Denver Broncos vs Arizona Cardinals

Denver Broncos vs Arizona Cardinals Live: The Denver Post PUBLISHED: 28 August 2019 at 1:44 pm UPDATED: 28 August 2019 at 4:25 pm 1 Six weeks have passed since the beginning of the Broncos training camp and yet the roster is far from being settled.“I believe I still have a nice piece of it, myself,” said coach Vic Fangio. “Definitely in the double digits, for sure.”Here’s a closer look at 10 Broncos apparently on that roster bubble who can make or break their chance on the basis of their play against the Cardinals.

How many jobs are on the line when Denver is hosting Arizona in its pre-season finale on Thursday night?


1. Keishawn Bierria, ILB The 2018 sixth-round NFL draft pick was relegated as a rookie to mostly special teams, but he broke into the indoor linebacker rotation with injuries to Todd Davis, Josey Jewell and Joe Broncos vs Cardinals Jones in the training camp. If Jones (triceps) begins the year on injured reserve, Bierria’s chances of securing the predicted fourth inside linebacker position behind Davis, Jewell, and Alexander Johnson will be strengthened. But few roster positions feature such intense one-spot competition.

“You’re trying not to feel the pressure,” said Bierria. “But you want to go out there at the same moment and play some games and make individuals notice you.” 2. Jamal Carter, LB A shift from safety to linebacker halfway through training camp gave Carter fresh life and the role seems to fit his 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame. A strong performance against the Cardinals will make it hard for Fangio to let go of a physical linebacker with the ability to potentially defend pass-catching tight ends. Carter’s secondary background implies that he can be pinched back to safety and that roster flexibility is appreciated.

3. River Cracraft, WR No roster player has more NFL experience catching punts like Cracraft, but this is no assurance that he will get the task. Through four pre-season matches, he totaled five returns for 22 yards. Cracraft projects in contention with Juwann Winfree no higher than the fifth wide receiver of the Broncos. It’s hard to see how Cracraft supplants the sixth-round rookie without solidified punt return responsibilities. Cracraft will probably need several impressive returns on Thursday to prevent the assignment of a practice squad.

“(Cracraft) might be our returning punt,” said Fangio. “He plays a nice part as a wide-ranging backup in that he can perform all roles mentally and physically, so he gave himself some versatility and value.” 4. Su’a Cravens, S Early playing time and training snaps projected Cravens as a near-lock to provide powerful security for Kareem Jackson. But latest activity on Cravens ‘ Twitter account (@iammsuzy)— removing all prior tweets and any Broncos membership while posting an emoji peace sign Broncos vs Cardinals— indicates a change in his status with the team. Cravens was inconsistent with the Rams last week and allowed the second play from scrimmage to complete a 51-yard coverage with De’Vante Bausby’s cornerback. Cravens has little knowledge with special teams as well.

5. Kevin Hogan, QB Hogan probably wouldn’t have had a shot at the 53-man roster if second-round rookie Drew Lock in the preseason didn’t have a sprained correct thumb. But injury bred chance, and if Hogan performs moderately well on Thursday, he will probably secure his position as the backup for Joe Flacco until Lock returns to health and earns the coaching staff complete confidence. But watch Hogan fight, and Denver may be encouraged to move forward sooner.

“We’ll see some familiar faces running over there that defense (against Arizona), so it’s supposed to be fun,” Hogan said. “I will just go out and play the best I can.” 6. It would be nice news for Marshall to be Trey Marshall, S No Cravens on the 53-man list. Security for the second year was cut as a rookie, taken back to the practice squad, put in December on the active list, and played in two matches. This preseason, with eight tackles and one pass breakup, Marshall was remarkable while playing a physical ball brand.

7. Mike Purcell, DT It’s more than just a homegrown tale that makes you feel good. Purcell, a native of the Highlands Ranch, spent his rookie season with the 49ers under Fangio in 2014 and the familiarity of the system served Purcell well at a meeting in Denver. Also benefiting from the surprise release of defensive tackle Zach Kerr, the seventh-year NFL traveler; opening the door to back up starter Shelby Harris. To enhance his candidacy and prevent the practice squad, Purcell requires another strong pre-season performance.

“I’m not thinking too much about it (making the active roster),” said Purcell. “I’m going out, performing, and anything (happening) can fall in place.” 8. Brett Rypien, QB Rypien always seemed to have been destined for the practice squad as the long-term project of offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. But the injury of Lock and the lackluster play of Hogan has opened a one-game Broncos vs Cardinals window for Rypien to demonstrate why he ought to be the backup. His greatest shot is to stretch the field vertically— the calling card from Rypien while at Boise State. His longest finish against Atlanta in this pre-season was 15 yards.

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9. Josh Watson, ILB The group’s heaviest hitter is the third inside linebacker on our list. But for a place on the active list, Watson requires to display more than strength against Arizona. With Alexander Johnson getting the bulk of first-team defense snaps in pre-season matches, Watson is more likely to be a key special team player capable of playing a position comparable to linebacker Joe Jones.

“It can perform consistently,” said Watson, “and do the little stuff right on and off the field while building confidence with players and coaches.” 10. At the beginning of his fifth NFL season, DeShawn Williams, DT Williams, traveled from practice squads in Cincinnati, Denver, Miami and Indianapolis before returning to this training camp for the Broncos. The former defensive tackle of Broncos vs Cardinals Clemson has flashed the authority inside to be disruptive, but if he leapfrog Purcell for Denver’s probably fifth and final defensive line slot, one more strong pre-season game is required.

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