One of the Denver Broncos more underrated weapons at wide receiver is making his return after a brief stint on injured reserve, which could be a welcome addition for quarterback Russell Wilson. How might Brandon Johnson factor back into the mix for Denver’s offense?

Broncos offense welcomes back Brandon Johnson

Brandon Johnson has officially been designated to return off of injured reserve following a stint on it after injuring his hamstring in practice last month. With the Broncos offense generating more momentum during their five-game winning streak, Johnson should pick up right where he left off.

Prior to his injury, Johnson was considered the team’s number three wide receiver behind Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, with he and rookie Marvin Mims playing interchangeable roles. Ideally, this role was what head coach Sean Payton had created for Tim Patrick, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during training camp.

In just seven games this season, Johnson has had an under-the-radar impact. Throughout those seven games, Johnson was targeted by Russell Wilson 13 times, hauling in eight receptions for 122 total yards and three touchdowns.

Five of his eight catches have moved the chains for a first down, according to Pro Football Reference. Despite his sample size being smaller relative to the overall amount of snaps played, Johnson is a player who could help create more opportunities for Sutton, Jeudy, and Mims going forward.

The challenge for many opposing defenses is determining who they should focus their attention on from a coverage standpoint. Smart defensive coordinators would likely shift their focus to Sutton right now as he continues his stellar season.

“It’s good to have him,” Broncos head coach Sean Payton said on Wednesday. “He’s ready. We’ll see where he is at. It seems like it was months ago, but he had a real good training camp. It’s good to have him back. We have some depth here at that position. We have to sort through this week what we’re going to do with it.”

If Johnson can acclimate himself back into the mix inside of Payton’s offense, he could have a similar impact to what his production showcased earlier in the season. Playing the X’s and O’s game, if defenses continue to focus on Sutton, players like Johnson, Mims, and Jeudy could see more opportunities for targets in the passing game, and each has the capability of producing in an impactful way.

However, it will be interesting to see how Denver’s game plan changes on a weekly basis offensively, especially with the recent success the team has found running the football in combination with Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Wilson, and Jaleel McLaughlin.

Their recent success could open up things even further in the passing game off of play-action designs, where Johnson has benefited and contributed from this season.