KUSA—Fed up with the blowout manner his team has been losing games, Broncos general manager John Elway continues to send strong messages to the locker room.
On Saturday morning, the Broncos cut A.J. Derby, their top receiving tight end, and promoted Austin Traylor from the practice squad.
Traylor’s promotion was expected because the Broncos had just one healthy tight end on their 53-man roster, starter Virgil Green, for their game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Derby and another tight end, Jeff Heuerman, were ruled out Friday with injuries.
Cutting Derby – he was officially waived/injured with a shoulder injury – was a surprise as he leads Broncos’ tight ends with 19 catches, 224 yards and two touchdowns.
The move comes about 14 hours after Elway said of the Broncos’ five-game losing streak – in which the average score has been 33 to 13.6 – that he thought his team “got a little bit soft.’’
Derby is not soft. He is strong enough to have made the rare conversion college quarterback to tight end, tough enough to have been drafted by Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, and good enough to have become one of Trevor Siemian’s favorite targets through the first seven games.
But Derby is not the most the physical tight end and Traylor is considered more blocker than receiver at the position.
By cutting a prominent player, Elway seems to be sending a message that there will be consequences to the team’s poor play.