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Elway: Difficult decision to cut Vickerson; 'We owe Vick a lot'

By Johnny Hart
Denver Broncos/NFL reporter
ESPNDenver.com
 
Denver Broncos general manager John Elway called the NFL’s cut down day the hardest part of his job.
 
Particularly painful may be letting go one of the longest tenured Broncos and veteran defensive presence Kevin Vickerson, who was nudged out of a spot on the final 53 by fellow defensive tackle Mitch Unrein.
 
“That is always tough, especially when ‘Vick’ is a guy that’s played well for us,” Elway said after Saturday’s deadline to finalize the club’s final 53-man roster.
 
In the end it was Unrein’s youthful upside and position flexibility that did in Vickerson’s chances at surviving the final cut down.
 
Unrein, who’s joined Denver in 2010 alongside Vickerson, is now among the older defensive linemen at age 27, but still has four years on the 31-year-old veteran.
 
And Elway championed Unrein’s versatility on the defensive line –– moving outside as well as playing interior defensive line –– as a factor in the decision to waive Vickerson.
 
“… We had to make a decision on one of the two and Mitch is a little bit younger and a guy we think that has a higher standing at this point in time of his career,” Elway said.
 
Vickerson started 41 of 47 games played during his time in Denver, racking up five sacks and 82 tackles.
 
The eight year pro was perhaps one of Denver’s best defenders last season –– a year in which the club earned a Super Bowl berth –– until a dislocated hip in Week 11 sidelined him for the rest of the year.
 
“We owe ‘Vick’ a lot,” Elway said. “He played well when he played here.”

Brock and the Broncos backups strong in preseason finale win over Cowboys

By Johnny Hart
Denver Broncos/NFL reporter
ESPNDenver.com
 
Don’t tell the Broncos backups that the fourth preseason game doesn’t matter
 
Denver exited the preseason on a high note Thursday night, shutting down the Dallas Cowboys 27-3 much on the arm of third-year quarterback Brock Osweiler.
 
“He’s matured so much in our system. Adam Gase and Greg Knapp our quarterback coach have done a tremendous job preparing him,” head coach John Fox said after the game.
 
“He has gotten those live game reps that I think are critical in any quarterback’s development. I really like where he is and I think he showed up pretty well again tonight.”
 
In three quarters of work, Osweiler captained four scoring drives (three touchdowns and a field goal) on 9-of-13 passing for 190 yards.
 
After the game, Osweiler credited the men up front for the high offensive output, especially in the ground game.
 
“It all starts with the offensive line. I thought that second group played lights out,” Osweiler said. “They gave me time to throw and the backs plenty of holes to run through.”
 
Denver’s running backs scampered for 106 yards on 34 carries and combining for three touchdowns.
 
Rookie rusher Kapri Bibbs nabbed two of those end zone celebrations in an effort to make his case for the final 53-man roster.
 
“I just think that this is a game that’s really important for young guys like me,” Bibbs said after the game. “Just go out there, give your all, leave it all on the line, and make the decisions for the coaches even harder and make other NFL coaches take a look at you as well.”
 
Fox and the Broncos staff will have a little less than 48 hours to address those always difficult personnel decisions, as the roster needs to be trimmed from 75 to 53 by Saturday.

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TRAINING CAMP PLAYER TO WATCH

Brock
Osweiler
#17 QB
 
 
Height:  6-7
Weight: 240
Age:  23
College:  Arizona State
Experience:  3 years
 
Osweiler is getting the Aaron Rodgers treatment. He's developing behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback with the idea that one day, he'll get a chance to start. Broncos fans would certainly love if Osweiler became Rodgers-like if he gets that chance in Denver.
 
He's working with a larger portion of the playbook this year after being eased in the first two years of his career. Osweiler has shown great command of the offense during camp. Teammates respond well to his guidance, and he's a toughbut fairleader.
 
By: Cecil Lammey @CecilLammey on Twitter

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