DENVER — A beleaguered Denver Broncos team already missing linebacker Von Miller (ankle) and wide receiver Courtland Sutton (shoulder) was forced to play without cornerback A.J. Bouye and running back Phillip Lindsay for the second half Monday night of a 16-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Bouye suffered a right shoulder injury in the closing minutes of the first half when he dove to defend a pass intended for Titans wide receiver Corey Davis along the Broncos’ sideline. Lindsay did not return to the game after halftime because of a foot injury.
The injury to Bouye, whom the Broncos traded a fourth-round pick to acquire from the Jaguars earlier this year, put rookies Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey in the lineup at cornerback for much of the second half as the Titans consistently forced the Broncos into the nickel. Bassey made the roster as an undrafted rookie despite an abbreviated training camp and no preseason games due to COVID-19 protocols.
After Monday’s game, Broncos coach Vic Fangio was more specific about Lindsay’s ailment, saying it was a toe injury, but overall on Bouye and Lindsay, he said, « I don’t know the severity of them just yet. »
Lindsay finished his night with seven carries for 24 yards, with 10 of those coming on one carry. Both Bouye and Lindsay will be evaluated more by the team’s medical staff, with the possibility of MRIs for each, on Tuesday.
Bouye had lauded the work of both Bassey and Ojemudia in recent days when asked if they would be ready to play if they were forced into a game.
« The first thing I can say for Essang, he came in from day one and he just took the coaching, » Bouye said. « Then he goes out there — Coach tried different ways to attack him in practice and he shows that he knows the plays, he knows the coaching, he knows where he’s supposed to be. … [Ojemudia] has been phenomenal. He’s been out there — you can tell he knows route concepts. »
Ojemudia moved into Bouye’s left cornerback spot after the injury — he had been playing in the nickel earlier in the game — and Bassey took Ojemudia’s spot in the nickel.
Fangio was asked for his thoughts on how Ojemudia and Bassey fared after getting tossed into the lineup.
« I thought about as good as they could, » Fangio said. « I thought they handled it well. »
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