Are Broncos' Week 12 Roster Maneuverings Preemptive of Drew Lock Timetable?
The Denver Broncos are approaching their 'crap or get off the pot' deadline with regard to quarterback Drew Lock. The rookie QB has spent the entire season on injured reserve, but the Broncos began practicing him last week — the beginning of Week 11.
Per NFL rules, the Broncos get three weeks to practice Lock, an IR player, before being faced with the decision to either A.) activate him to the 53-man roster, or B.) shut him down for the season. That deadline won't come until late next week, after the Broncos complete their preparation for Week 13's homestand vs. the Los Angeles Chargers.
Obviously, if the Broncos activate Lock to the 53-man roster, they'll have to make a corresponding roster cut. There are multiple candidates to be waived and possibly re-signed to the practice squad, but the most likely candidate just received the first promotion of his young NFL career.
On Friday, the Broncos promoted rookie outside linebacker Ahmad Gooden to the active roster and waived fullback/tight end hybrid Orson Charles, whom the team signed off the street just three days prior. Charles' second short-lived stint in Denver was initially motivated by the injury to starting fullback Andy Janovich, who was placed on IR earlier this week.
However, considering that rookie TE Andrew Beck served in the fullback role admirably in the first few games of the season while Janovich recovered from a preseason pectoral injury, the Charles signing was always questionable. Even offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello said on Thursday that Beck is a "fullback at heart".
The waiving of Charles is absolutely tied to the Justin Hollins injury, who was ruled out of Week 12's action in Buffalo due to a hamstring injury. But it's doubtful Hollins' injury will last more than this week, which means Vic Fangio will get his No. 4 outside linebacker back just in time for the Broncos' deadline with Lock, rendering Gooden expendable.
Could it be that Denver's roster maneuverings on Friday were preemptive of the team's timetable on Lock? Are the Broncos paving the way for Lock's return to the active roster late next week?
Check out the video above for my in-depth reflections on the issue.