Deciding which players will board the plane to Jacksonville for the first week of the regular season evokes a conditional enthusiasm. The Broncos can look forward to a clean slate of football, but only after saying goodbye to the players that didn’t make the final cut.
“There’s a little more elbow room in the locker room — and this is a hard time for everybody because in training camp you forge relationships, and it’s hard to see some guys go,” Spencer Larsen said. “You just get used to the guys you are around and as the season goes, you just kind of jell.”
Head Coach Josh McDaniels said the process wasn’t easy.
“Certainly the last few days have been filled with some tough decisions on the roster that we felt like were in the best interest of our football team,” McDaniels said. “Now we’re excited to move forward with the football team that we do have.”
That means game planning without last year’s NFL sack leader in mind.
“One of the tougher decisions that we had to make was to put Elvis Dumervil on the injured reserve,” McDaniels said.
Dumervil stopped by Dove Valley on Tuesday, sitting in on the squad meeting before visiting with teammates in the locker room, maintaining his presence while he recovers from surgery.
“Even though he can’t play, we’ll look forward to his leadership and his help with some of the younger players as we go through the season,” McDaniels said.
One young player soaking up advice in the locker room is first-year man Stanley Daniels. By his count he’s been cut four times, but he earned himself a spot as one of 10 offensive linemen on the team after starting at guard in the last two preseason games.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “My journey has been long. I’ve gone through a lot to get here, get an opportunity to play and get on the team — and that’s all you can ask for, so it’s a dream come true.”
Daniels spent time with the Rams, the Jets and the Packers before catching on in Denver. He said McDaniels told him he’d have the opportunity to create a role for himself, so he played himself to the top of the depth chart when the team decided to try out Zane Beadles – who also started two games at left guard – at tackle.
“You have to be ready to switch sides, and everybody has to be on the same page at any point in time,” Daniels said. “That’s kind of what being on the offensive line is about. That’s just the nature of our business and the nature of our position.”
McDaniels said the guard’s size and ability inside factored into the team’s decision to keep him out front.
“He’s earned the right to be in a situation where he has a chance to start and play at left guard,” McDaniels said. “There’s no question about it.”
- Gabe Hiatt, DenverBroncos.com
*Below are photos from today’s practice.