The Denver Broncos have been one of the NFL’s most snake-bitten teams when it comes to injuries, and after Thursday’s game, they’ll be without two key starters for the remainder of the season. How can the Broncos address the loss of Garett Bolles and Ronald Darby?

Denver Broncos offensive line takes a hit with Bolles injury

The Broncos offense has had its fair share of struggles this season, but after head coach Nathaniel Hackett announced that Garett Bolles would miss the remainder of the season with a broken leg, it’s hard to imagine how a struggling offense can grow.

Denver has no choice but to keep working at trying to get the offense at a level where they can help take the pressure off of the defense to win games. However, they’ll have to find a way without one of their top offensive linemen.

With the injury to Bolles, the Broncos offense will have to adjust not only at left tackle, but down the offensive line with Billy Turner getting healthier. Calvin Anderson is the leading candidate to start at left tackle for the remainder of the season, and stepped in after Bolles went down on Thursday Night.

On Friday, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett didn’t commit yet to what the plan would be at right tackle.

“[OL] Billy [Turner] definitely could have gone yesterday,” Hackett said on Friday. “We didn’t play him. We’re still trying to give him a little bit more time, but he was available to be able to go and I think he’ll be able to play at a high level. On that left tackle spot, we just found out all the information, so we’re going to sit down as an offensive staff and decide what we think is best for the team.”

Ronald Darby’s injury has big impact on secondary

The loss of Garett Bolles on the offensive line was big, but the injury to Ronald Darby is one that hurts a very good secondary. Through the first five weeks of the NFL season, Darby and Patrick Surtain have been viewed as one of the league’s best cornerback duos.

Going forward, rookie cornerback Damarri Mathis is expected to start opposite of Surtain and has stepped up this season when his number has been called. Shortly after Darby’s injury before halftime, Mathis stepped in for him and did a serviceable job.

Cornerback is a hard position to replace having an impact player like Darby there, but Denver could gain reinforcements this week with Michael Ojemudia potentially coming off of injured-reserve, and veteran cornerback Darius Phillips coming back from a hamstring injury.

Free safety Justin Simmons is also potentially expected to be activated off of injured-reserve at some point this week ahead of next Monday’s primetime matchup against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers.

Second-year safety Caden Sterns could even factor in as a player who could contribute more in the secondary after Darby’s injury, coming off of an impressive performance in Thursday’s loss where he snagged two interceptions from Matt Ryan.

Injuries are absolutely brutal, but the Broncos still have to prepare for the remaining 12 games on the schedule. For Hackett and his staff, he understands how important it is for them to respond despite injuries.

“Injuries are a thing that, as a coach, I can’t control,” Hackett said in his Friday state of the union. “I mean, especially the ones that we’re having. It’s not things that guys are going to be able to come back from. They’re long-term things and that’s a part of this game. As a coach, I can’t control it, I can only move forward. I can only go to the drawing board, grind and try to find ways to put people in good positions. The new guys that are going to have to go in there, we have to find a way to make those guys successful. That’s our job and it crushes me because they’re such good guys and they’ve worked so hard. We’re 2-3 right now and it’s not where we wanted to be, but that’s where we are. I feel bad for those guys because they can’t be a part of us bringing us out of this, but they are going to be there for us.”

In other injury news, inside linebacker Josey Jewell is considered week to week with a knee sprain and outside linebacker Baron Browning is considered day to day with a wrist sprain.