Free-falling Broncos shuffle roster
Vail, CO Colorado
ENGLEWOOD ” The Denver Broncos, losers of five of their last six games, made a midseason roster shuffle Tuesday, signing four free agents and releasing wide receiver Brian Clark, safety Curome Cox and defensive tackle Amon Gordon.
The Broncos signed wide receiver Taylor Jacobs and defensive ends Larry Birdine, Paul Carrington and Josh Mallard. They also placed rookie defensive end Jarvis Moss, their top draft pick, on injured reserve with a broken right leg suffered last week.
Coach Mike Shanahan wasn’t available Tuesday but a day earlier had insisted the Broncos weren’t in rebuilding mode after the team’s second loss by more than 30 points this season.
The Broncos have been dreadful on both sides of the ball and have a bevy of starters on injured reserve, including Rod Smith, Stephen Alexander, Nate Jackson and Ebenezer Ekuban.
“If you ever say that you’re rebuilding, I think you’re trying to give yourself an excuse for not having success right now,” Shanahan said. “That’s my definition of people using the term ‘rebuilding.’
“Do we have some young players? Yeah, we’ve got some young players. But that doesn’t mean that you have to rebuild with young players. There’s a standard here and a standard at most places in the National Football League. Given an opportunity, you want to have success. We’ve got some new people playing different positions, but that surely doesn’t mean that we’re rebuilding.”
Jacobs is a fifth-year player who was waived by San Francisco on Oct. 2. He played in four games for the 49ers this season, catching three passes for 40 yards and one touchdown. He has played in 50 career games and spent his first three seasons with Washington, which drafted him in the second round in 2003 out of Florida. He was traded to the 49ers last season.
The Broncos are hurting at wide receiver, where No. 1 pass-catcher Javon Walker is out after knee surgery last month and Glenn Martinez bruised his ribs Sunday at Detroit.
Denver has had trouble with its defensive line all season, so the reinforcements are here en masse.
Birdine is a rookie who was on Tennessee’s practice squad. Undrafted out of Oklahoma, he signed with Green Bay in May but was waived by the Packers on Sept. 2 before signing with the Titans two days later.
Carrington is a second-year pro who was waived by Atlanta on Sept. 1. He played at Central Florida. He played in 15 games for the Falcons last year and had 33 tackles, including three sacks, and forced a fumble.
Mallard is a third-year pro also waived by Atlanta, on Oct. 13. He played in three games for the Falcons this season after appearing in 14 for them last season. He has played in 30 NFL games and has five career sacks. He was selected by Indianapolis in the seventh round of the 2002 draft out of the University of Georgia and has played for the Colts and Dolphins.
Gordon’s emergence had led to the trade of Gerard Warren and Gordon won the starting defensive tackle job alongside Sam Adams, although new defensive boss Jim Bates has shuffled his front four all season.
After the Broncos’ 44-7 loss at Detroit on Sunday, Shanahan said he wasn’t giving up on this season.
“My mind-set is never to play for next year,” he said. “Never will be.”