ENGLEWOOD Tenth-year cornerback Drayton Florence was cut Friday when the Denver Broncos kept three quarterbacks on their roster.
Caleb Hanie was sacked nine times in the preseason, but he played better than 21-year-old rookie Brock Osweiler, who was drafted in the second round as the Broncos QB of the future.
Hanie will back up four-time MVP Peyton Manning.
He made it. Surprise, Broncos boss John Elway said wise.
If things go the way Manning and Elway hope, neither Hanie nor Osweiler will see the field in 2012.
Elway said Mannings progress from a series of neck surgeries that weakened his throwing arm and led to him switching teams in the offseason is on track.
Hes probably right where I thought hed be, Elway said. I really didnt have a lot of doubts once we heard the reports when we were back at Duke in March, and the expectations of what we heard from the doctors and where he would be at this point in time if anything, hes exceeded that.
So, is it surprising to me? No. And so were excited to finally get through the camp and through all that hype that weve been through since Peytons been here, and its time now to start playing football, which is the fun part.
Florence signed a two-year deal with Denver in May after his release from Buffalo, but the Broncos kept just five cornerbacks when they trimmed their roster to 53. Tony Carter won the nickel back job, and fourth-round draft pick Omar Bolden will be the dime back.
Asked why he kept Carter over Florence, Elway said, He played better. ... We just felt that Tony was a better football player.
The Broncos also kept veteran linebacker Keith Brooking, who missed the entire preseason after pulling a hamstring during his second practice.
I think were going off reputation and the leadership that he can bring, said Elway, who also kept safety/punt returner Jim Leonhard, who had offseason knee surgery and made a spectacular Denver debut Thursday night at Arizona.
Other notable cuts included free safety Rafael Bush, tackle Ryan Harris, running back Jeremiah Johnson, middle linebacker Mike Mohamed, cornerback SydQuan Thompson and quarterback Adam Weber.
Johnson was beaten out by former first-round pick Knowshon Moreno, who was one of the bigger surprises in camp after recovering from knee surgery that cut short his 2011 season.
That was a tough decision, but Knowshon will probably make us a better football team, Elway said.
Overall, Elway said the cuts were tougher this year, which is a good thing. That means youre getting better as a football team.
The Broncos also placed defensive end Jeremy Beal on season-ending injured reserve with a torn ligament in his left knee.
Weakside linebacker D.J. Williams (at least six games) and backup tight end Virgil Green (four games) were placed on the reserve/suspended list after failed drug tests. Williams punishment could be extended after his recent conviction for driving while ability impaired.
Hanie came on strong halfway through camp but was up-and-down in the preseason games, where he completed 22 of 39 passes for 246 yards. He had one touchdown toss and one interception but was sacked nine times an astonishing once per every 4.3 dropbacks, including five times Thursday night.