The first edition of Monday Night Football kicks off in Denver at Mile High Stadium in Week 2 of the preseason. It’s the preseason edition of Monday Night Football, but there is a storyline to follow in this game regardless. He might not be out there long; however, Jimmy Garoppolo will step on a field for the first time since Week 3 of 2018.
In his first full season in San Francisco after backing up Tom Brady in New England for four years, Garoppolo didn’t last long, with just 718 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions thrown. We didn’t get to see enough of Garoppolo to garner much of an opinion last season.
Pressure is going to be on Garoppolo to jump straight into this season and produce immediately. Fans are not going to have much patience after he missed a year. Garoppolo is being paid nicely to be the starting quarterback for the 49ers and with the injury behind him, it’s time to perform and win games. The 49ers went 4-12 in 2018, so that will absolutely have to be improved upon by at least a few games.
Garoppolo had an awful practice the other day, throwing 4 consecutive interceptions for what was a day to forget. However, he bounced back for a sharp practice the next day to get his confidence back quickly. The 49ers and Broncos have been holding joint practices this week, so they’re going to be familiar with one another.
A fight broke out at one of the practices, which appeared to be started by the 49ers’ defense. Those things can happen, especially when it’s hot outside and tempers are flaring. Reports out of the practices suggested that the first-team offense were out of sync for the Broncos, though Flacco was looking good. The offensive line is a concern heading into the regular season in Denver and the preseason hasn’t done anything to suggest they don’t have to worry.
This is already the third preseason game for the Broncos, having played in the Hall of Fame Game. No team should have to play in four preseason games, let alone five of them. Flacco is likely to see one series against the 49ers on Monday night. He had a quick appearance against the Seahawks last week, passing for 19 yards on 3-of-4 passing. Rookie Drew Lock will see the most snaps again for the Broncos here. Head below for our free 49ers vs. Broncos pick.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos Preseason Week 2 Betting Odds:
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49ers vs. Broncos Pick:
The Broncos do not hope they have to see much of Drew Lock this season. If they do, it means their starter, Joe Flacco, is playing horribly or got injured. The Broncos want Lock to sit behind a veteran and watch how he operates before throwing him out there with bullets flying.
Lock had an adequate outing in Seattle last week, as he passed for 180 yards on 17-of-28 passing with a touchdown and interception. The game was all about Lock, as third-string QB, Kevin Hogan, had an opportunity to throw just 7 passes.
The offensive line situation in Denver is not great. They lost center Matt Paradis and right guard Billy Turner, which critical cogs missing for the Broncos. It’s certainly not going to be the worst unit in the NFL, but a rookie QB operating behind a less than ideal offensive line is not the best formula.
Allow the front office to build the line up and find some dangerous vertical targets and Lock should be ready in a couple of years. The biggest weapons in the Bronco offense this season is going to be the combo of Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman.
Freeman is a guy to keep an eye on, as he enters his second season in the NFL. He finished with 521 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns for a pretty decent rookie campaign. That was with missing two games because of an ankle injury.
If Freeman stays healthy, expect big numbers out of him. He rushed for 16.3 yards per carry last week against the Seahawks for 49 yards on only 3 carries. Combined with Lindsay, the Broncos are in good shape in the backfield.
With the Broncos giving Lock a heavy workout this week, the 49ers are going to give a couple of youngsters work behind him. There’s a QB battle going on behind Garoppolo, with Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard in a virtual tie right now for the backup role. Beathard played in six games a season ago and was adequate, with 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also played in seven games in 2017, so he has starting experience.
Nick Mullens has regular season experience as well. He split time with Beathard last season, appearing in eight games and passing for 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Pretty much even with Beathard’s production. Against the Cowboys in Week 1 of the preseason, again, they were even in the race.
Beathard and Mullens both threw for a touchdown and interception. The 49ers may want to entertain a trade, but keeping three QB’s on the roster with Garoppolo’s injury concern might be for the best. In another meaningless game, give me two quarterbacks who have NFL experience against Lock, who is going to be the focal point for the Broncos on Monday night.