The Denver Broncos are just days away from their preseason home opener against the Green Bay Packers.

This is an exciting time for the rookies on the roster. They’ve likely already played in the first two preseason games, but this will be the first time they get to go through the routine of a home game and play in front of a home crowd.

At the same time though, Saturday’s game could be one of the last ones that many of these rookies ever get to compete in at the NFL level. The fact of the matter is that cuts are coming, and the opportunity for these rookies to prove themselves is nearly over.

For many of the players on the bubble, special teams is their ticket to the league. There’s no doubt that some of the rookies are starting to feel the pressure, but special teams coordinator Brock Olivo knows that his players can’t play with those thoughts creeping up in their mind. According to Olivo, they’ve handled it with the right attitude up to this point.

“They can’t think about the next week and the cuts,” Olivo said after Thursday’s walkthrough. “They have to take advantage of the here and the now. It’s carpe diem and they know that. Their mindset is the right one from what I see in my room. Those guys are dialed in and they know this is their livelihood, for a lot of them, is special teams. They’re moving in the right direction.”

The cuts don’t just have affect the players, they also affect on the coaching staff. As Olivo explained on Thursday, part of the reason he instructs kicker Brandon McManus to put the ball into play on kickoffs is so that he actually has the chance to evaluate some of the players on the bubble.

“We have that luxury with Brandon we could kick it out every time to help a touchback, but I’m with the belief that you have to evaluate your guys,” Olivo explained. “On special teams we don’t get any live reps during training camp. So the only time that we’re ever going to see them run down and actually cover a real kick is in preseason.”

That is just one way cuts can affect the way the coaches call a game, but there is also a personal side to the game as well. At the end of the day it’s a numbers game, and that means some very deserving players will be without a job come Saturday Sept. 2 when cuts are made. For head coach Vance Joseph, that’s one thing he doesn’t look forward to.

“It’s tough,” Joseph said on Thursday. “It’s a tough league. Everything we do matters, from OTAs to training camp to the games. Obviously it’s tough. There is pressure every day and every week on these guys so I respect that. It’s the best in the world. So you get it. From my perspective, to watch these guys compete every day and don’t get what they want, it’s heartbreaking sometimes.”