The Denver Broncos needed some good news in a big way ahead of Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. On Tuesday, the Broncos received some of that good news with the return of several key players that can help them going forward on offense and defense.

Justin Simmons return a big boost for Denver Broncos defense

On Tuesday, the Broncos announced that they designated safety Justin Simmons, cornerback Michael Ojemudia, and tight end Greg Dulcich to return off of injured reserve. All three players returned to the practice field on Tuesday.

The Broncos have a 21-day window to fully activate Ojemudia, Simmons, and Dulcich, or else they would have to revert back to injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

After Week 1’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett announced that Simmons injured his quad and would be placed on short-term injured reserve, which came as a surprise to everybody because he didn’t play as if he was injured.

Simmons suffered the injury in the first quarter of play and didn’t miss a beat as he finished the remainder of the game. Now, the Broncos’ all-pro safety is in line and ready to return next week on Monday Night Football against their AFC West division rival Los Angeles Chargers.

In his absence, the Broncos’ defense has maintained its high level of play with Caden Sterns stepping into Simmons role defensively. Last week against the Colts, Sterns came away with two interceptions and two passes defensed in the Broncos’ 12-9 overtime loss.

With his return, the Broncos’ defense will continue right where they left off as a secondary, having gone 11 straight quarters without allowing a passing touchdown. On Monday, they’ll face one of their toughest challenges against Justin Herbert, Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, and the Chargers’ offensive weapons. For that reason alone, Simmons return is big.

Will Michael Ojemudia step in for Ronald Darby the rest of the way?

The Broncos defense suffered a massive blow last week after Ronald Darby tore his ACL, ending his season. Rookie cornerback Damarri Mathis has done a good job stepping in twice this season after injuries impacted the starting lineup, but will the return of Michael Ojemudia impact the potential starting lineup?

Ojemudia was designated to return on Tuesday and could compete to start opposite Patrick Surtain with the Broncos’ rookie cornerback.

Denver would have to make several corresponding roster moves in order to bring each of these players off of reserve and onto the 53-man active roster. After Ojemudia’s injury, Denver signed veteran cornerback Darius Phillips to the 53-man roster as insurance and depth. Phillips has yet to play a down for the Broncos and has battled a hamstring injury during his tenure in Dove Valley.

It’s worth noting that the third-year Broncos cornerback was on track to have a prominent role in Ejiro Evero’s defense in certain packages, as demonstrated by his reps in training camp and during the preseason prior to his injury.

Can Greg Dulcich help the Broncos offense get going?

The Denver Broncos offense has had its fair share of ups and downs this season and has had inconsistencies in the passing game. The return of rookie tight end Greg Dulcich is something to monitor regarding how Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett looks to use him.

Eric Saubert has emerged as the Broncos’ top overall tight end, with a prominent role in the blocking and passing game. Albert Okwuegbunam’s usage has dwindled down in the last couple of weeks as many try to figure out why his athleticism and size aren’t being utilized more with Russell Wilson.

Dulcich’s 6’4 size and athleticism are something Denver hopes to utilize going forward. The Broncos rookie tight end could provide a boost to the offense because of his ability to line up anywhere on the field, inside the slot, outside, or even underneath in the backfield. If Hackett and the coaching staff can fit him into the offensive mix, his speed at the college level helped him excel against both man and zone coverages.

All three players have a chance to play this upcoming Monday Night against the Chargers, and if they do, it will be worth monitoring what impact they have coming off of injuries.