wade, and Kana’i Mauga

Last month, the Broncos hosted veteran LB Joe Schobert for a visit and could potentially look into bringing him into the building again if Griffith misses any significant amount of time.

P.J. Locke’s impressive off-season translates in game

The Broncos’ safety depth is in good hands behind starters Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson.

During Saturday’s win, P.J. Locke and Caden Sterns demonstrated their capability of operating the Denver defense on the backend of the secondary.

Midway through the first quarter, the Cowboys faced a 4th and 2 in Denver territory.

Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush attempted to target rookie receiver Jalen Tolbert, but Locke read the route instantly, jumping it for an interception.

Locke’s strong offseason work continues to pay off and could propel him into a significant role on defense this season.

The third-year safety would finish the game with one interception and one pass defensed.

Broncos receiver competition off to a hot start

The Broncos’ wide receiver competition was on display during Saturday’s win against the Cowboys.

Brandon Johnson, Seth Williams, and Kendall Hinton each had big plays offensively, helping lay claim to a potential spot on the roster.

As it stands, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, and Montrell Washington appear to be roster locks.

A lot depends on whether or not the team decides to carry six or seven receivers on the active roster ahead of the regular season.

In the second quarter, Johnson hauled in an incredible 40-yard catch down the left sideline, drawing an illegal contact penalty by a Cowboys defender.

Williams capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown reception from Josh Johnson to give the Broncos a 7-0 lead.

Midway through the second quarter, Hinton pulled in a 24-yard touchdown catch from Johnson who placed the ball perfectly over the defender to give Denver a 14-0 lead.

Williams would finish the game with four catches for 29 yards and one touchdown.

Hinton closed out the night with three catches for 53 yards receiving and one touchdown.

Johnson concluded Saturday’s action with four catches and 64 yards receiving.

Undrafted rookie free agent Jalen Virgil impressed in the second half hauling in three catches for 83 yards.

One thing is clear, general manager George Paton will have some very tough personnel decisions to make at the receiver position when roster cuts have to be made.

Denver Broncos backup quarterback competition

Denver’s backup quarterback competition came under the microscope in their preseason opener.

Veteran QB Josh Johnson started the game for the Broncos.

Johnson’s first three drives got off to a sluggish start resulting in two punts and a turnover on downs for a total of 12 plays and 39 yards.

However, Johnson responded strongly on the next three drives that ended with two touchdowns and a field goal.

The eighth-year veteran would finish the game 16 of 23 passing for 172 yards and two touchdowns with a 69.7 completion percentage.

Fourth-year quarterback Brett Rypien started the 2nd half for the Broncos.

On his first drive, the Broncos went three and out.

Rypien’s second drive of the evening saw him lead the Broncos downfield 96 yards after the offense started on their own one-yard line.

On that drive, Rypien was sharp with his throws, finding undrafted rookie Jalen Virgil deep downfield for a 42-yard completion, Travis Fulgham for a first down, and Darrius Shepherd for another first down.

Denver attempted to go for it on fourth down, but a Cowboys defender knocked the ball away forcing a turnover on downs.

Rypien would finish the game 8 of 18 passing for 113 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

Denver Broncos Injury Report

The following players were injured during the Broncos’ win vs the Cowboys.

Inside linebacker Jonas Griffith (elbow): was ruled out after the second play of the game.

Cornerback Michael Ojemudia (head): was evaluated for a concussion, but was cleared to return.

Safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (head): is being evaluated for a concussion.

Miscellaneous Broncos notes

Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett was aggressive on offense in his debut game.

Denver’s offense went for it on 4th down three times but was unable to convert on all three attempts.

Penalty-wise, the Broncos finished with 8 penalties for 64 yards.

The Denver Broncos will return to practice this week in preparation for next Saturday’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills.