The big news of the weekend revolves around the players who didn’t make the final roster.
But what about those who did? Here’s a first breakdown of the Broncos’ 53-man roster.
QUARTERBACKS (2): Jay Cutler (R), Jake Plummer.
Denver released Preston Parsons along with Van Pelt, leaving them with two quarterbacks on the season-opening 53-man roster for the third time in the last four years. The team carried three quarterbacks into the 2004 campaign, but quickly went back to two by moving Matt Mauck back to the practice squad.
RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (5): Mike Bell (R), Tatum Bell, Cedric Cobbs, Kyle Johnson, Cecil Sapp.
Johnson has made the roster as a full-time fullback in each of the last three seasons, but once again the Broncos have at least one fullback who can move over to tailback in Sapp. Other fullbacks on the 53-man roster who could swing over to the other backfield slot in recent years include Mike Anderson (2002, 2003) and Reuben Droughns (2002, 2003, 2004) … Tatum Bell is the only one of the Broncos’ three running backs to have started in the NFL, but his starting experience is limited to the regular-season finale at San Diego last year … Tatum Bell has 1,317 rushing yards in the NFL; Cobbs has 50, Mike Bell, of course, has none as a rookie.
TIGHT ENDS (5): Stephen Alexander, Nate Jackson, Mike Leach, Chad Mustard, Tony Scheffler (R).
The Broncos opted to keep all of their players at the position. Having so many tight ends is hardly unusual; this is the third time in the last four years that the Broncos have carried a quintet of tight ends into the regular season … Alexander is the only one of the five to have started in the league … Leach, Mustard and Jackson were all undrafted; they came into the league from Division I-AA, II and III, respectively.
WIDE RECEIVERS (6): Charlie Adams, Todd Devoe, David Kircus, Brandon Marshall (R), Rod Smith, Javon Walker.
Extra depth could arrive in the form of rookie Domenik Hixon, who is on the reserve/non-football-injury list, which means he can move to the active roster later in the season, unlike those placed on the injured-reserve list … Three of the five are Division II alumni: Devoe (Central Missouri State), Kircus (Grand Valley State), Smith (Missouri Southern). Marshall’s alma mater, the University of Central Florida, was playing Division II ball as recently as 1989. Then there’s Walker, who played his college ball at longtime kingpin Florida State.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Cooper Carlisle, George Foster, Ben Hamilton, Chris Kuper (R), Matt Lepsis, Adam Meadows, Chris Myers, Tom Nalen, Erik Pears.
This marks the most offensive linemen the Broncos have kept on their 53-man roster to start a season in the last four years … The decision to retain Adam Meadows continues a recent trend of the Broncos always employing at least one backup offensive lineman with substantial starting experience as a pro. For the past two years, that player was tackle Cornell Green (Carswell was another veteran backup, but he’d played tight end for the previous 11 seasons). The previous two seasons, Blake Brockermeyer filled that role … Myers, Kuper and Pears have never played offensive line in a regular-season game, although Myers did play on special teams last year after being promoted from the practice squad.
DEFENSIVE LINE (9): Courtney Brown, Patrick Chukwurah, Elvis Dumervil (R), Ebenezer Ekuban, John Engelberger, Kenard Lang, Michael Myers, Demetrin Veal, Gerard Warren.
Brown and Warren were and missed most of training camp and all of the preseason, although Warren returned to practice last week after missing three weeks with a dislocated toe. Veal started in his place in the preseason and was the only member of the August starting defensive line (ends Ekuban and Lang, tackles Veal and Myers) to play in the preseason finale at Arizona. … Chukwurah is the longest-tenured Bronco among this group, having joined the team on Jan. 13, 2004 by signing a future contract. He had spent three days with the Broncos leading into Week 17 of the 2003 season … Four of the nine entered the league as first-round picks: Brown, Ekuban, Lang and Warren.
LINEBACKERS (6): Keith Burns, Ian Gold, Louis Green, Nate Webster, D.J. Williams, Al Wilson.
The sextet has played 26 seasons with the Broncos heading into this one and it collectively carries 36 prior seasons of NFL experience — an average of 6.0 seasons per man … Chukwurah adds depth if needed with his past experience at outside linebacker.
SECONDARY (9) : Hamza Abdullah, Champ Bailey, Sam Brandon, Curome Cox, Nick Ferguson, Domonique Foxworth, John Lynch, Karl Paymah, Darrent Williams.
The team kept four cornerbacks and five safeties on the active roster, although Cox originally joined the Broncos as a cornerback and did see some time at the spot last year at Jacksonville. Brandon also played cornerback in the season opener at Miami last year when the Broncos were beset by injuries at the position.
SPECIAL TEAMS (2): Jason Elam, Paul Ernster.Elam is the club’s longest-tenured player; Ernster has one game of NFL experience.