Elway: Broncos sticking with Kelly and Lynch as backups for now

John Elway talks about the difficult decisions he and his staff made on Saturday to get the roster down to 53 players.

On the decision to keep QB Paxton Lynch on the roster

Number one, every decision we make we try to make [one] that is the best position for the Broncos. Sitting right now with where we are at quarterback and who knows our system, where going into the first game with Paxton being our third quarterbackI thought at this point in time, thats the best decision for us. Paxton continued to improve, but he is the third-string quarterback. That decision was made because, looking at the situation and with [QB] Chad [Kelly] not having a lot of experience and not having played in a regular-season game before, we thought that we had to go with three quarterbacks and Paxton was our third.

On if releasing DE Clinton McDonald was one of the tougher decisions

Yeah, he we liked him a lot. Obviously, we had a lot of tough decisions. Its a good thing to have, but we do have to let a lot of good football players go. Clinton was one of those. With where the numbers ended up, we just felt that to go with six defensive linemen was the best decision for us. Were going to suit five, so one wont suit anyways. We thought that six would be enough, and [DE] DeMarcus [Walker] played well enough to win that sixth spot.

On how much the special teams rule changes influenced roster decisions at inside linebacker

A lot. I think that plus the way we played on special teams last year. Obviously, weve got some guys there. [ILB Joseph] Jones can really playhe really does a nice job on special teams. Then with A.J. (ILB Alexander Johnson), we decided to keep A.J. instead of [ILB] Zaire [Anderson]. Anytime you have those decisions like thatwe like the upside of A.J. Is he better than Zaire probably at this point in time? Maybe not, but we didnt feel like we could get him through waivers. Thats the whole thing that you have to play with, is who can you get through waivers and who cant you? Thats a big part of it and we just felt that even though A.J. hadnt played in three-and-a-half years, we really like his ability and felt that we had to protect him and coach it from here.

On waiving OLB Jeff Holland

We thought that we had other football players that were ahead of him on the 53[-man roster].

On if there was consideration to keeping five outside linebackers

Everything was discussed, yes. Everything was discussed. Eventually, we just come down to the decisions that we have to go with and make those decisions that are best for the Broncos. Thats why we make them.

On what Lynch has to do to develop as the No. 3 quarterback

Thats the key thing: weve got to keep coaching him, too. Obviously, once you get in the season theres only so much you can do, but obviously Paxton has got to take it upon himself to continue to try to improve and hes going to get a lot of reps with the scout team. Hes going to go against the first-team defense. Hes got to improve there and thats what he has to do. The focus is going to go obviously to winning football games, but with that being said, Paxton has got to concentrate on getting better, too.

On if Lynchs roster spot is safe through tomorrow

The [waiver] wire just came out. So through tomorrow, yes. Like I said, it was the best situation for us at the time.

On having a high waiver spot

Were fifth, yes, so we do. Like I said, the waiver just came out. Were obviously going to look at everything and go through that now. When we get finished here well go back, look at that and see if theres somebody that we feel like can make us better. With the number of tough decisions that we had with this roster, we actually feel pretty good about where we are, and so were excited about that. But, well see whats on the wire and if theres somebody that we feel will help us, then well put a claim in.

On if there was a lot of discussion about adding a veteran quarterback

Yeah, but the veteran quarterbacks didnt want to come in right now. Weve talked to several and had discussions there, but they all want to waitthe ones we were interested in.

On waiving RB DeAngelo Henderson

It was a tough one, it was back and forthas well as [RB David] Williams. We drafted David. Again, it comes down to numbers and it was the decision that we had to make.

On the decision to waive WR Isaiah McKenzie

Again, it comes down to numbers and where we were as well as keeping nine offensive linemen. We kept 24 guys on offense. Were keeping a couple of extra backers because of the depth at backer and what we felt was the talent level at backer. We decided to go with five. Isaiah has come on and hes played well. We still think that there a possibility that he could come backwho knows?on the practice squad. We just felt with Pacman (CB Adam Jones) here being able to return and [RB] Phillip Lindsay, who has done a tremendous job and has been working on the return game, that we felt we had that covered and that were good with five wideouts.

On how the initial 53-man roster compares to the roster at the end of last season

For us on the personnel side, its a long haul because this is the completion of what we spent this whole offseason trying to put back together. When you finally get back down to your 53, its a culmination of all of the work that has gone in from our pro [scouting] staff as well as all of our scouts. Everybody on the personnel side as well as our coaches who have worked tremendously hard on it also. Its a culmination and its a team effort to come together and try to find the best 53 guys that we can. That is why well get through tonight, get through tomorrow, and once we get the practice squad put together, then well get to Monday and start concentrating on the Seahawks. Im excited about what we have. Im excited about our chances. In the preseason we continued to improve week-in-and-week-out and things started coming together. Thats always the toughest thinggetting everybody coming together. I think we saw that happen in the preseason. I think were in good shape getting started. Now we have to go out and play. That is why it is exciting. Monday will be exciting because we can start talking about the Seahawks. I will say this, too: this is a very difficult day. We had 90 kids that come out and they work their tail off and try to get to the 53-man [roster]. For me to get asked questions why one guy made it over another guyall of those guys are standing out there, but they all worked their tails off. But it is a culmination and we are excited about it. I think instead of making predictions well go take it one at a time and see how we do. I feel pretty good about where we are.

On the rookies making the team and the amount of young players with a chance to contribute

Were excited about the 18 class. Its tough to make a lot of decisions, but the bottom line is weve got to make the best decision for the Broncos. Whether you are a CFA (college free agent)weve had a lot of CFAs that have made this team [in] 14 of the 15 years. Weve had at least one CFA make [it each of those years]. Phillip Lindsay as well as [Alexander] Johnson if you count A.J. this year. Im excited about the 18 class. The 17 class, Im not giving up on that either. Obviously, we had to let a few of them go today.

On the balance of keeping players with potential verses players that can contribute early in the season

That is always a tough one. Because coaches are more now and personnel is a little bit more future. Were now and future. That is where discussions are always deepa lot of discussions on why we are doing certain things. Eventually we get everybody on the same page realizing that for us to continue to get better we are going to have to take some chances on some guys hoping their upsides are much more than the person we didnt keep. That is why we have 53 slots. You have to take some chances on a couple of those slots.

On if 10 rookies making the team affects the draft philosophy going forward

I will tell you this and you know this: I really dont want to pick fifth. Picking high in each round helps. I really hope that were not picking nearly that high again next year. That is number one. Our scouts did a tremendous job. We were able to put together a great class this year so far. Again, they are rookies. They have been through preseason and they are going to find out when we get into next Sunday that this is another big step up. They are going to have their growing pains and we are going to have to rely on a lot of them. Were going to have to be patient, too, and realize that it is going to take a little bit of time.

On whether he is nervous about having 10 rookies on the team

No, because I think it is the best roster that we can put together. I think that is why I dont get nervous about it. I get excited about when we have youth that play very well in the preseason and that contribute a lot. I get excited about that. I dont get nervous about it. Im excited that we have those young guys that are going to contribute.

On whether the team will look around the league for practice squad candidates

Well see. Well go look at the wire right now and well see. Its always difficult to get guys to move from other places and come to [our] practice squad. There are also a lot of guys from our roster that we are very interested in keeping. Well start there. There is not a chance that we wouldnt go outside, but were definitely going to see what is out there.

On if RB Royce Freeman will be the starting running back

The depth chart comes out on Monday. V.J. (Head Coach Vance Joseph) has it coming on Monday, so you guys will all know that on Monday.

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