The Denver Broncos are getting a boost in the health department ahead of joint training camp practices with the Los Angeles Rams. Which players made their return after being sidelined due to injury during camp?

Two veteran Denver Broncos return to practice

Denver Broncos veteran safety Justin Simmons and offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey were just two of several key players who returned to practice after missing some time due to injuries.

Simmons previously missed time due to a groin injury that head coach Sean Payton noted they wanted to be smart with. He participated in individual drills and will gradually work his way back into the team portion here at some point.

McGlinchey’s return was big after he suffered a knee sprain 13 days ago. He participated in Tuesday’s practice and appeared he could be ready for Wednesday’s joint practice with the Rams.

Having both players back are crucial for both sides of the ball as the team prepares for the start of the regular season.

Brandon Johnson, other Broncos return

Tuesday’s practice also saw wide receiver Brandon Johnson (ankle) return to practice after missing 13 days. Joining him in returning was veteran tight end Chris Manhertz (ankle) and running back Tyler Badie (shoulder).

Before suffering the ankle injury, Johnson was in an elevated position inside of the Broncos’ offense after Tim Patrick’s season-ending injury, and his return will help bring some relief to the position.

After the team placed Jalen Virgil on injured reserve, Johnson and second-round rookie Marvin Mims will both play integral roles at wide receiver opposite Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. He appeared to be moving well during practice.

Manhertz return is a good sign for the Broncos’ rushing offense with how valuable of a blocker he is in the run game and how effective he can be combo-blocking edge rushers.

As the Broncos’ RB3 competition heats up, Tyler Badie returned to practice after missing most of last week, including Saturday’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.

With Jaleel McLaughlin’s impressive preseason and training camp display, Badie has some groundwork to do to catch up but will get the opportunity to do so as the team competes against the Rams in practice.

Sean Payton looking at further evaluating bubble players vs. Rams

With the Broncos’ third and final preseason game approaching, Sean Payton and his coaching staff have very little time left to evaluate some players on the roster bubble.

Despite holding joint practices with the Rams, Payton isn’t going to peel the curtain back on things he hopes to do at practice from a schematic standpoint, even though they will be practicing against their opponent.

“There aren’t many secrets in our league,” Payton said. “It’s how you want to play somebody when it comes to the real games. There’s so much video on each team. It’s really about the fundamentals of practice and getting additional film and evaluation on a number of players that maybe are still right on the bubble. I think these two days give us two really good additional looks at guys that might be in that position, and also, for guys that are frontline guys who may not be playing as much in the game at all. They’ll get a lot of work this week in the next two practices. I think that’s important.”

Payton not worried about any potential skirmishes in joint practices

Football is a highly emotional, physically demanding contact sport. Around the NFL, we’ve seen various skirmishes occur during joint training camp practices and even with some teams (New York Jets) brawling with each other.

For Broncos head coach Sean Payton, he doesn’t seem to be worried about any potential skirmishes occurring.

“I think [Rams Head Coach] Sean [McVay] will do a great job with his team,” Payton said. “My experience—it’s been with the Chargers over the years. It’s been with the Patriots. We’ve had a lot of good work take place without any fighting, so I don’t expect that to be an issue at all.”

Last year, the Broncos and Dallas Cowboys had various instances where things got heated, but nothing got too far out of hand. Players like Josey Jewell and Quinn Meinerz touched on the importance of the team worrying about doing their job, embracing physicality, but staying in control following Tuesday’s practice.

“Obviously, we’re not looking to start fights, but we’re looking to have physical practices,” Meinerz said after Tuesday’s practice.

Broncos offensive line took drastic step forward in Week 2 of the preseason

After watching the All-22 on the Broncos second preseason game, the offensive line looked much more improved than what we all saw in their first preseason game.

Payton acknowledged the improvement he saw on film as the team prepares for the Rams on Saturday.

“I thought good,” Payton said of the offensive line. “We did a lot of good things. It’s a good front we played. There were areas from a week ago to this week—and I felt this way after the game. I thought in the kicking game, we were outstanding. I thought the offensive line did a really good job. We had a good balance. We moved the ball. There are some situational things that we’ll clean up, but overall, it was a good impression.”

Could the Denver Broncos keep more than eight offensive lineman on the active roster?

With McGlinchey’s return to practice, veteran offensive tackle Cam Fleming was one player who was solid in his place on Saturday. As roster cuts loom, Payton also touched on what may factor into how many offensive lineman he looks to keep on the active roster.

“We had a meeting last night for a couple of hours” Payton said.  “There are a number of spots on the offensive line—linemen seven, eight and nine, if you are keeping nine. There are a lot of guys who are pushing for those spots in a good way.”

With Garett Bolles, Ben Powers, Lloyd Cushenberry, Quinn Meinerz, and McGlinchey making up the starting five, Fleming and undrafted rookie free agent Alex Palczewski have looked consistently solid on film. If Denver does, in fact, keep nine, those two are key names to consider, with one or two more spots potentially up for grabs.

They also have the luxury of adding some players to the practice squad if they clear waivers following roster cuts this weekend.

The Denver Broncos will host the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday and Thursday for joint practices.