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Mason's Mailbag: Expecting more from the tight ends

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Phillip Lindsay is a bigger story media-wise because he's a rookie who pulled off the Colorado trifecta -- playing high-school, college and pro football in the Centennial State. The fact that he came from Denver Public Schools, where he starred at South High School, only adds to the story.

That doesn't mean Andy Janovich is insignificant. But when a player makes the first 53-man roster for a third consecutive year, it just isn't as big a story, even though he will be a team captain for the first time, joining Brandon McManus as a special-teams captain. Plenty was written and spoken about Janovich after he delivered two blocks that led directly to touchdowns on Aug. 24 at Washington, and you don't have to listen to our radio show for long to hear me, Steve Atwater or Ryan Edwards call up our most passionate voices to say, "Love Jano."

I think you're looking for league-average production. Last year, Denver's tight-end complement ranked 29th in receptions (50) and 21st in yardage (41.1 yards per game) and finished in a tie for 19th place with four other teams in touchdowns (5). 

Last year, the league averages for tight-end groups by team were 71.8 receptions, 795.0 yards and 6.2 touchdowns. If the Broncos' collective of Jeff Heuerman, Jake Butt and Matt LaCosse can reach that level of production -- with an above-average touchdown tally, because Case Keenum found his tight ends for eight touchdowns last year with the Vikings -- the Broncos should be in good shape.

Not particularly. The NFLPA's official salary-cap report, which is generated daily, still has the Broncos with $11,913,575 of cap space. That still gives them room to add a few players in a pinch in the inevitable event of injuries arising. The decision to waive quarterback Paxton Lynch creates more dead money on the 2018 salary cap, but it also gives the Broncos another roster spot with which to work.

I'm guessing that they will. In our prediction segment on Orange and Blue 760 during Thursday's show, I picked them to make the postseason as a wild-card entrant. Of course, Steve Atwater had the Broncos winning the AFC West and finishing 12-4. But he is a self-admitted optimistic realist; I am more of a pessimistic realist. We cancel each other out.

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