The Denver Broncos reduced their roster to the NFL mandated 53-player limit on Friday. The team had a strong training camp and preseason from several players, so it's likely that Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway and team officials were faced with some difficult decisions.
They now have the squad that they will take into the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But did they get it right?
Players That Should Have Stayed
- Adam Weber, quarterback: When he was given the chance, which wasn't often, Weber was able to make plays. In the preseason finale, he hit Greg Orton on a 45 yard pass that set up the game winning field goal. In the entire preseason, Weber only attempted 17 passes as the team focused more on Caleb Hanie and Brock Osweiler.
- Syd'Quan Thompson, cornerback: Thompson is a player who has never been able to fully show what he can do. The Broncos took him in the seventh round in the 2010 NFL Draft and played him sparingly that season, although he did record two interceptions. He missed the entire 2011 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the final preseason game. It's a shame that Broncos fans won't get to see his untapped potential, but don't be surprised to see him catch on with another NFL team.
- Gerell Robinson, wide receiver: Robinson was an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State and came into camp battling for a spot as one of the team's receivers, a spot that seemed to have the fiercest competition. It seemed a lock that the Broncos would keep at least six receivers, but they opted to go with only five. On top of that, Robinson didn't even get added to the team's practice squad. Robinson showed flashes of being a strong contributor for the team, especially considering Brandon Stokley is now 36 years old and Andre Caldwell did next to nothing in four preseason games. This was a surprising release.
Players That Should Have Gone
- Caleb Hanie, quarterback: The Broncos clearly wanted to give Hanie the opportunity to win the backup job in the preseason, but did he do that? In three games, he completed 22 of 39 passes and only threw one touchdown. If Hanie is ever on the field in an important situation this season, it will mean something disastrous has occurred, but Adam Weber was a better choice for the position.
- Keith Brooking, linebacker: I get the argument that this guy brings veteran leadership, but why did he make the roster? Yes, DJ Williams is suspended, but Wesley Woodyard and rookie Danny Trevathan can more than make up for his absence. Brooking has had a solid NFL career, but he will be 37 years old in a couple months. Young players such as Thompson or Robinson would have been better options for a roster spot.
- Philip Blake, center: Remember when this guy was supposed to push J.D. Walton for the starting job? Not only did he not do that, he fell to the third string center behind CJ Davis. Why does the team need three centers? Blake had an atrocious preseason and it was shocking to see him on the final roster.
One Other Move That Needs to Be Made
Tight end Virgil Green will miss the first four games because of suspension, which is likely the only reason Julius Thomas made the squad. Unless Thomas does something incredible in those four games, Green should take his spot as the team's number three tight end and they can wave goodbye to Thomas, who has been largely disappointing since the team took him in the fourth round in 2011.