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.
The NFLPA and the league have agreed to push the trade deadline back two weeks. Also, teams will be allowed to bring one player back from IR midseason, with restrictions.
Traditionally, the trade deadline has been the Tuesday following the conclusion of Week 6. The new deadline will be 4pm ET on Tuesday, October 30.
The Broncos announced 12 cuts to meet today's 75-man roster requirement. There is one unexpected name here - Lonie Paxton, who spent three seasons as Denver's long snapper.
Also let go, but to no great surprise, were LB Elliot Coffey, WR Mark Dell, WR Cameron Kenney, TE Anthony Miller, DE Cyril Obiozor, RB Xavier Omon, S Anthony Perkins, T Mike Remmers, CB Ramzee Robinson, FB Austin Sylvester, and G Austin Wuebbels.
Updated 6:03pm ET - Paxton cap figures corrected
The Broncos have taken safety Jim Leonhard off the active PUP list, and he is practicing today.
Denver signed the eighth-year veteran on August 4, but his recovery from a torn patellar tendon had prevented him from taking part in practice or individual drills until today.
Updated 2:07pm ET
After several weeks chock full of disappointing injury news, the Broncos finally got some players back for practice today.
Safety Quinton Carter, who had missed almost all of training camp, was back in action today; cornerback Tracy Porter, linebacker Danny Trevathan, and running back Ronnie Hillman also returned to practice.
Updated 3:51pm ET
Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams was found guilty by a jury today of driving while ability impaired and without headlights during a November 2010 incident.
The ninth-year player is already facing a six-game suspension for submitting a non-human urine sample for PED testing, and is likely to receive further punishment for this latest conviction. Williams pleaded guilty to charges of DWAI in a 2005 case, and the NFL tends to issue lengthier bans to repeat offenders of the personal conduct policy.
Onlookers noted the Broncos' practice on Tuesday for its intensity, and unfortunately, the price of going hard when it doesn't yet count can sometimes come with a heavy price.
A day after longtime starting right guard Chris Kuper was lost to a broken bone in his forearm (four to six weeks), the news is worse on newly-minted starting defensive end Jason Hunter.
Hunter suffered a torn triceps that will cost him at least two months, and possibly the entire season; a similar injury forced DT Ty Warren to miss all of 2011.
Updated 11:32am ET
One of the many 2011 Broncos storylines that, shall we say, slipped under the radar, was that the offensive line was the only one in the league to start the same five players for all sixteen regular-season games.
They won't have such good fortune in 2012.
Updated 5:10pm ET
At a time of year when football news tends to be of the negative variety (injuries), the Broncos instead got some of the pleasant kind today: the Miami-Dade state attorney will not be filing charges against Elvis Dumervil.
Elvis had been arrested last month in Miami under suspicion of having displayed a gun in a threatening manner during a road rage incident. But from the outset, his lawyer and agent both maintained that no charges had been or would be filed.
Updated 5:13pm ET
For the second time in the span of 48 hours, the Broncos have added a veteran defender on a one-year deal - this time signing 36-year-old linebacker Keith Brooking. They acquired safety Jim Leonhard on Saturday and placed him on the active PUP list a day later.
Brooking (6-2, 240) is entering his 15th NFL season after 11 years with Atlanta and three in Dallas, where he went from a 16-game starter in 2010 (906 snaps) to seeing more limited play last season (three starts, 408 snaps) after being replaced by Sean Lee.