Right tackle still a question after 1st preseason game

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Credit: Ryan Greene, 5280 Sports Network

The offseason plan for fixing the Denver Broncos offensive line was seemingly simple. Sign away a right tackle from an AFC West rival and draft a left tackle prospect they were enamored with.

If the first preseason game was any indication as to how that plan seems to be playing out, the Broncos still have a lot of work to do in terms of their pass protection from the right tackle.

Against a below-average Chicago Bears defense, the Broncos allowed constant pressure to disrupt their offense as Trevor Siemian was sacked on his very first snap and consistently under duress for most of his time with the starting offense.

Free agent acquisition Menelik Watson did little to state his case as to why he should continue to start on the right side of the offensive line.

On the Broncos’ very first offensive play, Watson allowed Bears defensive end Leonard Floyd to quickly beat him around the edge and swallow up Siemian for a loss of seven yards.

There isn’t an offensive lineman in the NFL who hasn’t given up a sack in his career, but the way in which Watson was outmatched by one of the lesser defensive fronts, not even giving Siemian a chance to even get rid of the ball before being hit, is a concern

If you watched even a small portion of the game last night, you probably noticed very quickly that despite both teams’ colors being blue and orange, there was more yellow on the field than either other color as penalties ran rampant throughout the game.

Five plays after giving up the sack, Watson was flagged for a penalty on the same play the Bears were also flagged. Both penalties offset, which resulted in a “no-play” situation.

As Watson continues to struggle at right tackle, as he’s done throughout camp, the Broncos get further away from putting together an offense that can match its defense and allow their elite secondary to shut down opposing quarterbacks trying to play from behind.

The Broncos still have options at right tackle in Ty Sambrailo and Donald Stephenson, who entered Thursday’s game competing for the swing tackle role.

One game might be a little too soon to pass judgement on a player, but Watson’s debut does not give the Broncos or the fanbase confidence.

Up next on the schedule is a trip to face the San Francisco 49ers for joint practices and preseason game No. 2.

If the Broncos don’t see improvement from Watson in the week of practice leading up to the game, perhaps it should be time to experiment with other options at the right tackle position.

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