You Got Served: Thoughts on the AFC East and AFC North

Happy Tuesday-which-feels-like-a-Monday, friends.  It’s Football Eve, so I decided to give you some NFL-wide football thoughts the rest of this week, two divisions at a time.  Here’s the tentative schedule:

Tuesday: AFC East, AFC North

Wednesday: AFC South, AFC West

Thursday: NFC East, NFC North

Friday: NFC South, NFC West

I don’t want to go all Peter King, and try to predict the result of a Super Bowl that’s five months away, because that’s a stupid and pointless exercise.  I am going to try to give you some more general insight, though.  Ready…. BEGIN!!

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The Broncos are not the Yankees, TYVM Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team held its first regular-season practice yesterday, with only Chris Kuper sidelined, due to his injured forearm.

John Fox (video) spoke after practice; team captains were elected yesterday, but will not be announced until tomorrow. The head coach says Tony Carter, fourth on the team's depth chart at corner, made the squad on the strength of his strong man-cover skills and special-teams play.

Brandon Stokley says practice was a bit more intense yesterday.

All teams must be under the salary cap at 4pm ET today; according to PFT, Denver has $11.1M in cap space, which suggests that any financial decisions for 2012 have been based upon budgetary considerations, not cap concerns.

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A Second Helping of John Elway’s early draft returns

Now that Denver has finalized its 53-man roster and is about to complete its practice squad, I had an urge to take a quick look at the two drafts overseen by John Elway’s front office group.

Elway has been very clear that this team needed at least three years to rebuild, and that he has planned to do so via the draft.

So far, so good.

They’ve achieved what seems to be an unusually high percentage of success so far. It’s early, though - drafts are usually best considered after three years.

What follows is just a glance at ‘so far’.

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Saulsberry stakes final practice squad spot Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver completed its practice squad today by signing guard/center Quintin Saulsberry, an undrafted rookie who had been signed by the Vikings out of Mississippi State.

Saulsberry (6-2, 304) was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs, and the only player in MSU history to play and start every game of his career there. He played every position along the line except for left tackle.

Meanwhile, Jim Leonhard has switched jersey numbers from 45 to his more familiar 36, which had belonged to Rafael Bush; Leonhard wore 36 with the Ravens and Jets. Also swapping numbers were Ronnie Hillman (34 to 21), C.J. Davis (71 to 54), Steven Johnson (41 to 53), and Duke Ihenacho (39 to 33).

The team returns to practice today as they prepare for Sunday night's opener against the Steelers.

Updated 11:44am ET

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Helton saw Peyton at rock bottom Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! For the many thousands of words we've all read about Peyton Manning over the past six or seven months, we'd probably all like to think we know how far Denver's signal caller has come in his physical recovery.

But in a highly revealing piece from Judy Battista, Peyton describes a secret Coors Field throwing session held last summer with Todd Helton (down at the indoor batting cages), during which the QB's lack of arm strength startled the Rockies first baseman.

Later on came a depressing prognosis from the Colts coaching staff, who told Manning his arm reminded them more of Chad Pennington's, than of his own.


At the rock bottom of his physical state, Peyton threw with those who would not judge: his wife, and his brother Eli.

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Seven players added to Denver practice squad

The Broncos have filled seven of their eight practice squad spots with players they had cut from the 75-man roster yesterday.

RB Jeremiah Johnson, DT Sealver Siliga, TE Cornelius Ingram, DT Ben Garland, WR Greg Orton, G Wayne Tribue, and S Duke Ihenacho cleared waivers and were signed today.

S Rafael Bush was claimed by New Orleans, while QB Adam Weber was signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad; T Ryan Harris, who was released yesterday, has signed with the Texans.

Updated 5:05pm ET

Happy 52nd Birthday, Karl Mecklenburg!

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Broncos likely not done tinkering Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pending any potential waiver claims, trades, or signings, the 53-man roster and depth chart have been set.

Waiver claims (for players with fewer than four accrued seasons) are due by Noon ET today, and then the team can begin to construct its practice squad. Adam Weber, Ben Garland, Sealver Siliga, Adam Grant, Rafael Bush, Gerell Robinson, Cornelius Ingram, Jerry Franklin, Mike Mohamed, and Greg Orton would all appear to be viable candidates for the eight-man crew.

Of the fifteen unvested players Denver waived yesterday, only Syd'Quan Thompson is ineligible for the practice squad.

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Where did I put my keys?

We've heard that people like to search on the Internet and want things like the things they're looking at.

Translation: we finally added search to the site. We tested quite a few solutions and found 'The Google' to be the best. All pages are now search-enabled from the navigation bar, and just hitting "return" will take you to your results. It will work the same cross-device (we know how you people like IAOFM on the go).

Also, "Recent Originals" on the right side of every article/post/diatribe/confession has been replaced with "Related", which should give you other items related to the one you're reading (unless, of course, there aren't any). For example, looking at Doug's latest post about roster cuts will show you other roster-related stories.

As always, if you run into any problems, please email me.

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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