Something weird happened during the Broncos' last preseason game, against the Super Bowl runner-up Arizona Cardinals: The team didn't look terrible and actually won the game. As a result, the post-game thread on the Mile High Report blog has a less suicidal tone than has been typical in recent weeks, with assorted fans actually expressing something akin to confidence.
Such a responsible is understandable, if not entirely justifiable. The Broncos might make the playoffs if every team in the NFL agreed to play third stringers for the entire game, and if opposing quarterbacks continually forget that they're supposed to throw to people wearing the same color uniform as theirs. Still, QB Tom Brandstater looked pretty impressive, especially during the first quarter: He seemed confident, poised and accurate, with the ability to throw passes more than twenty yards down the field, which shouldn't be an issue on this squad but has turned into one anyhow. Yes, he had a short field to work with much of the time, and he fell short of the end zone too often -- a problem that's on the verge of becoming a tradition around here. But he looked better for stretches than either Kyle Orton or Chris Simms have thus far, and he seems to have more up-side than either of them. Don't know if he's the future of the franchise: In fact, the Broncos' prospects this year look so dire that it's hard to look ahead without losing bowel control. Even so, it might actually be a positive if neither Orton nor Simms are ready to go on week one. A small positive, true, but a positive nonetheless.