As Russell Wilson continues to work through the NFL’s concussion protocol, the Denver Broncos could be getting a boost at the pass rusher position despite there being four games left on the schedule. Should the Broncos play Randy Gregory with the season essentially over?

Denver Broncos activate Randy Gregory’s window to return

With four games remaining on the season, essentially 24 days, the Broncos are activating pass rusher Randy Gregory’s 21-day window to return off of injured reserve. Gregory has missed a majority of this season following the knee injury he suffered in Denver’s Week 4 loss on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Since then, the Broncos have relied on Baron Browning and Jonathon Cooper as their starting edge rushers after Gregory’s injury and the team trading away former first-round pick Bradley Chubb. At this point, it’s important to ask whether or not the Broncos should play Gregory if he does return considering there is nothing to gain from a win/loss standpoint.

Prior to his injury, Gregory had two sacks in four games for the Broncos including eight pressures and five quarterback knockdowns that led to other players cleaning up sacks on quarterbacks and generating interceptions. On film, he was noticeably dominant before suffering a torn meniscus that had to be arthroscopically repaired.

There is a chance Gregory returns to play this season for the Broncos, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if George Paton and the team protect their investment and shut him down for the remainder of the season.

Russell Wilson working through NFL concussion protocol

The Broncos were back on the practice field on Wednesday at the UCHealth Training Center in preparation for Sunday’s showdown with the Arizona Cardinals. The biggest storyline for the week surrounds whether or not quarterback Russell Wilson will play as he continues to go through the NFL’s concussion protocol after leaving Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter.

Wilson did not participate in Wednesday’s practice alongside wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Kendall Hinton who are each battling a hamstring injury. Dre’Mont Jones did not participate in Wednesday’s practice with what is being listed as a hip ailment. Players who practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday included Andrew Beck, Dakota Allen, Brandon McManus, Dalton Risner, and Kareem Jackson.

It’s worth noting that aside from Gregory’s return on the field on Wednesday, Broncos offensive tackle Billy Turner was spotted with his helmet and jersey, indicating this his window to return has also been activated.

As it pertains to Wilson’s status, the Broncos are taking it day by day according to head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

“We’re just following the protocol exactly how we need to,” Hackett said on Wednesday. “Making sure that we increase his [Russell Wilson] physical activity appropriately as the NFL has listed it out.” Hackett’s response came after he was asked about Wilson increasing his physical activity to progress through the protocol’s various stages.

Wilson was present during the Broncos team stretch and was participating in some light on-field football work with his helmet on, indicating that he’s progressed to at least Phase 3 of the league’s protocol. Thursday’s practice will be a revealing indicator of how far the Broncos’ star quarterback has progressed.

If Wilson is unable to go on Sunday against Colt McCoy and the Arizona Cardinals, Brett Rypien will get the start under center. Rypien came in on Sunday after Wilson’s departure and threw a touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy who exploded for three touchdowns on the evening against the Kansas City Chiefs, and an interception that came late as the ball popped up into the air as he was hit.

The Denver Broncos will host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High with kickoff slated for 2:05 p.m. MT.