SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Paxton Lynch will start Saturday night's preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers and play the first quarter and a half, but gauging his progress is just the beginning of the goals the Broncos want to accomplish in their second preseason game.
- Find out if Lynch can sustain the momentum**
The two practices against the 49ers this week were good ones for the second-year quarterback, who appeared to be bolstered by the chance to go up against a defense that did not feature two All-Pro cornerbacks and an edge rusher who finished No. 2 in last year's NFL Defensive Player of the Year balloting.
Lynch displayed a calmness and poise this week that Head Coach Vance Joseph hopes will translate to Saturday's game.
"I want Paxton to relax and go out there and play his game. Make good decisions, move the chains and score points. Simple as that," Joseph said. "I don’t want him to feel pressure. I want him to be himself and be an athlete when he’s called to be an athlete. Just play quarterback for us."
- Learn about the D-line depth**
With Derek Wolfe and Jared Crick sidelined because of ankle and back injuries, respectively, Zach Kerr and Adam Gotsis are expected to start. Both had some flashes of brilliance in the one-on-one drills against the 49ers on Thursday, and if they can apply that to their work Saturday night, they can take a step forward and assure the Broncos that their depth up front will be sound in the wake of Billy Winn's season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament.
3. Sustain the progress on the ground
Jamaal Charles will not play Saturday, but C.J. Anderson, De'Angelo Henderson, Stevan Ridley and Juwan Thompson should all receive opportunities behind an offensive line that had some solid moments in run blocking last week. One positive step the Broncos would like to see is better work in short-yardage situations; that was a problem last year and remained an issue last week.
- Move closer to settling the offensive line**
Center Matt Paradis will not play Saturday, but Connor McGovern will start in his place, while Max Garcia and Allan Barbre are both expected to see time at left guard as they compete for playing time. However, the possibility of McGovern settling at right guard while moving Ron Leary back to left guard -- the position he played in Dallas before joining the Broncos in March -- is in play as the Broncos look to find the best quintet for Week 1.
5. Avoid injuries
You might as well put this one in permanent marker for every preseason game. The Broncos can't afford any more injuries, particularly to their battered defensive front seven.