A day-by-day Broncos player breakdown is something we've been doing since our days at BroncoTalk nearly a decade ago. This year the tradition continues as we look at the Denver Broncos roster heading into the 2015 season in our 90-in-90 series.
Today we take a look at a player many fans wished would have been a game-day inactive last season - wide receiver Andre Caldwell.
Name: Andre Caldwell
Position: Wide Receiver
Height: 6-0 Weight: 200
Age: 30 Experience: 8
Do you remember when you were happy that the Broncos re-signed Andre Caldwell in 2014?
No really, you were happy about it at the time. It seemed like a great move at the time. But now are you excited about Caldwell being a Bronco? Probably not . . .
Rewind to March 2014 when the Broncos had Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker as their primary wide receivers. The Broncos knew early on that Decker was not in their future plans. And when an injury sidetracked Welker at the end of the 2013 season, Caldwell stepped in and did an admirable job. Most importantly Caldwell seemed to have gained the trust of Peyton Manning. 2014 was also the first year Caldwell earned an invitation to Manning's Duke workouts. It was all looking up for Caldwell at the beginning of the 2014 season - he even got a chance at being the Broncos' kickoff returner.
But 2014 was not Andre Caldwell's year.
The good: The No. 1 good thing going for Caldwell is that he has Peyton Manning's trust. It's a cliché to say Manning is a creature of habit, but it appears to be very true. If Manning feels comfortable throwing Caldwell the ball, this fact cannot be ignored. Caldwell was one of three wide receivers at Manning's Duke workouts this year.
Caldwell has talent. He's fast and capable of big plays. But "capable" doesn't really cut it in the NFL.
The bad: The bad with Caldwell is unfortunately much easier to write about. Caldwell had an excellent chance last year to make a name for himself as a wide receiver or as an ace special teamer. He not only failed to shine for the Broncos, Caldwell didn't even shimmer. Had Cody Latimer been able to catch on to the playbook earlier and gain Manning's trust, Caldwell would surely have seen even less time on the field. Caldwell was targeted 15 times in 2014 and only had five receptions. Those receptions averaged 9.4 yards per catch.
If that wasn't lackluster enough, Caldwell's kickoff returning was even more frustrating to watch.
Andre Caldwell can't make ONE guy miss.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 16, 2014
Caldwell just appeared "off" every time he got close to the ball. When Omar Bolden took over on kick returns, Caldwell became purely a back-up option. Without a role on special teams Caldwell is far from a lock when it comes to a place on the roster. DT, Emmanuel Sanders, and Latimer should be the Broncos top 3 receivers, and several young and hungry WRs are looking to take Caldwell's spot.
Quotable: Hard to find anything Andre Caldwell has said to the media lately. Caldwell I'm sure is more aware than anyone that it doesn't matter what he says these next few months. What matters is how he plays on the field.
Status: The Broncos can save $1.35 million in cap space with only $200,000 in dead money if they cut Caldwell. If Foxy and his crew were still in charge I would say that Caldwell would make the roster because he is a known quantity and it's the "safe choice." However, with a new coaching staff that seems excited to give the young guys a lot of attention, Caldwell's experience may not help him much. Isaiah Burse, Jordon Norwood, and Bennie Fowler all have good chances of being the back-up receiver who can also contribute on special teams that Caldwell was supposed to be last year.
The bottom line is that Caldwell has talent to be successful in the NFL, but I don't like his chances of making the Broncos 53-man roster this year.