Youngsters Chad Kelly and Royce Freeman shined in week one of the preseason, while others struggled.

The Denver Broncos lost their first game of the preseason against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, August 12. Fans were treated to an exciting shootout in a game that featured a lot of offense.

Evaluation of the Broncos Starters

Most of the Broncos starters were in the game for the first two drives and the offense failed to generate much buzz with new quarterback Case Keenum.

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Keenum received a two-year contract this offseason that includes a $6M signing bonus as well as an $8M salary in 2018 and $18M in 2019. General Manager John Elway made the signing to help the Broncos get stronger play at the quarterback position, something they have failed to do since Peyton Manning retired.

The biggest positive for the starters was the performance of the running backs -- starter Devontae Booker (third year in the NFL) only had two carries for seven yards. He was able to earn four yards on a run that would compliment rookie running back Royce Freeman's running style nicely.

Speaking of Freeman, the Broncos should be extremely excited about their third-round draft pick. He finished the day with four carries for 38 yards and a touchdown -- the touchdown run was one of the best plays of the preseason so far.

Freeman was extremely impressive. He was able to get in and out of cuts while also making appropriate reads of the defense. He'll be effective in open space as long as the Broncos can scheme to get him there.

Quick Thoughts on the Backups

The battle for the second string quarterback position is not very close. Paxton Lynch, the 2016 first round pick, still does not look like an NFL quarterback in his third season. The Broncos invested the first round pick in him in hopes he would be the future of the franchise.

Instead, there have been reports of a lack of leadership and Broncos fans have even started a Go Fund Me to buy out his contract! Personally, the blame should be placed on everyone in the organization. A lack of player development and a poor draft choice by Elway contributed to this issue.

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As the NFL often goes, the lower drafted players can surprise people. Second-year quarterback Chad Kelly, who was not drafted until the seventh round last year, looked phenomenal. When he entered the game, the Broncos had sputtered on offense all game and were in desperate need of leadership. Kelly took full command of the offense.

He threw a tight spiral on the football with a lot of velocity, this allowed him to hit receivers in stride despite nearby defenders, and the Broncos continued their momentum up the field. The fans chanted "Kelly! Kelly! Kelly!" throughout his performance and needless to say, it was one of the best parts of the game.

Rookie running back and former University of Colorado athlete Phillip Lindsay is another interesting candidate to contribute on offense this year. His footwork in space makes him a difficult guy to tackle and he is more than capable of contributing in the passing game.

Week one of the NFL preseason is never a good time to get committed to opinions based on performance. Coaches run their base defenses and do not gameplan very much for their opponent. Week two is typically the time the starters play longer than a quarter and it will be important for the starters to bring more energy and purpose against the Chicago Bears on August 18.

What do you think? How do you think the Broncos will do in week two? Let us know in the comments below.

Check out the Broncos' 2018 regular season schedule!