Peyton Manning and many of the first string Broncos can take a breather this week. It’s time for those players dangling on the edge of the roster-cut cliff to make one final plea for their spot on the 53-man roster.
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Manning has answered the burning questions of durability and arm strength, and the starting defense showed speed and tenacity, allowing a mere 19 total points the first three games of the preseason.
Thursday night in Arizona marks the elimination round for the 2012 preseason, and most players playing beyond the second quarter will be playing for their jobs as Denver Broncos.
For some players it will be their career-saving performance, but for most it will be their “swan song.” Friday morning will bring the formal cut of the Broncos roster from the 75 current players down to 53, as mandated by the NFL.
Head coach John Fox definitely hasn’t made any final decisions just yet.
“It all counts, right down to the last play,” Fox said. “I think there are plenty of cases in my time in the league where maybe a guy wasn’t expected to make it, but then he does some things that catch your eye. Maybe he was close, but it’s one or two things that get him over the top.”
The Broncos have already begun making cuts to the roster. On Monday the team cut 12 players, the most notable being 12-year veteran long snapper Lonie Paxton. This was a move that came as quite a shock and seems to be a bit of a head-scratcher. Paxton was part of a very successful special teams unit last year consisting of him, punter Britton Colquitt and kicker Matt Prater.
The majority of projected cuts are obviously going to be made on the second and third strings. One cut that seems to be making its way through the rumor mill is RB Knowshon Moreno. Moreno was injured for a fair portion of the 2011 season, and while he had flashes of greatness, he was unpredictable at best.
Thursday night’s game has been pushed to 9:06 p.m. MST to accommodate the Republican National Convention and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s speech that is scheduled to end by 9 p.m.
When: Thursday, Aug 30 at 9 p.m. MST
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix, Ariz.
Watch: NFL Network
Listen: Sirius Radio: 228 in Arizona, KOA 850 AM in Denver