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3 Things to Look For as the Denver Broncos take on the 49ers

Beyond QBs, young players on the spot
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Posted at 4:32 PM, Aug 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-20 18:50:49-04

DENVER -- Adidas did not analyze pro-football odds when creating its advertising slogan a few years ago.

Impossible is something when trying to make the NFL. It's ridiculously hard. And landing with the Broncos increases the level of difficulty. Beyond the defense, the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 (the display pictured above is featured outside of Sports Authority (For Now) Field at Mile High) because of their depth. The Broncos are the NFL's Noah Ark of defenses: they have two of everything. Or so it seems.

As such, Saturday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers carries added significance for players on the bubble. Let's a take a look at a few in my Three Things to Watch For:

Is Zaire Anderson ready to take next step?

Every time I looked up in training camp, it seemed like Anderson or cornerback Lorenzo Doss was making a play. Anderson nearly made the team last year out of Nebraska. His lack of size showed up against proven NFL running backs like Chris Johnson. He appears sturdier this season, and quicker in pass coverage. He's putting himself in position to win a reserve spot. 

Are the young safeties this good?

The Broncos lost games to the Steelers and Raiders last season, which placed them on the brink of missing the playoffs, because of lacking depth at safety. That shouldn't be a problem this season if camp can be trusted. Justin Simmons, who should fill a David Bruton role, and Will Parks, a late-round pick from Arizona, have been strong. Parks' development bears watching with Shiloh Keo suspended for the first two games. Parks could make Keo expendable at some point.

What's up in the return game? 

Jordan Norwood remains the safe choice. He can catch a punt, no easy task. And he has the ability to make plays. But is he as slippery as Bralon Addison or Kalif Raymond? Addison and Raymond must make their move if they are going to unseat the veteran. And it begins tonight.

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