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Quarterbacks Hogan, Rypien among Broncos' cuts as Denver narrows in on final roster

Another veteran QB is headed Denver's way and the final roster is on the verge of being completed, for now.
Credit: AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
Denver Broncos quarterback Kevin Hogan (9) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the Broncos made substantial roster moves Saturday, they raised eyebrows by waiving quarterback Kevin Hogan.

“Tough day,’’ Hogan said in a phone interview with 9NEWS. “Just unfortunate but I felt like I had a great camp. Felt like I caught a bunch of bad breaks in the preseason but I’m extremely optimistic that I’m not done playing.”

The veteran Hogan had been the Broncos’ No. 2 quarterback through the offseason and most of the preseason. He was passed up by second-round rookie Drew Lock for about 10 days, but regained the No. 2 spot when Lock suffered a significant thumb injury.

The Broncos also waived rookie QB Brett Rypien – a move that was expected – so the Broncos will try pick up another veteran quarterback either by claiming one off the waiver wire by 2 p.m. Sunday, or acquiring one through free agency or trade in the next day or so.

"Wide open,'' Broncos general manager John Elway said. "We'll just see what happens. Obviously, the wire is going to come out in about three or four hours, so we'll see what's there. We are exploring all options at this point in time."

To see Denver's current 52-man roster, click here.

Brian Hoyer, who reportedly has been released by New England, would make sense as he spent time with Broncos’ offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello in San Francisco for the first six games of the 2017 season. However, other teams are interested would be interested in Hoyer, though, which means he could get too expensive.

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Lock is currently the Broncos’ only backup quarterback to starter Joe Flacco – and Lock may be headed Sunday to short-term injured reserved, which would sideline him eight weeks into the regular season.

"We'll have it fixed,'' said Broncos' head coach Vic Fangio after playfully loosening up his shoulder when asked who the team's emergency backup QB is at the moment. "We don't play for about what 12 days, 11 days so they'll be somebody in there."

Credit: (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) runs against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL preseason football game, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Besides a backup quarterback, the Broncos are also expected to look around for a fullback and a returner. The current roster only has Andy Janovich at the fullback position and he's expected to miss the first two to four games with a pec injury.

“We’ll see what’s on the wire at fullback, as well as tight end and continue to go there,'' Elway said.

River Cracraft has currently won the No. 6 receiver/punt returner job, although Elway isn't done looking at his position.

“We continue to look and try to get better there,'' Elway said candidly. "Right now it’s River, but we’ll continue to try to get better there if we can. If there’s someone better than River, then we’ll see what we can do.” 

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The Broncos' 53-man roster include two contrasting feel-good stories. For the young, two undrafted rookies made it. Outside linebacker Malik Reed and inside linebacker Josh Watson of Colorado State made it 15 of the past 16 years at least one undrafted rookie made the Broncos' season-opening roster.

For the experienced, offensive tackle Jake Rodgers and defensive tackle Mike Purcell of Highlands Ranch made it. Both have bounced around in recent years but each is now on the big roster for the first time since 2016.

Purcell was helped in that he played for Fangio before, in San Francisco from 2013-14 and Chicago in 2017.

"I remember when John and Matt (Russell, the Broncos' director of player personnel) came to me and said that we're thinking about signing Purcell way back when. I said, 'Be careful, you might like him.'

Credit: AP
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Brandon Allen, top, throws under pressure from Denver Broncos nose tackle Mike Purcell during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

"Mike came in and had a heck of a camp. He earned his way on this football team no two ways about it, through practice and through the games."

As for Rodgers, he has been active for just one week in the NFL -- the Giants' season opener in 2016.

"He just kept improving,'' Fangio said. "I think that Mike (Munchak) and his guys in the O line with him that are helping him, Kupe (Chris Kuper) and Justin (Rascati) did a great job with him and the guy just kept improving. He obviously has a lot more improving to do and that's our job to get it out of him, but he did a good job." 

RELATED: Broncos cut 12 players, acquire cornerback Duke Dawson from Patriots

The Broncos' current roster has 52 players. 9NEWS has learned the team will bring back inside linebacker Corey Nelson for that 53rd spot. 

The roster moves the Broncos made to get down to 52:

Waived (32)

  • George Aston, FB
  • Quinn Bailey, OL
  • Trinity Benson, WR
  • Keishawn Bierria, LB
  • Adam Bisnowaty, OL
  • Jake Brendel, OL
  • Fred Brown, WR
  • Jamal Carter, LB/S
  • Rashard Causey, CB
  • Su'a Cravens, S
  • Ryan Crozier, OL (waived/injured)
  • Joe Dineen, LB (waived/injured)
  • Steven Dunbar Jr., WR
  • Ahmad Gooden, OLB
  • Kevin Hogan, QB
  • Alijah Holder, DB
  • Devontae Jackson, RB
  • Trey Johnson, CB
  • Sam Jones, OL
  • Tyler Jones, OT
  • Brendan Langley, WR
  • John Leglue, OL
  • Kelvin  McKnight, WR
  • Khalfani Muhammad, RB
  • Dadi Nicolas, OLB (waived/injured)
  • Brett Rypien, QB
  • Deyon Sizer, DL
  • Linden Stephens, CB
  • Moral Stephens, TE
  • Dymonte Thomas, S (waived injured)
  • David Williams, RB
  • DeShawn Williams, DE

Released (4)

  • Don Barclay, OL 
  • Orson Charles, TE
  • Chaz Green, OT
  • Shamarko Thomas, S

Add (1)

  • Duke Dawson, CB (trade)


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