Good morning, Broncos Country!
If you’re keeping track at home, I’m a big fan of Vic Fangio.
Mostly for his “I have zero %^$&# to give” mentality regarding what anyone thinks of his decisions.
But now also for his dislike of “Cut Day.” Beginning today, all NFL teams will start trimming their rosters to get to the maximum 53 by 2 p.m. MT on Saturday.
It’s a tough day for everyone in the locker room. If you’re one of the players who doesn’t make the team, it’s tough to swallow. If you’re one of the players who does, you still have to say goodbye to teammates you’ve become close to over the past four months.
“It’s not a good part of the job,” Fangio said, noting that even though he’s never done it as a head coach, he’s always felt like he had to do it with half the team. “You develop relationships with these guys. They’ve been here since April with us. I like all these guys and they’ve put forth good effort and they all have dreams and ambitions.”
Fangio also pointed out that their decisions on who stays and who goes are not always correct, either.
“For the ones that it won’t be here, you know it’s hard to tell them that. It doesn’t mean we are right either. Sometimes you make mistakes, but we’re going to try our best to get the right 53 on the team and then the all-important 10-man practice squad because many of the guys that are considered regulars and established players in this league started on the practice squad, so we treat those with a lot of importance.”
In this week’s “Something Something Broncos” podcast, I was flying solo without my co-hosts, so I went through the roster to decide which players I believed would make it based on preseason performance, including Thursday’s game (you can double check how close I get!) Although I hate cut day, I also hate losing, so it’s important we get as close to finding the best players as possible.
Following the team’s 20-7 win over the Cardinals in the final preseason game last night, Fangio felt like there was a lot of good play to glean from for making decisions - but he still has questions.
Regarding the quarterback play, Fangio may think it’s a little better but still not consistently good.
“I think they played OK. Again, it’s been a lot like they’ve played most of the preseason. I see some good plays, plays that you think you can win with and then some plays that were not so good,” the coach said. “Not that anybody plays the perfect game, but we just have to eliminate some of those that aren’t good for us and be a little bit more consistent.”
But Fangio still has not determined his backup quarterback.
Hogan finished 12 of 23 for 138 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions and a 48.8 quarterback rating in his final audtion for the role. One interception was a Hail Mary just before the half.
Hogan felt good about his performance last night and thought he improved his resumé.
“I feel like I’m playing good football,” Hogan said. “I thought the preseason games didn’t always go the way you hope. I feel like throughout camp, I played some real good football and have the confidence of my teammates and coaches. It’s out of my control, but I’m really happy with how I played.”
Rypien was 8 of 11 for 86 yards, an interception and a 57.4 quarterback rating. Hogan wouldn’t answer if he thought those were good enough to “separate” from Hogan, but he was happy with his final game.
“From my standpoint, I just want to progress from that last game,” he said. “I felt like I did that. I had goals coming into this game, but I’ve still got a long way to go be a guy in this league. But at the same time, I know what I need to work on, and I’ll do that for sure.”
Special teams has been a concern all offseason, and the coach felt like Kelvin McKnight and River Cracraft showed improvement in that area.
“They did better obviously,” he said. “I thought River had a good game too. He caught some balls and looked confident catching it. ...Then we had the nice one with McKnight at the end there, so maybe something to build on there.”
But as always, the coach isn’t committing to an opinion until he can study the tape.
Asked about his confidence in inside linebackers Alexander Johnson and Justin Hollins, Fangio said it was “growing.”
The coach was asked how much growing his confidence needs to do, and he just responded “more.”
One player he didn’t hesitate to praise was undrafted rookie Malik Reed - the Nevada Wolf Pack linebacker dubbed “Dream Killer” by none other than Von Miller.
Reed had four sacks over three preseason games, including one Thursday on a 4th and 2 that gave the Broncos the ball back on downs.
“Anytime an undrafted college free agent comes in and makes your team and plays good, it’s always nice to see and it is a surprise no matter what anyone else would tell you. I’m happy for him. I’m happy for us.”
Broncos 20, Cardinals 7: Observations
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