Broncos finish preseason with victory over Cardinals |

Broncos finish preseason with victory over Cardinals

Denver Post
Malik Reed (59) of the Denver Broncos celebrates a sack on Drew Anderson (3) of the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter of the game on on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. (Eric Lutzens/The Denver Post)

The backup quarterback role gained some clarity, a mostly unknown wide receiver broke into the spotlight and reserve defenders flexed their strength in a first-half shutout.

But the greatest cause for excitement on Thursday night at Broncos Stadium? Following six weeks of practice and five exhibition games the preseason is mercifully over after a 20-7 Broncos victory against the Cardinals. Now ahead for Denver is Saturday’s 2 p.m. deadline to make 53-man roster cuts and Sunday’s waiver claiming period and practice squad formation.

The Broncos entered their preseason finale publicly undecided on who will back up starting quarterback Joe Flacco in Week 1 — Kevin Hogan or Brett Rypien — while second-round rookie Drew Lock recovers from a right thumb sprain.

“I think (Hogan and Rypien) played OK,” coach Vic Fangio said. “It’s been a lot like how they’ve played most of the preseason; I see some good plays, plays you think you can win with and then some plays that are not so good. Not that anybody plays a perfect game, but we have to eliminate some (plays) that aren’t good for us and be more consistent.”

Hogan earned the start against Arizona and his opening drive sparkled with consecutive completions to wide receiver Fred Brown for 15 and 25 yards. Another dart to wide receiver Juwann Winfree put Denver in scoring range. But Hogan overthrew running back Khalfani Muhammad streaking open toward the end zone on a third-down play and the Broncos settled for a 50-yard Brandon McManus field goal to take the lead.

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