Broncos Waive Starting CB After 4 Games

Essang Bassey

Getty Former Denver Broncos CB Essang Bassey running a drill in training camp.

After getting their first win of the season, the Denver Broncos continue to make moves to improve their roster.

The Broncos waived cornerback Essang Bassey on October 3.

Undrafted out of Wake Forest, Bassey started the season as Denver’s starting nickel cornerback for the first three games. In Denver’s Week 4 matchup against the Chicago Bears, Bassey lost the starting job to undrafted free agent Ja’Quan McMillian.

Entering training camp, Bassey was on the bubble of making Denver’s 53-man roster, but when veteran nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams went down with an ankle injury, Bassey got the nod to be the starter.

In his career with the Broncos, Bassey has combined for 46 tackles and four pass deflections. Bassey has one career interception that came during his rookie season.

During Denver’s Week 3 matchup against the Miami Dolphins, the Broncos defense gave up 70 points and had a combined 24 missed tackles including five coming from Bassey in the secondary.

Bassey played in just seven snaps for the Broncos in their victory over the Bears.

Denver’s Defense Needs to Improve

In the offseason, head coach Sean Payton hired Vance Joseph to be his defensive coordinator. This meant that Joseph would return to the team that gave him his only head coaching job of his NFL career.

With the hope that Joseph could get the Denver defense back to a top-10 defense, that hasn’t been the case.

Through four games, the Broncos’ pass defense has been awful. Ranking 31st in pass yards allowed per game, Denver has played possibly one elite quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo, Sam Howell, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Fields have combined to average 285 passing yards on the Denver defense.

The Broncos have also given up 13 passing touchdowns during their first four meetings.

Another reason why the Broncos are struggling in the passing game is because they can’t get to the quarterback. Denver has only sacked the quarterback eight times and that ranks as the fifth-least in the NFL.

Joseph’s defense also ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed with 176 per game. Now 350 rushing yards came against the Dolphins and if you take out that horrific loss, the Broncos’ defense would be allowing just 118 yards per game on the ground.

One of the areas that can help the Denver defense is in the turnover category. So far, the Broncos have only forced three turnovers. They are -2 in the turnover differential.

Denver Made More Moves

With Bassey off the 53-man roster, the Broncos currently have an opening spot. That spot will likely go to running back and special teamer Dwayne Washington, per Mike Klis.

Washington has been elevated to the active roster for the past three games. If the Broncos want to add Washington to the gameday roster once again, they’ll have to add him to the 53-man roster moving forward.

The Broncos also added wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith to their practice squad.

Smith is a six-year wide receiver who was drafted in the third-round of the 2018 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. Spending four years under Payton with the Saints, Smith caught 17 touchdowns for the black and gold with 10 of those touchdowns coming in his first two seasons.

Smith, 27, started this season on the Saints’ injured reserve list with a groin injury before he was released with an injury settlement.

The Broncos released slot receiver Michael Bandy from their practice squad to make room for Smith.

Denver will host the New York Jets in Week 5.