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Elway: 'We let go of a lot of good football players today'

It's never easy making the final cuts to get down to just 53 players, but John Elway and Gary Kubiak are confident they have fielded the best 53 to don the Broncos uniform as the regular season begins.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

Yesterday was the day the Broncos had to get the roster down to 53, and while it is exciting to see who makes the final cut, it represents my least favorite day of the football year.

I don't think we let a guy go today that can't play in this league. -Gary Kubiak on cutting the roster

GM John Elway and head coach Gary Kubiak agreed, both saying it's a tough day because they had to let go "of a lot of good football players."

"I don't think we let a guy go today that can't play in this league," Kubiak said, while adding, "We're very excited about our 53."

Included in the 22 Broncos cut are suspended players T.J. Ward and Derek Wolfe. When Elway was asked why the NFL let Ward play a year before pursuing the suspension, Elway said the Broncos aren't pursuing any action regarding the suspension.

"I'll let you ask the league office. I'm not going to open that can," Elway said. "We're disappointed, but we're going to abide by the rules and move on."

Moving on means using that spot for one of the 53 for one week; after that, the roster will move once again.

Among the tough cuts were offensive lineman Ben Garland. Though he's a fan- and coach-favorite for his leadership on and off the field, Elway believes Garland is one of the many players cut who has a chance to play somewhere in the NFL.

"Ben's worked so hard," Elway said, pointing out that Garland had to switch from defensive lineman to offensive lineman after joining the Broncos. " He's the kind of guy you'd like to have your daughter marry. Unfortunately there weren't enough spots, but Ben will be one of those guys who'll get another opportunity."

As far as possibly picking up another offensive lineman or maybe a tight end, Elway said the roster "is always fluid," but they had no intention of leaving any spots open right now.

"We feel good we've got 53 guys who can play in the NFL, so we weren't going to leave a spot open," he said. "But we'll always be fluid with [the roster]. Look at the wire, see what comes across."

Elway defended only having four inside linebackers on the roster - after cutting Steven Johnson, 2014 draft pick Lamin Barrow and undrafted free agent Zaire Anderson - by saying the goal was the best 53 players on the team, regardless of position, and he believes they've got that, including Corey Nelson who will also be an asset on special teams.

"We went with best 53 guys that can help us win...with that mindset we went with four inside backers," Elway said, adding that their confidence in the health of Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan played into that. "Danny and Brandon are healthy and ready to go."

Kubiak named a couple players he thought "earned" their spot on the team through Training Camp, including Shaquil Barrett and Bennie Fowler. He also had high praise for third-string quarterback Trevor Siemian, who had to come back from an injury while also learning the Broncos' system and leading the team.

"Trevor put himself on it," the head coach said about putting him on the roster.

Kubiak added that they had known Siemian had a great arm after watching him throw at Northwestern, but the intangibles - such as decision-making on the field and leadership - are things "you gotta see."

"We saw the arm. There was no doubt about the arm. You knew he had that ability. There's not a throw he cannot make," Kubiak said. "He worked really hard, and he just continuously made progress. He's a leader. Guys gravitate to him. He deserves the credit. He did a good job."

Defending the decision to keep running back Montee Ball over Kapri Bibbs, Kubiak noted that Ball is "a good football player."

"The other night the opportunities weren't very good," Kubiak said of Ball's performance against the Cardinals. "He's had a good camp. He earned a right to be on the 53." (*update: Ball waived Sunday)

We had to make some tough, tough decisions today. An [undrafted] free agent not making the team tells you a lot about the depth of the roster.   -Gary Kubiak

Although Elway joked that "heads are gonna roll in the personnel department" over ending the CFA streak with the Broncos, the GM and his head coach pointed out once again that it speaks to the depth on the roster.

"We had to make some tough, tough decisions today," Kubiak said. "And a [college] free agent not making the team, that tells you a lot about the depth of the roster."

Today the Broncos will look at waiver wires and name the Practice Squad players, which will likely include a few of those cut yesterday.

OK, Broncos Country, who were your surprise roster cuts/survivors?

Horse Tracks

Shaquil Barrett and his wife happy to see their perseverance pay off - The Denver Post
Shaquil Barrett has been the surprise of the Broncos' preseason, but for years, he's been playing for much more than accolades or a gaudy sack total.

Bennie Fowler, Shaquil Barrett show what a difference a year makes - Denver Broncos Blog - ESPN
Bennie Fowler and Shaquil Barrett were among the Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said caught his eye during Denver's preseason finale.

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The Denver Broncos understand they have a green offensive line, but they're ready to roll with it to let them grown and build their own continuity.

Nine months after ACL surgery, Trevor Siemian makes Broncos roster
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Eight months after starting a playoff game for the Denver Broncos, linebacker Steven Johnson was among the team's cuts Saturday.

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Bennie Fowler, Shaquil Barrett show what a difference a year makes - Denver Broncos Blog - ESPN
Bennie Fowler and Shaquil Barrett were among the Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said caught his eye during Denver's preseason finale.

Peyton Manning stretches with son before Denver Broncos kickoff - Denver Broncos Blog - ESPN
ICYM the cutest picture on the Internet Thursday night, Peyton Manning had a partner while doing his pregame stretches Thursday at Sports Authority Field -- his 4-year-old son Marshall.

LOOK: Tim Tebow reacts on Twitter to being cut by the Eagles -
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Patriots wide receiver Reggie Wayne and Eagles quarterback Tim Tebow were among those to miss the cut on Saturday. Take a look at the other notable players that are now looking for new jobs.

Rugby league star Jarryd Hayne makes the 49ers -
Former Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne survived the Niners' final roster cuts. Hayne impressed during the preseason as a return man. Will he earn starting kick return duties in Week 1?

Patriots wideout Brandon LaFell headed to PUP list -
Arguably the second-best wideout on the Patriots' roster, Brandon LaFell tweeted his eligible return date following roster cuts on Saturday. LaFell has been recovering from a foot injury.

Washington Redskins are keeping RGIII as backup QB -
The Washington Redskins are keeping Robert Griffin III as their second-string quarterback, despite the risk of a potential hit that would cost the team $16.2 million in the case of injury.

Christian Ponder released by Oakland Raiders -
Christian Ponder won't find a home in Oakland this season. The Raiders released the fifth-year quarterback on Saturday, the team announced.

Tom Brady takes to Facebook for first comments since winning Deflategate appeal
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady thanked his family, friends and fans for supporting him, but said "to a large degree, we have all lost."

38 player suspensions start now | ProFootballTalk
On the day that every team reduced the roster size to 53, nearly that many players landed on the suspended list. A total of 38 suspensions became effective Saturday. Twenty-two of the players currently are on teams; 16 aren't.