Broncos promote Austin Traylor, release A.J. Derby

DENVER -- Change defines losing teams. Looking to snap out of their five-game funk, the Broncos continued making roster moves Saturday. They promoted tight end Austin Traylor from the practice squad and waived A.J. Derby.

Traylor, as expected, joined the team given injuries at the position. It's probably not a coincidence that the Broncos added a physical blocking tight end hours after general manager John Elway attributed the current slump to "getting a little soft." Traylor goes 6-foot-3, 255 pounds and could add muscle in the ground game. Any chance of the Broncos achieving success centers on a strong running attack, not throwing 35 times. 

The Broncos have proven without a doubt that they don't possess the personnel to run three-wide sets. It has been one of the most confusing elements of the season -- coordinator Mike McCoy, known for his adaptability, has leaned on three-wide sets that lead to quarterback sacks and interceptions. The Broncos rank 27th in yards per attempt, 23rd in yards per completion and second in interceptions (13).

The Broncos acquired Derby (pictured) from New England for a fifth-round pick in 2017. He showed flashes last season, but had a critical drop in a loss at Tennessee. He caught 19 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns this year, including a one-handed scoring catch against Oakland. However, he was used as a flex tight end for a team that seems determined to become more physical. Derby was waived with an injury designation as he was ruled out this week with a shoulder injury. Jeff Heuerman, who has never fulfilled potential because of injuries, is also out this week with a knee issue, creating an opportunity for Traylor, who has been on the Broncos practice squad since Dec. 20, 2016. 


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