How can you tell that no one cared about the Broncos' 16-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals last night? One way: John Elway was brought into the broadcast booth to try to prevent channel surfing in the second quarter. Another: Not a single YouTube user on the planet has shared contest footage at this writing. But the game was meaningful to at least a few people -- some of whom may have worn a Denver uni for the last time.
With Peyton Manning and most of the recognizable starters getting the night off, the match-up was used almost entirely to determine which of the second-, third- and fourth-rung players of the 75 still on the roster would be around later today when the Broncos must cut down to 53. But given how many of the on-the-bubble ballers are unrecognizable to the average fan, pretty much the only drama involves Knowshon Moreno, a first-round draft pick by Josh "Team Killer" McDaniels who's underperformed to date and is coming off ACL surgery.
Understanding that he was playing for his NFL life, Moreno acquitted himself pretty well, racking up 49 yards on seven carries. That he did so against back-ups from one of the lesser outfits in the league skews that accomplishment, though -- and Elway's praise of his training camp during that second quarter chat with Dave Logan and Ed McCaffrey shouldn't be taken as any indication he'll stick around, especially given that he doesn't play on special teams. The drafting of Ronnie Hillman this year clearly indicated that Denver was looking to replace Moreno, and the smart money's on Elway and company doing so this afternoon.
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Also probably bound for oblivion (or the practice squad) is fourth-string quarterback Adam Weber, even though he completed a 45-yard strike to Greg Orton that got Matt Prater close enough to smack a 44-yard field goal, blessedly preventing overtime. But Omar Bolden no doubt secured his spot with a 103-yard kickoff return -- one of the few exciting moments in an otherwise desultory time-waster. (See it here.)
Expect to see a few recognizable names among those bid adieu later today. But for the most part, the surprises will be few and the bottom line remains the same. If Manning stays healthy, the Broncos should have an exciting season. If he doesn't, we might even miss Tim Tebow.
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