Attrition and injuries have been a major factor when analyzing the Denver Broncos’ season through the first six games.
The losses of Bradley Chubb, Josey Jewell, KJ Hamler and Alexander Johnson are just examples of where Denver has been most severely impacted but there is hope on the horizon with the potential return of Jerry Jeudy to practice this week.
Jeudy was injured Week 1 against the New York Giants where he sustained a high ankle sprain on a catch and tackle down the field and has been working since to get back in pads with his teammates.
#Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy was carted off the field after suffering a bad ankle injury.
Warning: This video is graphic. pic.twitter.com/ze9leuaRRU
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) September 12, 2021
Denver took a day off on Monday following its loss to the Las Vegas Raiders but Fangio spoke to the media about preparation for the Broncos’ Thursday night bout against the Cleveland Browns
“When we do some of our walkthroughs, he’s going to stay out and do some stuff full speed, running routes and having a quarterback throw him the ball, etcetera,” Fangio said. “We’ll try and get a barometer on that and we’ll see. I think the chances of him playing are less than 50% right now.”
Per source, WR Jerry Jeudy has been designated to return from IR today. Starts his 21-day window. He’s attacked his ankle sprainrehab, making great progress and increasing his activity. Chance he plays Thursday at Cleveland, but if not he’s tracking well for Washington. #9sports
— Mike Klis (@mikeklis) October 16, 2021
Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick have been putting forth Herculean efforts to keep this offense moving game-by-game. They have been as sure-handed and hardworking as any wide receiver tandem in the league but having Jeudy back would give this team an over the middle threat that they have been sorely missing.
Not only is Denver suffering from injury woes but the Browns are also smarting, missing their dynamic duo of running backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and potentially functioning without starting quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Now Fangio’s assessment of a less than 50 percent chance for Jeudy to play Thursday night feels bleak, but queue the Lloyd Christmas Dumb and Dumber GIFs, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”
Denver’s trajectory has taken a nosedive and fans are beginning to lose hope.
Does a Jerry Jeudy return mean the Broncos will win against the Browns? No, but it gives Teddy Bridgewater one more weapon and one more release valve to find when a play needs to be made. This team’s attack has looked very vanilla on the offensive side of the ball and if that type of game plan is inevitable, then they will need playmakers to make the most of every opportunity they can.
This is truly a must-win game for Vic Fangio and his coaching staff and if there is even a glimmer that Jeudy will be physically able and ready to play, they can’t chance having him sit and being handed a fourth loss in a row.