By ZACK KELBERMAN
(247SPORTS) – A coach who’ll be fired is “sending a message” to two players who’ll be gone.
The Denver Broncos released their inactives for Sunday’s season finale against the Los Angeles Chargers, a group that includes — for the third straight game — exiled outside linebacker Shane Ray and safety Su’a Cravens.
Offensive lineman Nico Falah, cornerbacks Craig Mager and Horace Richardson, defensive end DeMarcus Walker, and linebacker Aaron Wallace are also inactive. Richardson and Wallace were signed Friday, and head coach Vance Joseph said they would not play.
“It was more about future contracts than it was for Sunday,” he said.
Absent from the future will be Ray, who’s headed for unrestricted free agency next March, his fifth-year option declined and starting job stolen by sensational rookie Bradley Chubb, to whom he’d worked as the direct backup. But he’s now deemed less worthy of playing time than undrafted rookie Holland, just as Cravens was bumped down the totem pole in favor of S Dymonte Thomas.
Ray termed his Week 15 benching as “disrespectful,” knowing full well he’s gone after Sunday’s game hits triple zeroes.
“I’m good. I don’t have no problems,” he said earlier this month. “I come in, go to work. I don’t control what [the coaches] do. I just do what I do.”
Joseph was asked why things haven’t clicked for Ray, a former bookend to Von Miller now relegated to 10 tackles and a sack across 253 defensive snaps — Pro Football Focus’ No. 89 edge defender among 107 qualifiers.
“I’m not sure,” Joseph answered.
Cravens, meanwhile, opted to air his dirty laundry via social media. Last Sunday, he took a direct shot at Joseph over his “the-best-players-play” quote in a since-screencaptured Instagram post.
There’s speculation that Denver deactivated Cravens and Ray due to a combination of subpar performance and less-than-ideal attitude. Cravens made headlines with the Redskins last year by briefly retiring following a bout of concussions, and some hold that he wore out his welcome in the nation’s capital.