The wait is nearly over. After months and months of speculation and concern that the NFL season wouldn’t happen due to the pandemic, the Denver Broncos are going to hit the field for the 2020 season-opener vs. the Tennessee Titans. It’ll be Game 2 of a Monday Night Football double-header.
The Broncos emerged from training camp mostly unscathed but in the team’s week of preparation for the Titans, two starers went down with injury. Star rush linebacker Von Miller suffered an ankle injury on Tuesday that’ll soon land him on injured reserve. He’s expected to miss the entire season.
Two days later, Pro Bowl wide receiver Courtland Sutton suffered a sprained AC joint in his shoulder during individual period at practice. The injury happened as he ran a warm-up route against air. Talk about a ‘freak’ injury.
You could qualify both Miller’s and Sutton’s injuries in the ‘freak’ category. No one saw them coming but the silver lining is that Sutton could still play on Monday night vs. Tennessee, while there’s a sliver of hope Miller could return in December possibly, if literally everything goes right with his rehab and he bounces back with alacrity.
“He’s got to pass the most primitive test there is, » Head Coach Vic Fangio said on Saturday. « This is what I told him and the trainers. He’s got to be able to do 10 jumping jacks. If he can do 10 jumping jacks, he can play.”
There’s also the injury to newcomer linebacker Mark Barron, who’s been nursing a serious hamstring injury the last week or so. Barron was signed two weeks ago off the street, but it turns out, going from being relatively sedentary to the intensity of the practice field came at a cost. Barron has been ruled out of Week 1’s action.
The Broncos are hoping rookie second-rounder KJ Hamler will be able to go on Monday night, though Coach Fangio indicated the team views Hamler on the ‘doubtful’ side of ‘questionable’.
“He’s less questionable, » Fangio said of Hamler. « He probably won’t make it, but there’s an outside chance. »
The good news is, rush linebacker Bradley Chubb has been a full participant in practice on Friday and Saturday. Coach Fangio confirmed Chubb « will go » on Monday night, however, fans should still expect the No. 5 overall pick to be on a snap count of sorts.
The Broncos got back their $11 million right guard in Graham Glasgow, who’s practiced in full the past two days. He’s a full go for Monday.
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Tennessee will also be without one of its top pass rushers with Vic Beasley being ruled out. With the Titans signing Jadeveon Clowney a couple weeks back, combined with Harold Landry, Tennessee still presents a formidable edge-rushing threat.
Cornerback Adoree Jackson, running back Darrynton Evans, linebacker Derick Roberson, and offensive lineman Jamail Douglas have also been ruled out, while former first-round wideout Corey Davis is ‘questionable’ with a hamstring.
The Titans are a lot closer to full strength than the Broncos are, but if Sutton ends up being greenlit to play on Monday night, fans will breath a little bit easier.
There is a sliver of hope that Von Miller’s ankle injury might not cost him the entire 2020 season if one former NFL doctor’s hypothesis proves correct.
Drew Lock had some ups and downs during 2020 training camp but thanks to his ah-ha moment in Pat Shurmur’s scheme, he’s entering the season-opener with a true sense of momentum.
The hits keep on coming to the Broncos’ roster with Pro Bowl wideout Courtland Sutton exiting Thursday’s practice with an apparent shoulder injury.
Drew Lock was finally forced to address the shade Pro Football Focus has thrown at him all year, punctuated by the site’s ranking of him as the worst starting quarterback in the NFL.
Which cornerback takes the field when the Broncos go to nickel and dime sub-packages? We still don’t have an answer to one of the most important questions this season.
Pass-rushing help is needed if the Broncos hope to replace Von Miller. Who’s available on the market or trade block?
The MHH staff predicts Broncos-Titans. Can Drew Lock overcome the loss of Von Miller and maybe even his Pro Bowl receiver?
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