As the Denver Broncos wrap up the preseason the future of many players is on the line. Some of the players who are on the brink this year are new (and had little chance to begin with) while others are more familiar with Broncos fans and may come as a bit of a shock. Especially to those who didn’t get a chance to attend the open practices held at Dove Valley this August.
The most discussed of all the players that could be released this year is former number one draft pick Knowshon Moreno. The former George Bulldog was a surprise number one pick from the beginning and outside of a few flashes here and there, his career has been a huge disappointment. Being hurt last season and being charged with a DUI while driving a car with the license plate “sauced” has not helped his cause. Knowshon has become a player who is frequently hurt and someone who prefers to bounce around versus attacking the hole which we know John Fox prefers. To his credit he has become a descent pass blocker and catches the ball well out of the backfield but the negatives have far out weighed the positive in the first few years of his disjointed career.
Two others who are fighting hard for a spot are former Norte Dame safety David Bruton and wide receiver Matthew Willis. Both have been nice “fill in” players for the Broncos the past few years but neither has proved to be a game changing type player. Because both are awesome at special teams, many believe they can save their spots but both are certainly sweating it out, hoping not to get the dreaded call to the coaches office.
Probably the biggest disappointment for coaches and fans so far this season is the lack luster play of back up quarterback Caleb Hanie. The former Colorado State star has consistently looked the worst of the four quarterbacks and needs to play well against the 49ers and Cardinals to save his job. The Broncos had hoped Hanie would be the back up in case Peyton Manning got hurt but every day and every practice that looks more doubtful. It appears John Elway’s joking press conference comment about having “no plan B” was spot on because Caleb Hannie is playing more like “plan F” and will not likely make the team.
Some other positions that will make the coaching staff think long and hard on decision day is the wide receivers and tight ends. With the addition of Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen all other tight ends are on high alert because the Broncos will likely only keep three. Do you go with the solid blocking Virgil Green or the promising Julius Thomas, who is just now recovering from an nasty ankle sprain that took him out of most of 2011? At the receiver position Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Stokley, and Bubba Caldwell look to be safe so Jason Hill, Mattew Willis, and the raw rookie Gerell Robinson will fight it out for the final position. D’Andre Goodwin and Eric Page have already been released and Greg Orton and Tyler Grisham look to be long shots at best.
To most of us, the last two games of the preseason will merely look like a tune up for the regular season but for many of the Broncos players this may be the end of the line. So every play, and every down will count. Their lively hood depends on it.