The Final 53 for the Denver Broncos. Never a fun time for coaches, the players involved, general managers, owners and yes, even us fans. After all, it was us who knew all along who should and shouldn't be drafted, traded or signed or not signed as Free Agents.
Well, this past weekend was that time for Josh McDaniels in his second season sitting in the hot seat.
How did he do? Are we all happy? Anyone upset, worried, frustrated, surprised?
Let's take a look at who went and who stayed, shall we?
6'3", 285 Lbs, and gone. Along with $3.25 million of Mr. Bowlen's hard earned money, via a guaranteed signing bonus.
Green was to be part of the "Big Three" (along with Jamal Williams and Justin Brannon) brought into shore up the middle of the defense against the run.
But he was beat out at his position early in the pre-season by Ryan McBean, who played the position last year. And to be honest, it didn't look like McBean was ever challenged by Williams for the starting role.
Just playing for New England is no guarantee that you will be a star somewhere else.
Maybe those ballet pants should have been a clue in the Combine last year. Along with his being vertically challenged. And technically he wasn't a cut but as close as you can get.
5' 8", 193 Lbs. $2.15 million in signing bonus last year. Oh, and we traded our 14th selection in the first round to move up and draft Smith in the second round.
Not the wisest decision made by Josh last year and one he had to own this year in making a trade that sent Smith to Detroit for TE Dan Gronkowski, a 7th round pick by the Lions in the same draft that the Broncos took Smith in the second round.
Smith was an interception machine at Wake Forest setting the ACC career INT record with 21. But like many players (and coaches) have found out, gaudy college stats don't always transfer to the NFL.
I was a vocal critic of this pick last year and in watching Smith this pre-season, he seemed to not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, making mental mistakes on Special Teams and in being out of position on pass coverage.
So Denver gets a 7th round TE for a 1st round selection AND a $2.15 million kicker. I wasn't a math major in college but that doesn't seem like a very good investment.
Maybe it wasn't as curious as I make it out to be. The Josh McDaniels School of Offense doesn't use a receiving Tight End as much as it does a third Tackle or a H-Back.
First there was the trading of Tony Scheffler, one of the better Bronco receiving TEs since Shannon Sharpe. And now the cutting of Marquez Branson (via an injury settlement route), who had a great pre-season and training camp as a receiving TE, it is nailed down that this is the way Josh wants his roster to look.
But I wonder if Mr. Orton will wish he had that TE option available to him as this season progresses.
Makes me (and maybe Kyle) go HMMMM?
As much as I enjoyed watching Darrell ply his trade inside the white lines, I enjoy his incisive and entertaining comments on the media as much or more.
He has the right mix of irreverence, intelligence and love for the game that will make him a great commentator, if he chooses to make that career move.
Mr. Reid, here's hoping you stay around Denver and stay in the media circle.
Even though the handwriting was on the stadium wall, I was hoping that this move (Injured Reserve) wouldn't have happened. But nagging injuries, age (34) and the development of younger players spelled the end of "The Slot Machine" in a Broncos uniform.
But he made the most of his time here, providing some exciting plays and never flinching going over the middle from the slot and making the tough catch. Never any "alligator arms" from this dude!
His fierce competitiveness, toughness, intelligence and leadership will be missed.
I admit my bias here and this was the hardest move for me to accept.
I just hope he catches on with another team if he wants to continue to play or stays in Denver and becomes a coach and mentor to the young guns on the roster.
WHAT!!! How did that picture get in here? Oh, well, I will leave it, OK?
There were more moves made and probably more to come as the roster settles in to the working 53 man team that will carry the Broncos to a decent or a very decent season.
But these were the ones that made me stop and think: "Josh, you are playing with Mr. Bowlen's money, with the team's chemistry and with the fans' collective hearts".
Let's hope you know what you are doing, for all our sakes.
Just one Bronco fan(atic)'s opinion.