Hanie, Brooking, Leonhard, Carter, Steven Johnson, C.J. Davis make 53-man roster

The Broncos have announced their final round of mandated cuts, with a few mild surprises along the way.

Denver decided to keep three quarterbacks, with Caleb Hanie sticking around despite a rough preseason finale in Arizona. Of course, the team could always find another QB to replace Hanie later on, whether via waivers, or another team's cut, or by way of trade. Earlier reports say the Dolphins have fielded calls on Matt Moore, who played under John Fox and Mike McCoy when all three were with Carolina.

Late veteran defensive additions Keith Brooking and Jim Leonhard both made the team as had become expected, as did cornerback Tony Carter.

Updated 9:00pm ET

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Broncos release Drayton Florence

Denver released veteran cornerback Drayton Florence only months after giving him a $1.5M signing bonus as part of a two-year, $4.5M deal.

Florence had struggled in the preseason, while second-year nickelback Chris Harris has continued to excel. The release of Florence likely means the team will be keeping either Tony Carter or Syd'Quan Thompson; he will count for $1.5M against the 2012 salary cap, and the move will save $750K in cap money.

FWIW (not much), we had just been discussing last night as a staff whether Florence would be the surprise cut of the day for Denver.

Updated 7:47pm ET

Broncos waive Weber, Tribue, Garland

As expected, the Broncos have waived quarterback Adam Weber, with the hopes of stashing him on the team's practice squad.

Weber, signed as an undrafted rookie out of Minnesota in 2011, has the look of a quintessential career backup NFL quarterback.

Guard Wayne Tribue and defensive tackle Ben Garland have also been waived. 

Four moves down, sixteen more to come (not counting the Williams/Green suspensions).

Updated 6:58pm ET

Broncos place Beal on IR

The Broncos have placed defensive end Jeremy Beal on Injured Reserve with a sprained left knee. That leaves 19 cuts to be made, with D.J. Williams and Virgil Green soon headed to the reserve/suspended list.

Beal, a 2011 seventh-round pick, was injured during last night's game at Arizona, and he is the fifth player to be placed on IR. Kind of strange for an injury as minor as a knee sprain to send a player to IR, right?

Updated 6:23pm ET

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Vontaze Burfict, Kellen Moore survive final cuts

9:22pm ET - FB Jacob Hester was among San Diego's cuts; the Giants placed defenders Shaun Rogers and Terrell Thomas on IR.

9:12pm ET - Much-debated undrafted rookies Vontaze Burfict (Bengals) and Kellen Moore (Lions) both made it past final cuts.

9:12pm ET - Minnesota cut QB Sage Rosenfels.

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It’s the final cutdown Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Know what's worse than preseason football in general? The fourth preseason game of each year. Worse than that? Overtime in the fourth preseason game at 2am ET.

For helping us avoid that unparalleled misery: Thank You, Adam Weber. Thank You, Greg Orton. Now, good luck on the practice squad.

Thank You, Matt Prater - for making the winning kick at the gun of this morning's 16-13 victory over the Cardinals (BTV & NFLN highlights, Gamebook). For at least a day, we'll shelve the notion that your contract is richer than should be given a Broncos kicker.

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Gut Reaction: Preseason Week 4 - Broncos at Cardinals

Rejoice, Broncomaniacs.

We can move on to more important things--like destroying the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Before we do, though, let's take some time (just a little) to comment on tonight's game.

Thirty thoughts. No categories. Let's get freaky dirty.

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Pre-game Lard and Open Thread: Broncos @ Cardinals

Good Evening, Broncos fans! Although any one of the four Denver players currently on IR will be eligible for activation later in the season thanks to the NFL's IR rule change, the team would have to designate that player by tomorrow night. So, forget about Jason Hunter coming back; the team will surely save the exception for a potential in-season injury to a more important player.

Once a player returns to practice, he will have 21 days to be added back to the 53-man roster.

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A Second Helping of Tipped passes in the no-huddle

For well over a decade now, Peyton Manning's litany of skills has kept him in the conversation regarding who is the best quarterback in the NFL. He may have had four surgeries on his neck, and he’s 36 years old now, but if the topic is his supposed deterioration, try telling it to the 49ers starting defense he dismantled on Sunday.

One of those skills is the ball-handling required in using play-action to freeze defenses. With the running ability of Willis McGahee (and Ronnie Hillman in the wings), defenses have an even greater reason to respect Manning’s play-action passing.

When Manning moves to a no-huddle offense, the value of play-action becomes even greater - defenses have far less time (if any) for substitutions, so the balance that’s always a goal of John Fox's offense becomes an even greater weapon for Denver. Whether the Broncos want to run or pass, they’ve got an effective and productive scheme in place. Stopping the offense becomes more difficult still when any adjustments made by the defense end up being read and turned against them when Manning audibles.

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You Got Served: Taking stock of the Broncos roster

Happy Football Thursday, friends.  As the preseason comes to a close, we’re left to ponder the value of tonight’s game, which begins after my bedtime.  All I can really think of is that it gives the underdog lovers something to get all excited about. 

I’m continually interested in how fans latch on to some late or undrafted player, based on a play here or there, or his name, or where he went to school.  That underdog is going to be a major player, maybe even a star!  He’s a diamond in the rough, and I’ve been down since Day 1.  When the IAOFM crew was chatting during the Bears game, we were having a laugh about how Xavier Omon hysteria was about to be upon us when he made a few good runs against third-stringers.  Well, it came, and it went.  No other third-string defensive line that the Broncos played was sorry enough to be blocked by the Broncos' third-string offensive line.

For the Broncos, the value is that it gives them a chance to make a last-minute decision on who makes the team, and maybe more importantly, the practice squad.  For the most part, the decisions have most likely been made on the larger body of work, though.  If you think about it, tonight’s game is going to end around 2am Eastern.  Cuts to 53 have to be completed by 9pm Eastern time on Friday.  That leaves very little time for deliberation.

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