GLENDALE, Ariz. -- "This is it. You show up or you're gone."
That was the mentality of safety
Head Coach John Fox rested his starters Thursday in preparation for the team's first regular season game, typical for the final exhibition.
"You never feel comfortable having to fire 27 people, but I think we got a good evaluation, and hopefully we choose wisely," Fox said.
One of the players who stood out Thursday was first-year receiver
The first play gave the Broncos their first points of the game. As Denver started a drive on its own 6-yard line with 4:33 left in the game down 26-0, Riley noticed that the Cardinals were playing him in man-to-man converge. As the drive quickly progressed, he and Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert decided to exploit it. One play after Tebow found Riley for a crucial 12-yard gain on third down to move the chains, Tebow dropped back from Arizona's 43-yard line and lofted a deep ball to Riley. Riley, who had blown by his man, caught it in stride as he ran into the end zone for the touchdown.
"I felt like me personally, nobody's going to stop me one-on-one," Riley said. "So when they called the play, Tim was like, 'Go run, go get the ball, I'll get it there for you.' I was like, 'Cool, you get it there, I'll make the play.' He threw it and I made the play."
The next drive, Riley turned a short pass into the Broncos' longest gain of the preseason. Rookie quarterback
"I was able to make a play with it, roll out, kind of show off a little speed, but unfortunately I ran out of juice around the 10-yard line," Riley said.
Nevertheless, the receiver hopes that he showed the coaching staff enough to keep him around for the season. But he said that even if he doesn't make the cut, he gave everything he had.
"If I don't have any regrets about what I'm doing -- I feel comfortable," Riley said. "All camp, I feel comfortable I've been putting forth 100 percent effort and making plays when called upon. I left it all on the field, so whatever the guys upstairs decide they want to do tomorrow, I won't feel bad about it."
On the defensive side of the ball, safeties
Carter said that he and his teammates came out with the mentality to play every play as if it was their last play for the Broncos.
"In the back end, myself and (whichever) safety (was) next to me, every play we gave it all we had and approached it like it was our last play," Carter said. "I think I carried it pretty well, just executing the calls and when the ball was in front of me, just taking advantage of the opportunity and making a play."
"Effort's never the thing with the young guys, they always put forth the effort," Bailey said. "Guys like Darcel McBath, he had a good game tonight. There's a few others I can name. I'm sure (the coaches) are going to watch this tape and try to figure out how we're going to pick 53 (players), because it's going to be hard."