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Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - Odds and ends after loss to Houston

Good Morning Broncos Country!

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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 (just speculation).  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 knew 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 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

Welker Concussed

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!

Horse Tracks

Peyton Manning schools defenders in practice with deception - The Denver Post
Peyton Manning creates trusts issues. For defensive backs, he's the chocolate chip cookie that reveals raisins on first bite.

How the Broncos did in their five goals against the Houston Texans - The Denver Post
How the Broncos fared in their five goals set by beat writer Mike Klis for their preseason game Saturday night against the Houston Texans.

Broncos-Texans: Three Questions, Answered
We look back at the three questions posed before the game and see how they turned out during the Broncos' preseason game against the Houston Texans.

How it happened: Broncos vs. Texans
Review all the action of the Broncos' preseason game against the 49ers with full highlights and play-by-play.

Broncos 17, Texans 18: Five Standout Players from Loss
The Broncos were beat by the Texans in their third preseason game in Denver. Here are five players who stood out in the exhibition.

Gut Reaction: Texans @ Broncos, Preseason Game 3 - It's All Over, Fat Man!
TJ reacts to the Broncos' 17-18 defeat to the Texans

Wes Welker's latest concussion concern for Denver Broncos - ESPN
DENVER -- Just a week ago the Denver Broncos looked at their depth chart and were considering the idea they could keep six wide receivers when they cu

Observation Deck: Denver Broncos - ESPN
DENVER -- After a testy week with the Houston Texans when Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning went as far as to say the Broncos’ offense

Ball, Miller, Vickerson active in returns
Montee Ball got a heavy workload in his only series, while Von Miller and Kevin Vickerson made long-awaited returns from injury in Saturday night's game against the Texans.

Broncos vs. Texans photos
Browse through photos of the first half from the Broncos' preseason game against the Texans.

Austin 'Saw the Endzone' on Near Int.
Marvin Austin talks about his near interception and his premature thoughts of scoring.

Manning's reaction reveals a fiery team personality
Peyton Manning got in D.J. Swearinger's face, and with a few words, showed a more aggressive, feisty mindset for the 2014 Broncos.

Paige: D-coordinator Jack Del Rio "made right choice" with Broncos - The Denver Post
The Broncos' defensive coordinator, and pro tem head coach last season, possesses a dedicated work ethic, determination and competitiveness defined by the Del Rio ancestry.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive line can't take any more hits - ESPN
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs lost three regulars from last season’s offensive line during the opening days of free agency, bu

San Diego Chargers use rotation of players to replace Manti Te'o - ESPN
SAN DIEGO -- With inside linebacker Manti Te'o ruled out for this week’s contest against San Francisco because of a sprained left foot, the San

Why Vincent Brown isn't going to be cut by the San Diego Chargers - ESPN
SAN DIEGO – Out since the second day of training camp with a calf train, San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Brown is biding his time until the

Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen says passing game needs work - ESPN
There is a chance some of the Oakland Raiders offensive starters could play in the preseason finale against visiting Seattle on Thursday. Oakland coa

Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen pleased by play of Matt McGloin - ESPN
Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen praised the play of No. 3 quarterback Matt McGloin and said he has confidence that McGloin, who started six games l

Observation deck: Kansas City Chiefs - AFC West Blog - ESPN
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The starting offense for the Kansas City Chiefs still can't finish a drive. The starters failed to score a touchdown in eight pos

Rodger Saffold limps off after suffering right leg injury | ProFootballTalk
After watching starting quarterback Sam Bradford head to the locker room after suffering an injury to his left leg during Saturday night's preseason game with the Cleveland Browns, the St. Louis Rams watched another member of their starting offense go down due to injury.

Bernard Pierce being evaluated for concussion after hit by Brandon Meriweather | ProFootballTalk
The Ravens have a big role in mind for running back Bernard Pierce while Ray Rice is suspended for the first two games of the season, but they may need to wait for him to be cleared from a concussion to fill it.

B.J. Raji tears biceps, will miss Packers' season -
B.J. Raji suffered a torn biceps during Friday night's contest against the Oakland Raiders and will miss the 2014 season. The Green Bay Packers nose tackle had been getting rave reviews at camp.

Rams' Sam Bradford exits game with knee injury -
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, who's had a sharp preseason after ACL surgery, limped off with a knee injury sustained vs. the Browns. Should the team be concerned about its starting signal-caller?