Good Morning Broncos Country!
The Prater Situation
Where to start? Prater received a DUI back in 2011 meaning he was probably placed into an alcohol program that probably stated "no alcohol" for the duration (just speculation). The word going around is that Prater had a few beers in his home during vacation and failed a urine test. The way the program works, Prater was slated to receive a full-season suspension. But because the league knows it's punishments are asinine agreed to reduce it to 4-games so long as Prater did not appeal.
Enter Mitch Ewald. He was thought to have been brought in as a camp leg, perhaps even as someone who could help keep some heat on Matt Prater. Wrong. The Broncos new of Prater's situation from the start and Ewald was to be the player that would kick in Prater's stead during weeks 1-4. Why is this important? Ewald is terrible. He's struggled with length and accuracy all training camp. The Broncos wouldn't bring in another vet because it might raise questions as to why? But they certainly could have found a better replacement than this.
Going forward, Prater counts 812K in dead money against this year's cap, but would save the Broncos close to 2.2 million if he were cut. They are not going to cut Prater this year, but looking ahead to 2015, the money situation is similar. I'm really disappointed in how the Broncos front office approached this situation. Place kicker has immense value. Prater afforded the Broncos the opportunity to attempt long kicks if a drive stalled out around the opponents 40-yard line. Those situations now become punts. If we have a 4th and short to go from mid-range (say outside of 37-38 yards, I think instead of three, the offense stays on and tries to convert.
This throws a big wrench into a lot of game management situations, and the Broncos coaching staff has not proven to be entirely trustworthy when it comes to those either.
A team is only as strong as it's weakest link--I truly believe that. Now our weakest link may cost us a game early, and it could have been avoided with some better planning by the front office.
August 26th, cutdown day
The Broncos must trim their roster to 75 by 2 pm MDT. Kyle will have a complete schedule later on today.
Their roster currently sits at 88 players with Greg Latta, and John Youboty both on Injured Reserve. The Broncos have yet to move Jordan Norwood to IR. I am not sure what the hold up is. Norwood has 5 seasons under his belt and would not need to clear waivers in order to remain a Bronco.
Assuming Norwood will go to IR soon, here are the 12 cuts I would make:
G Miller, T Painter, WR Fowler, RB Williams, RB Clay, TE Robinson, DT Larsen, DE Vaughn, LB Harris, LB Fort, S Mitchell, CB Sullen
For the 3rd time as a Denver Bronco, Wes Welker has suffered a concussion. Two in the span of three weeks last season cost Wes a couple of games. If Wes has to miss any time, and that's the unknown right now, who steps in? You're going to see Jacob Tamme get some reps, and you're also going to see Andre Caldwell get some reps in the slot. Where it will hurt is on 3rd downs where Wes has become a 'go-to' target. Look for Manning to rely more on TE Julius Thomas and #1 WR Demaryius Thomas if Welker is missing from the lineup.
As to Wes' long-term health. Only he knows what is going through his head. Speculation on retirement or anything else in regards to his career is a bit premature at this point. Until we know otherwise, expect Wes Welker to play a prominent role in the Broncos offense this season. Get well Wes, and please--take your time!
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