Denver Broncos: Sione Fua

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The Denver Broncos’ decision-makers will arrive to work Saturday morning with some work still to be done to get the team’s roster down to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET.

They have at least 13 additional players to release before the deadline and will scour the transaction wire as well to see if any of the players who have been sent into the open market are better than those they have. The will pay particular attention to returners as well as other players who can fill special teams roles.

According to a variety of team and league sources, as well as the players’ own Twitter accounts, the Broncos released or waived at least seven players Friday.

Guard Ryan Miller, who was one of the most decorated prep players in Colorado history, was waived. The Broncos also released linebacker L.J. Fort, defensive tackle Sione Fua -- who signed with the Broncos last November and appeared in one game -- fourth-year defensive back Jerome Murphy, rookie cornerback Jordan Sullen, tight end Cameron Morrah and tight end Jameson Konz.

The Broncos have made no formal announcement of the roster moves.

The Broncos will also place kicker Matt Prater on reserve/suspended -- he will miss the first four games due to violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy -- and undrafted rookie defensive end Kenny Anunike, who suffered an elbow injury in the second half of Thursday night’s win over the Dallas Cowboys in the preseason finale, is expected to be placed on injured reserve.

Anunike was evaluated by the team's medical staff Friday. The Broncos were expected to sign Anunike to the practice squad. It is the second consecutive season the Broncos have had an undrafted rookie they wanted to keep in some fashion suffer an injury in the preseason finale.

Last season it was linebacker Lerentee McCray, who was expected to make the 53-man roster before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the preseason finale and spending the season on injured reserve. McCray is expected to be among the linebackers the team keeps this time around.

All of those moves would put the Broncos roster at 64 players with at least 11 more having to be released Saturday morning. Even some of those players on the back end of the roster who survive this cut-down won’t be able to relax much if the Broncos add a player or two on Sunday or Monday who have been released elsewhere.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos held kicker Matt Prater out of Friday’s practice, the second consecutive day Prater was not on the field with the team.

“He’s got a virus, sickness,’’ said Broncos head coach John Fox.

Asked if Prater was too sick to practice or if he was held out of the team’s activities to keep other players from getting sick, Fox said; “A combination of both, like most sick players. We sent him to the doc. They deal with it, give him medication. He’ll be fine."

Prater is still slated to travel with the team Sunday to the New York/New Jersey area.

Prater led the NFL in touchbacks on kickoffs during the regular season and was 25-of-26 on field goal attempts in the regular season, including 6-of-7 from 50 or more yards. Prater is 5-of-6 in the postseason, including a 4-of-4 performance in the AFC Championship Game this past Sunday.

Also, Friday defensive tackle Sione Fua (calf) was held out of practice -- he was limited in Thursday’s practice -- while defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (knee) and running back Knowshon Moreno (ribs) were limited.

Unrein was held out of practice Thursday. Both Moreno and Unrein are expected to be available to play in Super Bowl XLVIII.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- There are always plans. Draft plans. Free agency plans. What-if plans.

And the Denver Broncos have certainly made their share of plans over the last year in an attempt to fill out a roster good enough to, as executive vice president of football operations John Elway routinely puts it, "win a world championship."

But sometimes things don't go according to plan. Somebody gets hurt, somebody gets suspended -- or in the case of linebacker Von Miller, both -- or somebody simply doesn't play as well as expected.

So that takes a course change here and there. With the Broncos set to open their postseason play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, here's a look at how some of their just-break-glass signings have gone so far and where those players figure to fit in the postseason.

DE Shaun Phillips: In the wake of the fax fiasco that resulted in Elvis Dumervil's release by the Broncos last March, the team felt Dwight Freeney and John Abraham had priced themselves out of the team's budget. So during the draft weekend the Broncos signed Phillips to a 1-year, $1 million deal, with incentives for sack totals that start at eight. Phillips played 770 snaps in the regular season (68.2 percent overall) and led the team in sacks with 10 but has had just one over last six games.

CB Quentin Jammer: Jammer was originally signed May 30 and the Broncos intended to move him to safety to play him in some of their coverage packages. But that didn't go well and Jammer looked far more comfortable at cornerback, so the Broncos left him there. He's been a situational player, with 217 snaps (19.2 percent of the defensive plays). His playing time in the postseason could depend on how much the Broncos play Kayvon Webster with a cast on his surgically-repaired right thumb. If Webster is put back in the rotation, Jammer's potential playing time gets reduced.

LB Paris Lenon: The Broncos signed him Aug.20 when Stewart Bradley went to injured reserve. After bringing him in for a workout, the Broncos quickly saw the 36-year-old had kept himself in condition and they signed him with the hope that he could provide depth. But over the course of the season and as the Broncos have searched for answers on defense, he has been moved into the base defense at middle linebacker -- replacing a team captain in that role in Wesley Woodyard -- and has played at least 23 plays in each of the last four games. The Broncos need a big postseason from him because offenses figure to pound away at times against the Broncos to keep the ball out of the Peyton Manning's hands.

S Michael Huff: The Broncos signed the former first-round pick Nov. 19 to a 1-year, $840,000 deal ($49,412 each week on roster in regular season). He's played 40 snaps on defense, all in the last two games as defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has begun to use him in some of the specialty packages, often lining him up at what is essentially a weak-side linebacker spot or using Huff along the line of scrimmage in the pass rush. With the number of open formations with three and four wide receivers the Broncos would figure to see in a multi-game postseason run, he figures to see more of those kinds of snaps.

DT Sione Fua: Signed a two-year deal with the Broncos after he had cleared waivers in November -- no signing bonus with $555,000 base salary this year, $645,000 in 2014 so it is essentially a one-year deal if the Broncos want to move on after the season. The Broncos like Fua's potential and he's played sparingly thus far -- 12 snaps overall with 10 of those coming against the Titans. Figures to have a difficult time getting in the rotation in the postseason unless there is an injury or the Broncos face a run-heavy offense.

DE Jeremy Mincey: The Broncos signed him Dec. 17 to help bolster things at end with the uncertainty around Derek Wolfe's return to the lineup -- Wolfe has practiced just twice since suffering what the team has called "seizure-like symptoms" on Nov. 29. Mincey, who played for Del Rio in Jacksonville, was moved into the lineup quickly, having played 60 snaps combined in the two games since he was signed. He figures to be in the mix in the postseason and will play in the base defense as well as some situational work.