CHICAGO --Menelik Watson's first play as a Bronco could scarcely have gone worse.
In the snap of a finger, Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, their first-round pick a year ago, was around Watson and had missile lock on Trevor Siemian. With that sack, Watson suddenly had a chance to live out the lesson he had been trying to share with rookie Garett Bolles, who made his NFL debut as the Broncos' starter at left tackle and didn't allow a sack or a quarterback hit in 15 snaps of work.
"It's something that I've been preaching to Bolles," Watson said. "I've told him, 'In this game, you have some bad plays, and for the life of you, you want it back. You wish you could go back again and do something different. So it's tough."
But it was also easy for two reasons. First, Siemian bounced back quickly from the sack. None the worse for the wear, he completed an 11-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas two plays later to move the chains and ensure that the sack didn't knock the offense off course.
Second, Watson knew exactly why the sack happened -- because he tried to get a jump start on pass protection rather than going all-in on the play-action fake.
Photos of the Broncos in action against the Bears at Soldier Field in the preseason opener. (photos by Gabriel Christus unless noted)
"Traditionally on a play-action, you obviously want to sell the run. It's tough for a tackle when you're on the open side and you have a pass-rushing-type guy out there. That first step is usually a feel," Watson said. "And between the snap I was thinking, 'Should I short-set it? Should I run block it?" and then I thought, 'You know what? Let me just try it,' and it was something I've never really done before, and I tried it, and it didn't work."
Better to learn that now than later.
"It really just [ticked] me off, honestly," Watson said. "I'm pretty upset about it. I feel like I let Trev down. I let down the coaches. I let down Coach [Mike] McCoy, because he has the utmost confidence in me to call that play on my side.
"I've just got to watch the film and shore it up, just rearrange techniques, and if I could have the play back, it's a different decision I would make."