The best and worst Denver Broncos starters against the Dallas Cowboys according to PFF

Dalton Risner in 2019. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.
Dalton Risner in 2019. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.

The Broncos put on a clinic against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday beating them soundly with a score of 30-16.

After a lackluster win against the Washington Football Team the previous week, the Broncos’ locker room caught fire and each and every player put their best foot forward. It was a statement game, and they came out firing, with nothing to lose.

The attitude and “chip-on-their-shoulder” mentality was palpable and as the game progressed, it soon became clear that the Broncos were not going to relent.

The sustainability of Denver’s dominance remains to be seen, but against a 6-win Cowboys team they came to play and got the job done in bullish fashion.

Best Offensive Performance- Bobby Massie- 82.0 (9th of 69 offensive tackles)

Considering that coming into training camp there were huge worries about the state of the right tackle position, it really has not been a storyline at all and Bobby Massie deserves the credit for that. The offensive line unit in general has been somewhat underwhelming, especially when referring to their run-blocking prowess yet through all of that, Massie’s name has garnered not a whisper blame.

There were concerns about his general fit in a offensive line infused with young athletic talent, but he has been the most reliable and predictable lineman.

Against the Cowboys, Massie duplicated his week-after-week solid performances and was dominant against the Dallas front. He excelled in both running the ball and keeping Teddy Bridgewater’s jersey clean whilst he was in.

Unfortunately, Massie got rolled up on in the first half the game and did not return with an ankle injury. It does not appear that it is serious, though he may be sidelined for another week or two.

Worst Offensive Performance- Dalton Risner- 60.9 (30th of 63 guards)

As stated above, inconsistency of the offensive line’s play has been a subject of criticism and one such player who has been in the scope of the media is Dalton Risner.

Risner is a bit of an enigma. He is very well loved and respected by Broncos country and within the Broncos facility but the growth expected of him coming into his third season just has not been there.

At times against the Cowboys, he just appeared to be treading water against the big bodies of Carlos Watkins, Micah Parsons and crew.

It was enough to get the job done against Dallas this week but he will have to show more moving forward if he wants to keep his job for any extended period.

Risner has never posted higher than 65.4 PFF grade this season which is extremely average and his overall grade through nine games is 53.7. That puts him at 45th place out of 58 guards that have taken at least 50 percent of their team’s offensive snaps.

Health will be key for him as well, as he was also injured (shoulder) late in the match-up and has been dinged up this year. Fingers crossed that he will be at full speed against the Philadelphia Eagles next week and ready to assert himself.

Best Defensive Performance- Jonathon Cooper-80.6 (8th of 111 edge rushers)

When Von Miller was traded away to the Los Angeles Rams, it left a potentially massive void in the pass rushing game plan. Losing a legend like Miller hurts, no matter the caliber of the team, but having a seventh-round player like Jonathon Cooper step into his shoes and ball out has massively helped lessen the blow on the field.

Cooper has seen limited on-field action until recently and has had flashes of promise but against the Dallas Cowboys, he showed that his potential was something George Paton and the scouting staff were smart to bet on.

Not only was he effective in the pass rush game, Cooper also found himself in coverage situations and looked strong when asked to take his hand out of the dirt. Not only that but his support in shutting down the Cowboy’s running game was equally impressive.

It’s too early to deem him Von Miller’s true successor, but he just might have an opportunity to carve out a strong and consistent starting role in this Denver defense if he continues to show out,

Worst Defensive Performance- Kenny Young- 46.5- (69th of 95 linebackers)

The low grade on Kenny Young as graded by PFF is quite a mystery. Watching him on the field, he appears to be active, physical and near the ball which is what you expect from a starting linebacker in the NFL.

Where Young is penalized per PFF, is in his pass rush ability (53.9)  and in pass coverage (43.2). These areas may be ones to keep an eye on as he sees more and more time in this defense. Inconsistencies in pass rush and coverage will be glaring at some point if he doesn’t correct them.

Otherwise, even with his low grade, Kenny Young has been a strong tackler and seems to play within the defensive scheme with relative ease. And now, after the shock of being traded from a Super Bowl contender with the LA Rams, he seems to be gelling with his new teammates beautifully.

 

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