Another Tuesday brings more moves … including a seismic change on special teams.
Out is Todd Sauerbrun and in is Paul Ernster, marking a reversal of the decision made in August when the Broncos opted for the 13-year veteran Sauerbrun over the 2005 seventh-round draft pick who had held down the punting and kickoff duties throughout 2005 following Sauerbrun’s suspension for violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.
The Broncos also placed Nick Ferguson on injured reserve, promoted safety Roderick Rogers from the practice squad, and waived safety Marviel Underwood.
Sauerbrun’s gross punting average of 46.8 yards ranked second in the AFC behind Oakland’s Shane Lechler and fifth in the NFL overall. However, his net punting average of 36.1 yards was 10th in the conference and 21st in the league. His discrepancy between gross and net averages of 10.7 yards was also the highest in the league.
Sauerbrun also handled kickoffs.
Ernster — who in 2006 had the highest touchback percentage for a Bronco on kickoffs since the kickoffs were moved back to the 30-yard-line — had a stay in Cleveland earlier this year that can be equated to a layover; he played one game for the Browns in relief of the injured Dave Zastudil before finding himself back on the waiver wire, where he remained until Tuesday.
Underwood signed with the team on Dec. 5 but did not crack the game-day active roster in his two weeks as a Bronco. Underwood had been trying to claw back into the NFL after tearing two knee ligaments in a preseason opener in 2006 while a starter for the Green Bay Packers; he missed that entire season and was waived by the Packers this past summer.
The San Diego State product played under current Broncos assistant head coach/defense Jim Bates as a Packers rookie in 2005. A day after Underwood signed, Bates said the Broncos were “just going to take a look” at Underwood to see where he stood and whether he could help, but the safety never made it out of a warmup suit on the two game days that followed.
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