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The Morning After: Preseason Week 1

Posted Aug 12, 2011

Notebook: The defense showed improvement under new Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen; Brady Quinn impresses.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It was only the first half of the first preseason game, but already the defense looks to be making big strides under new Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen.

With the first and second team defense on the field for the first half, the Broncos surrendered only three points, recorded a sack and had a timely interception late in the second quarter that set Denver up for a field goal.

"When you consider that this is the first time we've played a game as a defense, I thought there was good progress against a pretty talented offense," Head Coach John Fox said.

Safety Kyle McCarthy led the team in the first half with three tackles and the team's lone first half sack.

"I don't know if I've ever had a sack to be honest," McCarthy smiled. "I didn't have one in college. Maybe high school."

On third-and-4 from Dallas' own 48-yard line, McCarthy stormed through the line on a blitz and downed quarterback Stephen McGee. It was a key play as Dallas was down three points and driving midway through the second quarter, but McCarthy's sack forced the Cowboys to punt.

"You get excited," McCarthy said. "The guys inside did a great job eating up all the blockers and I came free. If I didn't make the play it wouldn't be a good situation."

The defense was also bolstered by the return of defensive end Elvis Dumervil. The NFL sack leader from 2009 -- with 17 -- Dumervil missed all of last season after tearing his pectoral muscle during training camp.

He was only on the field for one series and an extra play, and though he might have liked to be on the field longer, he felt energized just to be able to play again.

"It's been a while, but it felt good to come out and just try to fine-tune some things and try to get acclimated back with the whole game speed," Dumervil said. "Of course as a competitor you want to be out there longer, but for the most part the little time you do play you try to get as much as possible out of it."

Most defensive players were able to get out on the field during the game, with the third-string holding its own until Dallas was able to break through for 14 fourth quarter points.

"We've got a lot of good players here," Dumervil said. "I think we've got a lot of depth. I think we've got a lot of guys competing, so it's just going to make the defense that much better. It's going to be interesting to see who makes the final cut. I think guys played with a lot of great effort, so it's going to be a tough one."

But even with the success, the defense is not satisfied.

"We've got a lot to build on," linebacker Von Miller said. "We just want to keep on working and see how far we can go this year."

QUINN IMPRESSES

Quarterback Brady Quinn saw the most time on the field out of the three Denver quarterbacks that played, and he took his opportunity in stride.

Playing the entire second half, Quinn went 8-for-14 for 120 yards and a touchdown. He engineered both of Denver's touchdown drives, the first one coming from a 13-yard run by running back Jeremiah Johnson to put Denver up 16-10 and then Quinn found receiver Eron Riley in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard completion to put the Broncos up 23-16 with just over five minutes left in the game.

"I thought Brady stepped in and did a decent job -- we scored points when we needed to take the lead," Fox said.

Quinn's quarterback rating -- 109.2 -- was the second highest among the three quarterbacks (Tim Tebow had a rating of 118.8) but he contributed to a solid night as the trio combined to go 16-of-27 for 248 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions.

"I felt comfortable right when I went in," Quinn said. "I think it helped to develop a rapport with some of the wide receivers (in the offseason), some of the work I had with them, and the timing. So when we came back we didn't feel as rusty.

"It felt good to finally get in there at the end and get in a rhythm," Quinn said.

QUICK HITS

Kicker Matt Prater kicked all three field goals, going three-for-three in the first half with his longest coming from 42 yards. Steven Haushcka kicked both extra points in the second half.

Linebacker Braxton Kelley led all Denver players with seven tackles (four solo) on the night.

Defensive end Jason Hunter recorded a team-high two sacks on the night, both coming in the second half.

11 different players caught a pass for the Broncos, with receivers David Anderson and Riley totalling three apiece.

Miller, the second-overall pick in this year's draft, was still a little star struck as he took the field.

"It was crazy," Miller said. "I'm used to playing these teams in video games. But to actually be out there and play, it was crazy. It was a dream come true. All I ever wanted to do was to play football, so to be out there going against the stars and playing with stars, it was a true blessing, and I'll remember it for the rest of my life."

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