Several key Broncos returned to practice today, including D.J. Williams for the first time since the preseason, along with Elvis Dumervi, Brandon Lloyd and Knowshon Moreno. Obviously, the return of these four veterans to a young squad still otherwise struggling with injuries is a big boost as the team heads to Tennessee for Sunday's game against the Titans. Denver is still without Champ Bailey, Eddie Royal, Marcus Thomas, Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas, who is expected to be out at least for another two or three weeks as he recovers from a fractured pinky finger.
Meanwhile, the team has re-signed Jeremiah Johnson to their practice squad after the RB cleared waivers, and they released WR D'Andre Goodwin from the PS to create room for him. (Thanks, RSH!)
The Broncos have made a move to shore up their shrinking WR corps, but it was not a PS promotion as might have been expected. Rather, the team signed former Cincinnati Bengal, Anaheim Angels farmhand and Texas Longhorn Quan Cosby (5'9" 190) to the active roster and waived RB Jeremiah Johnson to make room for him. Cosby has served primarily as a punt returner during his two NFL seasons, and it would figure that he'll function in that same role for Denver now that Eric Decker can expect to see more time at WR following the injury to Eddie Royal. Cosby returned 70 punts for a 10.0-yard average but had only seven career offensive touches for the Bengals (six catches and one carry).
Brandon Lloyd was limited today in his return to practice, while Champ Bailey, Elvis Dumervil and Knowshon Moreno again missed practice; all four are listed as questionable for Sunday's game versus Cincinnati, and Baily does not sound optimistic about his own status. Meanwhile, Mike Klis is reporting that RB Jeremiah Johnson will be activated from the team's practice squad as Moreno is expected to miss the game. No word on whom the team will release or waive to create room for Johnson on the roster.
WR Demaryius Thomas has suffered yet another injury, although at least this time it's not major - he broke a finger on his left hand during Thursday's session and missed practice yesterday and today. Thomas has been working back into football shape as he returns from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, and he was already expected to miss at least two or three games to start the season.
Also listed as out for Denver on today's injury report are Marcus Thomas, Ty Warren and D.J. Williams, while David Bruton, Brodrick Bunkley, Quinton Carter, Chris Kuper and Matt Willis are all probable. For Oakland, TE Kevin Boss, S Mike MItchell and WR Louis Murphy are out, while LB Darryl Blackstock, WR Derek Hagan, CB Chris Johnson, RB Taiwan Jones, WR Chaz Schilens, and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke are all listed as probable.
As has been speculated upon for several days now, the Broncos have made a change at their backup OT spot, signing ex-Steeler Tony Hills (6'5" 304 lbs) and waiving Herb Taylor to create room for him on the roster. Hills is a fourth-year player who was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round (130th overall) of the 2008 Draft out of Texas, and he played in four games for the Steelers during his time there (all in 2010, no starts). Hills, who will turn 27 in November, was waived by Pittsburgh on Saturday, and the Broncos have signed him to a two-year deal, according to Adam Schefter.
6:09pm ET - The Broncos have announced that WR D'Andre Goodwin, OT Adam Grant, RB Jeremiah Johnson, S Kyle McCarthy, WR Eron Riley and FB Austin Sylvester will join Beal and Weber on the practice squad. Earlier reports had suggested that McCarthy was ineligible for the PS, but obviously those were incorrect.
5:34pm ET - Denver has signed former ZOMG Patriots CB Jonathan Wilhite, a fourth-year player whom New England originally selected 129th overall in the 2008 Draft (4th round). What are they trying to do, become the Patriots West?!?! In 39 career games (13 starts), Wilhite has three INTs, nine passes defensed and 93 tackles. New England had waived Wilhite last Monday.
5:20pm ET - Our latest calculations suggest the Broncos have just over $97M committed to the salary cap at this juncture
Notable cuts: Colts DT Tommie Harris, Bears RB Chester Taylor, Cowboys DT Igor Olshansky, Bucs DT John McCargo, Bengals G Max Jean-Gilles, Titans WR Justin Gage and DE Jacob Ford, Patriots S Brandon Meriweather, Eagles DE Anthony Hargrove, DT Derek Landri, CB Joselio Hanson, Raiders CB Lito Sheppard, Dolphins CB Will Allen, Rams WR Donnie Avery, Bucs S Ahmad Black, Dolphins QB Pat Devlin
The Broncos announced today that they have released CB Nate Jones & waived RB C.J. Gable, LB Braxton Kelley, LB Deron Mayo, G Shawn Murphy, T Curt Porter, and DE David Veikune. This brings the roster number to 80 players, and the deadline to reach the 53-man limit is Sep 3 at 6pm EDT. None of the cuts are big surprises, although Kelley had impressed throughout the preseason. Jones is the most significant player among those let go and was due to make $810K this season (the veteran minimum for players of his experience) and count for $1.06M against the salary cap; he had struggled mightily in camp and during preseason games. The release of Jones makes it that much more likely that Darcel McBath sticks on the final roster as the team's swingman between safety and corner. Expect the practice squad to be comprised of players released in final cuts - not the players waived today.
Third-year TE Richard Quinn was released by the Broncos with an injury settlement just three days after clearing waivers and being placed on IR. The former Tar Heel had been considered Denver's starting TE until the team signed veterans Daniel Fells and Dante Rosario, and he suffered a knee injury two days prior to the Broncos' preseason opener at Dallas. Quinn's brief stint in Denver was a rough one, as his most memorable moment involved getting chewed out by then-head coach Josh McDaniels in last year's regular season opener after the TE forgot his assignment and cost the team a timeout.
The Commish has reportedly hit Rahim Moore with a $20K fine for his own sideline hit on Bills WR Donald Jones from Saturday night's game (no word yet on whether he'll appeal the fine). Moore's hit was clean in the sense that he did not leave his feet, lower or lead with his head, but the NFL has made it clear they are trying to improve player safety. And while hits like Moore's may or may not be delivered with the intent to harm fellow players, and removing them may greatly alter the game as it's played, in the end the long-term health and wellbeing of the men we tune in to watch each week is far more important than our entertainment, wouldn't you say?