Menelik Watson, Broncos OT
The skinny: Menelik Watson has started and played every offensive snap at tackle so far this season. But he’s also yielded five-and-a-half of the Broncos’ six sacks of quarterback Trevor Siemian. After facing Chargers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram in Week 1, and Dallas’ DeMarcus Lawrence in Week 2, Watson now prepares to go up against a Bills’ pass rush that sacked Carolina quarterback Cam Newton six times last weekend.
The background: The Manchester, England, native is relatively new to American football. He played college basketball at Marist College from 2009-10, then transferred to Saddleback (Calif.) Junior College, where he played football for the first time and lined up at tackle opposite of Kyle Long. Watson played one season at Florida State before the Raiders selected him in the second round of 2013 draft. The Broncos signed Watson as a free agent in March after he had spent four injury-riddled seasons in Oakland. Denver believed he had the potential, toughness and certainly the size (6-foot-5, 315 pounds) to start on the edge of their remade offensive line.
His take: “We’re not here to be bottom of the barrel,” Watson said of the O-line. “We’re trying to be the best line in the league, period. If there’s a line out there that’s not trying to do the same thing, they shouldn’t be playing football. We’re just trying to bring that nastiness and trying to just do our part to make sure this team is winning football games.”
Their take: “We want to be smart bullies,” head coach Vance Joseph said. “We don’t want to be idiots. We don’t want to get penalties that cost us big plays in the game. (Watson is) an emotional guy, but he’s also a tone setter.”
Numbers to Know
16-19-1: The Broncos’ all-time record against the Bills, including an 11-12 record on the road.
6: Touchdown passes by Trevor Siemian, tied for the NFL lead so far this season. His 24 TD passes in his first 16 starts rank third among Broncos quarterbacks all-time, behind Peyton Manning (37 in 2012) and Frank Tripucka (27 from 1960-61).
159.0: Average rushing yards by the Broncos, the most in the league entering Week 3.
3.5: Sacks needed by Von Miller (75.5) to tie Karl Mecklenburg (79) for second place on the Broncos’ all-time list.
14: Victories in the Broncos’ last 17 games during the NFL’s early kickoff window (11 a.m. MT). All 17 games have been on the road.
11: Defensive touchdowns (eight interceptions returned for TDs, three fumbles returned for TDs) by the Broncos since 2015, tied with Kansas City for the most in the league in that time. The Broncos are 10-0 when scoring a defensive touchdown since ’15.