The Kansas City Chiefs corrected an imbalance of sorts on their roster when they claimed a defensive lineman, Damion Square, off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles and released a tight end, Richard Gordon.

Before adding Square, the Chiefs had only five defensive linemen. Before releasing Gordon, they had four tight ends.

The 6-foot-2, 293-pound Square played in 10 games last season for the Eagles as a backup. He will likewise be a backup for the Chiefs, but this move might eventually be more than a minor one.

The Chiefs were awarded seven players off waivers at this time last year and four are still with the team: cornerbacks Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker, linebacker James-Michael Johnson and defensive lineman Jaye Howard.
SAN DIEGO – Quarterback Ryan Lindley is returning home. Released by the Arizona Cardinals during final roster cuts, the San Diego native and former San Diego State player made his way through waivers and will be added to San Diego’s practice squad, the team announced.

Lindley
A sixth-round draft selection by the Cardinals in the 2012 draft, Lindley, 25, started four games for Arizona. Lindley’s career stats in the NFL aren’t impressive. He’s completed 52 percent of his passes for 752 yards, with no touchdowns and seven interceptions. Lindley’s been sacked 12 times and has a career 46.7 passer rating.

However, he does have a relationship with Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who served as Arizona’s receivers coach in 2012. And at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Lindley has a strong arm, offering potential as a developmental prospect.

With Lindley in the fold, it appears the Chargers are moving on from second-year pro Brad Sorensen, who was released during Friday’s final roster cuts. Sorensen finished the preseason with 178 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, completing 56.4 percent of his passes. Sorensen was sacked five times and had a 46.7 passer rating.

Along with Lindley, the Chargers added receivers Javontee Herndon and Torrence Allen, offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles and Craig Watts, defensive lineman Chas Alecxih, outside linebacker Cordarro Law, cornerback Greg Ducre and safety Adrian Phillips to the practice squad.

The Chargers have one open spot remaining on the practice squad.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Things could still change if the Denver Broncos look at the hundreds of players who were sent into the open market in recent days and see a name or two they like.

But when the clock struck the 4 p.m. ET roster deadline on Saturday, the roster in place wasn’t exactly the one some folks might have thought it would be.

First off, after their substantial plunge into free agency last March -- almost unprecedented for a Super Bowl team -- the Broncos have routinely been tabbed as “all in" or “win now."

[+] EnlargeJohn Elway, Peyton Manning
AP Photo/ Eric BakkePeyton Manning is the oldest player on the roster assembled by John Elway and the Broncos' front office. But the team as a whole has plenty of youth.
The career clock for quarterback Peyton Manning, at 38 years old, is certainly ticking, and they make no secret of their Super-Bowl-or-bust intentions. But the current Broncos roster has 13 players who are 23 years old or younger (24.5 percent) and seven rookies made a team in the Super Bowl conversation, including five members of a six-player draft class and two undrafted rookies.

Overall, there are 39 players entering their fifth NFL season or younger on this roster (73.6 percent). The Broncos will have three high-profile players start the season-opener next Sunday night -- Manning, DeMarcus Ware and center Manny Ramirez -- who are older than 30 and possibly a fourth if Wes Welker, who suffered a concussion in the preseason game against the Houston Texans, is in the lineup.

Some of the team's moves were motivated by the salary cap, to be sure. The Broncos have been nudged up against it since the free agency binge. But general manager John Elway has consistently maintained, even with the checkbook in hand at times, that he has more of a long-term approach than many believe he does. In fact, if you'd like to see the Hall of Fame quarterback get his hackles up, just ask him about a win-now approach.

“We were happy with the draft when we went through it in May and then they just proceeded to work hard and get better so, especially when you get deeper into this, as active as we were in free agency, to be able to keep our draft picks is something we want to do and continue to have that be our base," Elway said when discussing this year’s cuts. “We’re excited with the guys and they are, at this point in time, everything we hoped they would be.”

Among that youth is what is likely one of the youngest position groups in the league at running back. The four Broncos running backs include a rookie (Juwan Thompson), two players entering their second seasons (Montee Ball, C.J. Anderson) and a player entering his third season (Ronnie Hillman).

“I like them. I’ve said that all along," Elway said. “We feel good where we are at the running back position -- good, young guys that we feel are going to continue to get better."

Some other roster nuggets:

  • Of all the football-playing colleges and universities in the country, Kansas, Tennessee and Texas Tech lead the way on the Broncos' roster with three players each.
  • Manning is the oldest current Broncos player at 38. rookie receiver Cody Laitmer is the youngest, at 21. Hillman, at 22 and starting his third season, is the same age as four of the Broncos’ rookies and younger than two of the Broncos rookies. Michael Schofield and Lamin Barrow, who are both 23.
SAN DIEGO – Marion Grice said the San Diego Chargers showed heavy interest in him during the draft, attending his pro day at Arizona State and also explaining how they would use him in the team’s offense at the NFL scouting combine.

So it’s little shock that San Diego’s sixth-round pick in this year’s draft landed on the final 53-man roster. The surprise, of course, is general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy chose to keep five running backs on the roster, including undrafted rookie free agent Branden Oliver.

[+] EnlargeMarion Grice
AP Photo/Lenny IgnelziMarion Grice took advantage of his opportunity in the final preseason game and made the Chargers' roster.
At 6-foot and 208 pounds, Grice is a back that can do everything. He’s a physical runner who can get it done between the tackles, but also has enough speed to get outside in the run game. He’s smooth catching the ball out of the backfield, but also smart and physical enough to pick up blitzes in pass protection.

Grice is familiar with the zone running scheme from his time at Arizona State, can line up as a slot receiver and returned kicks in college. But what’s sometimes goes unnoticed about Grice is his ability to move the pile in the run game.

“He’s a big guy,” Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich said about Grice. “He’s strong, runs hard. He’s tough to bring down and has great balance.”

With Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown, the Chargers are loaded in the backfield, so Grice said will have to figure out how to earn time on special teams.

Grice didn’t have much an opportunity to show what he could do during offseason work as he rehabilitated a leg injury. But his unique skill set began to emerge during training camp, blossoming in the final preseason game, when he finished with 79 yards on 19 carries.

“It was great to get an opportunity to play a little longer, get into a rhythm and just play hard,” Grice said about his effort against the Cardinals on Thursday.

Added McCoy: ““He’s done a nice job for us. I think he just got more opportunities. And that’s what we talked about earlier, is that some guys got more opportunities than they did earlier in the preseason. And that’s what this business is all about, making the most of your opportunities.”

Now that he’s on the roster, Grice will continue to focus on honing his skill set, watching and learning from the talented runners in front of him on the depth chart.

“I make sure I work on it every day in practice, trying to be a complete back,” Grice said. “I don’t want to just settle on being a third-down back. I want to be an every-down back. So I just keep working hard on it in practice.”
Most significant moves: Safety Brandian Ross was a surprise cut. He started 13 games the past season, and he had 75 tackles. The Oakland Raiders re-signed him in May. He was expected to be a key backup this year. The Ross cut meant seventh-round pick Jonathan Dowling (acquired with the pick acquired in the Terrelle Pryor trade) made the 53-man roster. Greg Little, claimed off waivers from Cleveland in the spring, looked like he’d be a contributor early in camp, but his play tailed off, and he was cut. Expect Denarius Moore and Brice Butler to be in the rotation. The Raiders liked running back/special teamer Jeremy Stewart, but he was caught in a number’s game. They kept Jamize Olawale over Stewart. One of the best stories to make the team is cornerback Neiko Thorpe. Coaches have raved about him. He was a future signing in January after he played in the CFL this past year.

Draft class is intact: The Raiders kept all eight of their draft picks, including three seventh-rounders: Dowling, TJ Carrie and Shelby Harris. This is how the Raiders are going to build their roster. The draft picks have to hit. On the flip side, defensive end Jack Crawford was cut. He was a fifth-rounder in 2012. Just two members of that six-player class remain on the roster. It was the first draft class of the Reggie McKenzie-Dennis Allen era. If this draft class can contribute, it could help define the tenure of these two men.

What’s next: The Raiders will scan the waiver wire. They have the fifth-highest claiming priority. Expect Oakland to consider adding tight ends, offensive linemen, linebackers or cornerbacks. They can start claiming players Sunday. Oakland can compile its 10-player practice squad Sunday as well. It will likely be filled mostly by the 11 undrafted free agents the Raiders signed and then cut this summer.

Raiders moves: Released DT Ricky Lumpkin, FB Karl Williams, WR Greg Little, WR Brandian Ross, DE Jack Crawford, TE Jake Murphy, RB George Atkinson III, DE Denico Autry, CB Chance Casey, T Jack Cornell, LB Carlos Fields, Bojay Filimoeatu, LB Spencer Hadley, OT Dan Kistler, T Erle Ladson, G Lamar Mady, WR Seth Roberts, DE Ryan Robinson, OL Jarrod Shaw, TE Scott Simonson, RB Jeremy Stewart, K Giorgio Tavecchio, FB Karl Williams.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- After a whirlwind arrival to the Denver Broncos, which saw Brandon McManus kicking field goals for the team just two days after being acquired by the team, the Broncos have decided to keep McManus around for a bit.

The Broncos worked out another kicker Saturday -- former Washington State kicker Andrew Furney -- but when the initial cut to 53 players was made, McManus was still the kicker tabbed to fill in for Matt Prater. Prater is suspended for the first four games of the season for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway was asked Saturday evening if he was still confident in McManus, who was 2-of-4 in the Broncos' preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys Thursday night with misses from 52 and 54 yards -- both kicks were wide right -- to go with field goals from 20 and 40 yards.

“I am now," Elway said. “He’s going to be our guy now. He got in here late last week, he’s got a tremendously strong leg and he’s got a lot of upside. I’ve got a lot of confidence once he gets working with the center and [holder Brandon] Colquitt, get used to that, he’ll be much better off. I think Brandon will be fine for us."

The Broncos sent a conditional seventh-round draft pick to the New York Giants on Tuesday, brought McManus on the trip to Texas on Wednesday, and he kicked Thursday night in AT&T Stadium. The Broncos like McManus’ overall leg strength, and he had touchbacks on all five of his kickoffs against the Cowboys.

The Broncos will face the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals during Prater’s suspension. Because of a Week 4 bye for the Broncos, Prater will not be eligible to return to practice until Oct. 6 and cannot be reinstated to play in a game until the Broncos’ Week 6 game against the New York Jets on Oct. 12.

McManus was 2-of-2 in field goal attempts for the Giants in the preseason.

Denver Broncos cut-down analysis

August, 30, 2014
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Most significant move: There were not many roster spots to be had when the Denver Broncos opened training camp, but right from the start it was clear their depth on the defensive line was far better than it was in 2013 and that a player who was previously a starter could certainly get caught in the squeeze. That player was Kevin Vickerson, who started 11 games last season for the Broncos and 41 games in his four seasons with the team. But the Broncos had at least some salary-cap concerns this time around and Vickerson’s $2.266 million cap figure to go with the play of Mitch Unrein, Marvin Austin and youngster Quanterus Smith cost Vickerson his spot. Unrein also played some at defensive end in the preseason, showing a little more versatility and the Broncos will save about $1.766 million against the cap with Vickerson’s release. The Broncos also had at least some long-term concerns about Vickerson’s hip, which he injured last Nov. 24 before going to injured reserve.

Undrafted not unwanted: Running back Juwan Thompson made it 11 years in a row the Broncos have had an undrafted rookie make the cut to 53 players. Thompson, part of a platoon system at Duke, consistently showed the well-rounded game the Broncos want from their backs throughout offseason workouts and training camp. At 225 pounds, he is the team’s biggest back, has lined up at both fullback and running back, shown good instincts in pass protection and catches the ball. He's just the kind of guy the Broncos want at the position, and he gives them quality special teams ability as well.

Stick to it: Ben Garland, after two years on the Broncos’ practice squad, a two-year active duty stint in the Air Force and a position switch from defensive tackle to the offensive line this past offseason, made the Broncos’ initial cut to 53. Garland is always the first volunteer for off-the-field community appearances and routinely has lined up on both sides of the ball for the scout team. He steadily worked his way up the depth chart to second-team guard by the end of the preseason. He played every offensive snap in the Broncos’ preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

What’s next: Because of their Super Bowl appearance, the Broncos sit at No. 31 in the waiver claim order. It means, save for a cursory look at a returner or a kicker -- they worked out Andrew Furney on Satuday -- they will likely go with what they have.

Broncos moves: K Matt Prater placed on reserve/suspended. DE Kenny Anunike placed on injured reserve. LB Shaquil Barrett, RB Kapri Bibbs, S John Boyett, QB Zac Dysert, LB L.J. Fort, WR Bennie Fowler, DT Sione Fua, S Duke Ihenacho, TE Jameson Konz, G Ryan Miller, TE Cameron Morrah, CB Jerome Murphy, T Vinston Painter, WR Nathan Palmer, C Matt Paradis, TE Gerell Robinson, DE Brian Sanford, DB Jordan Sullen, DT Vickerson and CB Lou Young were waived or released, depending on their experience level.
Most significant move: The Kansas City Chiefs are going with an undrafted rookie kicker, Cairo Santos, instead of veteran Ryan Succop. The competition through training camp and the preseason was close. The difference may have been money. Succop was due $2 million from the Chiefs this year. Santos will make $422,000. Santos is only 5-foot-8, 160 pounds, but the ball jumps off his foot. The Chiefs expressed no fear throughout training camp about going with a rookie as their kicker, lending an air the job was Santos’ to lose. He never did anything to indicate he would.

No more QB dilemma: The Chiefs didn’t want to part with any of their four quarterbacks, so Tyler Bray’s knee and ankle injuries from Thursday night’s preseason game in Green Bay were very convenient. The injuries allowed the Chiefs to put Bray on injured reserve. His season is over but the Chiefs retain his rights. Bray has a lot of ability, but he wasn’t going to help the Chiefs this year. Their quarterback depth chart now reads Alex Smith, Chase Daniel and rookie Aaron Murray.

What’s next: The Chiefs could be actively looking for help on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield. Right tackle Donald Stephenson returns from NFL suspension after four games. Until then, the Chiefs can’t be content with a collection of backups that includes two untested players and Mike McGlynn, recently released by Washington. The Chiefs have precious little in the way of experienced depth in the secondary. Meanwhile, the Chiefs kept four tight ends and six running backs. So the final players on the depth chart at those respective positions, Richard Gordon and Joe McKnight, shouldn’t get too comfortable.

Chiefs moves: Placed QB Tyler Bray and WR Kyle Williams on injured-reserve list; placed DL Mike Catapano on non-football injury list; placed WR Dwayne Bowe and OT Donald Stephenson on suspended list; released S Jonathon Amaya, S Malcolm Bronson, FB Jordan Campbell, DL Dominique Hamilton, WR Mark Harrison, G Ricky Henry, LB Alonzo Highsmith, LB Nico Johnson, DT Kyle Love, CB Justin Rogers, DT Kona Schwenke, PK Ryan Succop, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, LB Devan Walker, OT J’Marcus Webb, RB Charcandrick West, WR Fred Williams.
Most significant move: An impressive offseason performance and the continuity that would have been achieved by keeping him on the roster did not save veteran receiver Vincent Brown, who was waived/injured by the Chargers. Brown had not practiced since suffering a calf strain during the second day of training camp July 25 but was considered solidly on the roster because of his experience in San Diego’s offense. Brown played all 16 games for the first time in his NFL career in 2013, finishing with 41 receptions for 472 yards and a touchdown. Brown had only one drop on the season. Scheduled to make $1,431,000 in base salary for the upcoming year, Brown’s salary would have been fully guaranteed if he was on the Week 1 roster. The Chargers are about $5 million under the salary cap, so Brown’s release could be a move by San Diego to clear more salary-cap space for transactional moves during the season. The Chargers also like ex-CFL standout Dontrelle Inman and will likely run more two-tight-end sets with the emergence of Ladarius Green. Brown will revert to San Diego’s injured reserve list if he clears waivers.

Bolts go with two QBs: San Diego went with two quarterbacks on this year’s roster, releasing developmental prospect Brad Sorensen. The Southern Utah product had an uneven performance in games and in practice during training camp. He’ll likely be added to the team’s practice squad if he clears waivers. The Chargers kept Sorensen on the active roster as a rookie last year, keeping three quarterbacks. But in 2011 and 2012, San Diego kept only two quarterbacks, so they'll go back to that model in 2014. The Chargers likely needed a roster spot in order to add more depth along the defensive line, and Philip Rivers has the second longest streak of games started by a quarterback behind Eli Manning at 128, so San Diego doesn’t necessarily need a lot of depth there.

Are the Chargers a running team? Yes, San Diego has one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL in Rivers and will run more no-huddle this year. But the Chargers showed their hand in keeping both rookie running backs Marion Grice and Branden Oliver on the active roster -- San Diego is a running team. The Chargers finished 13th in the league in rushing in 2013 with 1,995 rushing yards. But with Ryan Mathews injured at the end of last season, San Diego could not lean on the run game in an AFC divisional playoff loss at Denver. That should not be an issue this year, with five quality running backs currently on the roster and a physical run blocker in fullback/tight end David Johnson.

What’s next: All players waived Saturday are eligible to be claimed off waivers by other NFL teams at 9 a.m. PT Sunday. Teams can start setting practice squads at that time, once waiver claims have been settled.

Chargers' moves: San Diego released 22 players -- TE Mike Flacco, CB Crezdon Butler, DE Doug Worthington, DE Joe Kruger, WR Tevin Reese, QB Brad Sorensen, OL Craig Watts, WR Vincent Brown, DL Chas Alecxih, WR Torrence Allen, LB Victor Aiyewa, S Alden Darby, CB Greg Ducre, T Mike Harris, WR Javontee Herndon, LB Thomas Keiser, LB Cordarro Law, S Adrian Phillips, LB Colton Underwood, G Craig Watts, OL Kenny Wiggins and C Khalil Wilkes.
Good morning. The San Diego Chargers are expected to announce final roster cuts close to the Saturday 4 p.m. ET league deadline. As soon as they are announced, we will have a post on the released players and an analysis of the team's final roster.

News of players getting released continues to trickle out this morning. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports tight end Mike Flacco, the younger brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, has been told he will be released by the Chargers.

Reportedly, the Chargers also released Crezdon Butler, Brad Sorensen, Tevin Reese and defensive linemen Doug Worthington and Joe Kruger. The team has not confirmed those moves, but that would put the Chargers at 69 players as they work on whittling the roster down to 53.

Ben Stockwell of Pro Football Focus praises Cordarro Law for his play in the final preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com provides five lessons learned from San Diego’s final preseason win against Arizona.

Jay Paris of the Sports Xchange gives us an early preview of the regular-season opener at Arizona.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego writes that cutting Sorensen makes sense for the Chargers because it frees up a roster spot for a team attempting to make a deep playoff run.

Russell Baxter of Bleacher Report gives the Charges a C grade for the team’s performance during the preseason.
Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Friday he will know who his starting quarterback for their Week 1 game at the New York Jets early in the week.

[+] EnlargeDerek Carr
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesDerek Carr's performance against the Seahawks on Thursday has created a lot of discussion about the Raiders' starting quarterback job.
However, Allen did not shed any light of whether Matt Schaub or rookie Derek Carr will be behind center in the game during his conference call Friday afternoon. Allen is sticking to what he said Thursday night after Carr starred in a 41-31 home win over Seattle. Allen said the team has to see where Schaub, acquired in a trade with Houston in March, is medically Monday when the team returns to practice.

Schaub didn’t practice all this week with what both he and Allen has called a minor elbow issue. Schaub is dealing with a personal matter and Allen did not see him Friday. The matter is unrelated to football.

“I think the biggest thing is I want to be able to check on Matt and see where Matt is health-wise,” Allen said. “Like I said, he was making some progress last week, threw on the side with the trainers. I feel like he’ll be ready to go, but I think we need to see how he’s doing Monday when he gets in here.”

Still, Allen was just as enthusiastic about Carr’s play Friday as he was the night before. Carr, a second-round pick from Fresno State, completed of 11 of 13 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns, including two one-play touchdown passes. The Raiders led the Seahawks 28-7 early in the second quarter. Nine of Seattle's started played in the game.

The entire offense seemed to be energized with Carr behind center.

“I was very pleased with what I saw out of Derek Carr last night,” Allen said. “We’ve said all along that Derek is going to be a really good quarterback in this league and he’s shown those signs, and you’ve seen those signs, throughout practices. It was good to see that our whole group offensively was able to go out and function the way that they did last night.”

Still, it appears Allen is three days away from disclosing his plan for the start of the regular season.
SAN DIEGO – San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy emphasized that Thursday’s final preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals was about picking the best 53 players for the regular season and not game-planning for the team’s regular-season opener against the same team on Sept. 8.

McCoy
“It was a very productive offseason,” McCoy said. “And now it’s the tough time of the business for us, as coaches and as an organization, the personnel department – everything – of making some very tough decisions moving forward of who the best 53 are for the football team, and picking the practice squad.”

McCoy said the team will not announce roster cuts until Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline. However, news has trickled out on a couple of the releases.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that San Diego released cornerback Crezdon Butler.

Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reports receiver Tevin Reese, quarterback Brad Sorensen, and defensive linemen Doug Worthington and Joe Kruger have been released.

None of these moves have been confirmed by the team.

In terms of the schedule, McCoy said his coaching staff will evaluate film from Thursday’s game and clean up mistakes made by players who make the final roster. And then the Chargers will begin preparing for Arizona, with a couple extra days to get a jump on game-planning for the Cardinals.

“You’ve got to study,” McCoy said. “You’ve got to watch as much film as you can. And we’ve got some extra days to take advantage of it. But I also think it’s important for some guys to take a deep breath for a couple days. Take care of your body No. 1, and get ready for the marathon. It’s a long season.”
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The Denver Broncos wrapped up their preseason Thursday night with the same major revelation they opened it with – that there isn’t much room on the depth chart for surprises and the land of opportunity is actually just a sliver of ground with room for a new backup or two to go with some special-teams players.

The Broncos are likely deeper than the team that lost Super Bowl XLVIII by 35 points as well as, front to back, top to bottom, more athletic as well.

Whether or not that translates into another shot at the title remains to be seen, but here are some final takeaways from the Broncos' summer work:

  • [+] EnlargeBradley Roby
    Jack Dempsey/AP PhotoThe Broncos threw a lot at rookie cornerback Bradley Roby, and his mental toughness showed in training camp.
    It’s often difficult for rookie to carve out meaningful snaps on a team like the Broncos, but if the preseason is an indication the Broncos are going to get quality time from cornerback Bradley Roby (first round), wide receiver Cody Latimer (second round) and linebacker Lamin Barrow (fifth round) while Michael Schofield (third round) nudged his way into a backup tackle spot. Roby will get plenty of work in the team’s specialty packages and perhaps his best attribute beyond his obvious height/weight/speed numbers has been when the Broncos offense picked on him in practice, he kept his head, kept lining up and battling. The fruits of those labors will be in his playing time, because he showed the kind of mental toughness some had openly wondered he had before the draft. And Latimer will, and should, get some premium work in the offense. His routes still need some polish, but put him in a contested situation, as in the red zone, and he fights for the ball with tenacity. Barrow’s athleticism will get him on the field in some of the Broncos’ specialty work, especially until Danny Trevathan returns from a fracture at the top of his tibia.
  • No shock, but the Broncos are going to put up the points. The starting offense scored on six of 10 possessions in the preseason and against the Houston Texans, the group put up two touchdowns in the span of 62 seconds. It is unreasonable to believe they’ll reach the 600-point mark again – after all, the 2013 Broncos are the only team to reach that milestone in the league’s history – but early returns say they’ll have a few surprises, especially in the run game, that they haven’t shown in a game just yet. They showed some heavy formations – three- and four-tight-end looks – and in the preseason finale, even trotted out backup guard Ryan Miller, at 6-foot-7 and 320 pounds. In the passing game, new additions Emmanuel Sanders and Latimer give the Broncos the ability to create more difficult matchups in more places in the formation. They can run more players out of slot positions in the formations, out of a bunch look, and it will make it more difficult for defensive backs to disrupt their routes.
  • When the Broncos held plenty of folks out of Thursday night’s game, some of those “DNPs’’ are worth noting simply because it was an indication of their standing on this roster. Ronnie Hillman, who has clawed his way back into good graces after last season’s trek from starter to game-day inactive, did not play and is solidly in the No. 2 running back spot behind Montee Ball. Roby was also held out, as was cornerback Kayvon Webster, so your top four corners will be Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., Roby and Webster, which is how the team has practiced in recent weeks since Harris returned to full participation. Also worth noting, in what has been the tightest position battle on the roster, the Broncos played defensive tackles Kevin Vickerson 39 snaps and Mitch Unrein 30 snaps in the fourth preseason game. Both players often worked with the starting defense last season.
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid revealed knee and ankle injuries to quarterback Tyler Bray that otherwise went undetected in the final preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. These injuries could be the Chiefs' way out of their quarterback dilemma.

"He got banged up a little bit last night and I hope he’s OK," Reid said.

Those injuries could allow the Chiefs to put Bray on injured-reserve, which would be convenient in that they would like to keep all four of their quarterbacks. To do that, the Chiefs would have to either keep them all on their active roster, which they don’t want to do, or put one on an injured list.

Doing so with Bray would cost him this season, but allow him to remain a part of the picture for the long term.

"If you took one player and you said 'who’s improved and changed themselves physically and mentally in the last year the most,' you probably have to put Tyler in that mix," Reid said. "From where he was to where he is now, there’s a big difference."

Denver Broncos' projected roster

August, 29, 2014
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Examining the Denver Broncos' roster:

Quarterbacks (2)
The Broncos carried three here last season and thought enough of Zac Dysert to keep him despite a long list of injuries on defense that eventually saw five starters on injured reserve. Dysert played well in the preseason, but it continues to look like two is going to be the number here with Dysert set to get a spot on the practice squad.

Running backs (4)

The Broncos kept five at this spot as recently as 2012, but with tight end Virgil Green's ability to play in a fullback role, four is the most logical total. Thompson continues to show he's a potential keeper and even lined up at fullback in the preseason finale. Kapri Bibbs closed strong with two touchdowns against the Cowboys, but he's more likely to be a practice squad guy.

Receivers (5)

Undrafted rookie Isaiah Burse tried to show he could make some impact on offense in the preseason finale with 66 yards receiving, but if the Broncos keep him, and there is a chance he did just enough to force that decision, it would be as returner. Welker, who suffered his third concussion since Nov. 17 against the Texans, did run some routes, catching passes, in pre-game warm-ups Saturday night.

Tight ends (3)

The Broncos kept four last season -- they kept three in 2011 and three in 2012 -- but keeping three, with perhaps another on the practice squad continues to be the most likely scenario as nothing that happened in the preseason changed that.

Offensive line (10)

The Broncos have kept nine players at this position for the opening-week roster in all three previous seasons of the John Fox/John Elway regime so this is where a difficult decision awaits if they don't elect to keep 10. Their rotations in the preseason suggest, however, 10 just might be the number this time around and this is likely where the third quarterback spot goes. Garland has done enough to earn a spot, and Cornick continues to work as Clady's backup at left tackle.

Defensive line (8)

The Broncos kept eight on the initial roster here last season and it's shaping up to be that way again. If that's how it plays out after the team's meetings on Friday, Kevin Vickerson could be the off man out. Unrein played some defensive end in some run-down situations in the last two preseason games and showed plenty of up-field quickness overall.

Linebackers (7)

Trevathan won't be back in the lineup until after the Week 4 bye at best so Marshall is going to play for him for at least the first three games of the regular season, and he showed in the preseason win over the 49ers he's up to the challenge. Miller is scheduled to be in the lineup Sept. 7 and Johnson closed strong to make his case in the preseason finale.

Cornerbacks (6)

Last season, the Broncos kept seven cornerbacks on the opening-night roster, including the injured Champ Bailey, but it's now looking like six here with Bolden lining up at corner much of the time. Bolden is also decidedly in the mix as the team's kickoff returner. Chris Harris Jr. is still on track to play in the regular-season opener.

Safeties (5)

Watch the rotations in practice as well as the preseason games, and Ihenacho figures into the equation here as the fifth safety, which would put the Broncos at 11 defensive backs -- what they kept last season -- but that would likely cause them to keep one fewer defensive lineman. In this scenario it means Ihenacho's special teams work is enough to get him the spot, a spot that came from the defensive line.

Specialists (3)

McManus missed two 50-plus yards attempts in the preseason finale, but had been with the team just for a day. He showed a powerful leg and is the most likely replacement for Matt Prater, who is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

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