Denver Broncos All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris admits there’s some nervousness over the mounting injuries on the defensive line through training camp and the early part of the preseason, but he’s still optimistic about the outlook for their regular season opener against the Chargers on Sept. 11.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Harris told Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro on Monday when asked if there’s some nervousness about injuries to defensive ends Derek Wolfe and Jared Crick.

“You don’t want – especially D-line, we were 29th in [defending] the run last year. So we definitely need all our big men. You never want to see them guys go down, but we just know that in the back end we just gotta keep taking care of ourselves and make sure we don’t get any injuries.”

Wolfe had to be carted from the field with an ankle injury. That nervousness was eased a bit when his injury was revealed to be only a sprain that will keep him out of the preseason. It ratcheted right back up when on Monday fellow defensive end Jared Crick also had to be carted off.

Crick’s injury – back spasms – was also found to be less severe than initially feared, but with other injuries on the defensive line to outside linebackers Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett, the run stoppers and other frontline defenders are far from full strength.
Harris says those losses really don’t impact his play in the defensive backfield.

“It just affects the run, I mean, if I cover and shut [my guy] down, I shut him down. You might have to cover a little longer. Other than the run defense, I don’t think it affects me too much.”

Still, losing Wolfe beyond the preseason would be a big blow. Having played with Wolfe since 2012, Harris fully knows his value.

“He’s our best run defender. He’s the leader upfront – the anchor,” Harris said.

Harris remains optimistic, despite the injuries, as Wolfe is expected back for Week 1 of the regular season.

“I don’t think he’ll be gone too long. He’ll be ready for the [first regular season] game, for Monday night. So, that’s the only thing that matters to me.

Listen to the full interview with Harris, including why he dislikes joint practices, in the podcast below.

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