The Denver Broncos have a short week to prepare for the visiting Dallas Cowboys and injuries are starting to add up on both sides of the ball for Denver.
An already thin Broncos defensive line suffered a scare when Derek Wolfe sat motionless for a few moments on the ground in Monday night’s victory over the Chargers. Zach Kerr and Jared Crick both missed Monday’s opener, so keeping Wolfe on the field is paramount as Denver faces the most dangerous rushing attack in football.
While Denver appears to have avoided catastrophe with Wolfe, they suffered losses on the offensive line and in the secondary during Monday night’s win. Right guard Ronald Leary left the game with a concussion. Safety Darian Stewart missed time with a groin issue. And rookie defensive back Brendan Langley went down with a knee injury.
Additionally, there were several players still recovering from offseason injuries who had to put their health to the test in a nail-biting 24-21 victory that ended on a blocked field goal.
On Tuesday, Head Coach Vance Joseph offered injury updates on his players, as well as answered questions about how those injuries impacted Monday’s game and could factor into Sunday’s contest with Dallas. Here’s what Joseph had to say about the injuries, courtesy of Broncos Media Relations.
On whether there is a seven-day timetable on concussions (re. Leary)
“There is no time limit on it. It is a protocol that we have to follow as far as certain requirements. He (Ron Leary) has to pass before he can play on a Sunday, but there is no time limit. It is just protocol that is in place that we have to pass him through.”
On what he has seen from G/C Connor McGovern throughout the offseason
“I think that Connor has played well at center and guard for us – at center and left and right guard. He’s given us a player that has done a lot for us. He’s obviously a young player still. He played tough and physical last night. He made some errors, but that’s part of it. With young guys, they’re going to make mistakes early. I thought his effort was right. As he plays more football for us, he’s going to get better. I’ve been really pleased with his performance throughout training camp and even last night. It was solid.”
On an update on Darian Stewart
“It’s a right groin. We don’t know a lot about it right now. I should know more later, but speaking last night to our training staff, it wasn’t major. I will know later today and tomorrow for you guys.”
“It’s what I said last Wednesday about those young guys. I kind of knew there was going to be a couple of mistakes there because the game is played so fast. What you see on tape in the NFL – versus the good teams, you won’t see that on Sunday. It’s going to be different. I knew there were going to be some growing pains with Justin and Parks. With that being said, you could see the physical ability with Justin. The first tackle he made in the open field on [Chargers RB Melvin] Gordon is a special tackle. That ball may run for 50 yards. It’s one-on-one with 20 yards each way, and he makes that tackle. That part we know we’ve got with those young guys. The mistakes, I knew it was going to happen because it was his first time being a full-time starter in base and in dime. There are going to be growing pains, but I think at the end of this thing, Week 6, 7, 8, moving forward, he’s going to be good for us.”
On Brendan Langley’s injury
“I’m not sure. We’re still examining him. He walked out of the locker room last night. He was walking this morning. We’ll see more today and tomorrow.”
On RB Jamaal Charles’ snap count
“We’re figuring this thing out. Obviously, [RB] C.J. [Anderson] is going to be the bell cow on first, second and third down. Jamaal, my vision there, is for Jamaal to have 14 or 15 specialty plays that he’s really good at so we can expose defenses. Speaking of the backs, getting [RB] De’Angelo [Henderson] more involved. He didn’t play last night on offense. Moving forward, getting him involved will help us also. We’re figuring it out. To have three good backs and only one football, that’s an issue. When ‘Book’ (RB Devontae Booker) comes back, we’re going to have four. We’re figuring it out. It’s a work in progress.”
On OLB Shaquil Barrett’s performance and usage against Los Angeles
“I was really impressed with Shaq and how he rushed the passer and how he played the run game. He probably played too many snaps for the first time out. He kind of wore down towards the end. We’ve got to play [OLB Kasim] Edebali more to kind of keep Shaq more fresh there. Shaq played well for the first time out there. He hadn’t played in training camp. That was his first football action since last season. I was impressed with Shaq and he should get better and better as we go along.”
On QB Trevor Siemian being on the receiving end of a helmet-to-helmet hit
“It was called, so it should be reviewed by the league. It was a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty.”
On whether there is concern Siemian is taking too many hits
“Absolutely. Again, the pass protection was not where it has to be for us to be a good football team. We were facing two elite edge rushers last night and most people don’t have two. But in our division, every team has two. We’ve got to improve there. There is no excuses there. We’ve got to play better on the edge as far as blocking speed rushers.