Broncos Update Insider - 10/28

Finally, the Broncos felt the need to make a roster move, and it cost punter Brett Kern his job. Kern was one of the few weak links for the team during its 6-0 start, with some inconsistent moments, so the Broncos let him go and signed Mitch Berger.

Kern was in danger after the season opener, when he struggled and the team tried out punters. What finished his Broncos career was when San Diego's Darren Sproles returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown. Kern's net average of 34.5 yards ranked 28th among NFL punters with at least 10 attempts.

Berger gives the Broncos a bit more stability at the position. Berger punted for Pittsburgh last season, and he will be in his 16th season. He is a two-time Pro Bowl player and has played in 177 career games, so the Broncos shouldn't have to worry much about him.

Denver will have to look at the future of the punter position. Kern was in his second year and had some potential. Berger is 37 years old, and the Broncos could decide to invest a draft pick or free agent money into a punter.

Surprisingly, that was the first roster move of the season for the Broncos. Their last transaction on the active roster or the practice squad was releasing Chad Jackson when Brandon Marshall was reinstated from his suspension. That was five days before the beginning of the season.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Broncos have outscored their opponents 76-10 after halftime this season, but coach Josh McDaniels said focus on the staff's halftime adjustments may be overblown. He said sometimes it's simply that the team has played better in the second half.

"We don't sprinkle magic dust on them when we come in after the second quarter is over and all of a sudden we go out and play great," McDaniels said. "A lot of times it's just playing things better."

--The Broncos welcomed back linebacker/fullback Spencer Larsen to practice, six weeks after he hurt his shoulder less than 90 minutes before the season opener. Larsen slipped and fell in the locker room, missed that game and five more after it.

"A lot of coaches told me it was one of the weirdest things they've seen," Larsen said.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--LB Spencer Larsen said he would wait to see if he'd be able to play this week after missing six games with a shoulder injury. He will immediately help the Broncos special teams and perhaps their short-yardage running game as a lead blocker when he can return.

--DE Le Kevin Smith did not practice Monday due to undisclosed reasons. Smith has become an important member of the defensive line rotation, but Vonnie Holliday's solid contributions gives the Broncos sufficient depth.

--S Brian Dawkins missed practice Monday. Dawkins hurt his hamstring against San Diego in the game before Denver's bye, but he returned to play the second half.

--P Mitch Berger could take over as Denver's holder on field goals. Brett Kern handled that duty for the Broncos before he was released.

--LB D.J. Williams has averaged 8.5 tackles per game since the 2007 season. That is the fourth-best mark in the NFL. He has adjusted well to playing inside in Denver's 3-4 defense.



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