As the Broncos face Washington in their third and most important preseason game, there are players who have opportunities to win jobs… and lose them. Here’s a few Broncos with something to prove tonight:
- QB Chad Kelly: In only three quarters of preseason play, Kelly’s made former first-rounder Paxton Lynch irrelevant. On Friday, he’ll have a chance to do more than that; with another strong performance, Kelly may give the Broncos enough confidence in him that they don’t feel the need to bring in a 30-something veteran.
- RB Devontae Booker: Seemingly surpassed by rookie Royce Freeman for the starter’s role, Booker’s role as a shifty, speedy change of pace is being challenged by another rookie — native son Phillip Lindsay. Booker’s the incumbent, and it gives him a built-in edge, but he’ll want to have a good game if he wants to make certain that he’ll get a wide variety of snaps this season.
- TE Jake Butt: Starter Jeff Heuerman looked tremendous last week against the Bears, but it’s Butt that the Broncos want to break out. At this point, it seems unlikely that Butt can overtake Heuerman, but it’s important to show the team that he’s ready to play in important situations as a blocker and a pass-catcher.
- OL Max Garcia: With Ronald Leary out of this game, it’s Garcia — a former starter — that stands to benefit from time with the starters. Connor McGovern may have pushed Garcia out of the starting lineup that he’s been part of before, but as a guard that can play on the left or right (and potentially, even play center), he can re-establish himself as an important part of the offense.
- DL DeMarcus Walker: The former second-round pick has been solid in the preseason after returning to his natural position of defensive end. If Walker continues his run of solid play, he can earn snaps quickly and become an impactful pass-rusher opposite Derek Wolfe.
- CB Tramaine Brock: Perhaps as much as anyone on the defense, how Brock plays may define what the Broncos can do on defense. The veteran corner needs to prove that he’s capable of providing starting-caliber play from the third cornerback position, or opposing teams will be able to avoid Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby and still succeed.
- WR/PR Isaiah McKenzie: In the preseason opener, McKenzie’s electric punt return for a touchdown showed why the Broncos continue to try and gamble with the diminutive, fumble-prone return man. But in the second game, while playing at receiver, another fumble by McKenzie evaporated the Broncos’ chances of winning. With Lindsay gaining quickly, McKenzie — who seems to have nine lives with the Broncos — might be down to his last one.