3 Denver Broncos playing their way off the roster this preseason

• Former fan favorite struggling to make plays

• Will kick returning be enough for Tremon Smith?

• How much does Sean Payton trust Marquez Callaway?

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2. Tremon Smith, CB

When the Broncos signed Tremon Smith this offseason, they seemed to have a plan for the former Houston Texans return man.

Smith enters this season with 2,323 yards as a kick returner with one touchdown. He also played quite a bit on the Texans base defense in 2023, finishing with 22 tackles, four pass defenses, three forced fumbles, and two picks.

All those numbers made it rather impressive that he signed for just $5 million over a two-year period, but now with one week left in the preseason, things are trending in the wrong direction for Smith.

Not only is he hardly getting reps as a return man, but he's also struggled in coverage when he's been on the field defensively. He even had a shot at blocking a kick against the San Francisco 49ers, which might have made it easy to overlook some of the other shortcomings, but he simply whiffed.

Perhaps his experience on special teams will wind up saving him. Teams that make deep runs in the playoffs know how important this unit can be and even if Smith isn't the primary returner, he can play on coverage units as well as line up against field goals. Having said that, he does need to show some life in this final game if he hopes to make it.