The Denver Broncos begin their short week of practice as they prepare to take on their division rival San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Thursday Night Football. Since the game will be on Thursday night the Broncos will only have two practices to prepare for the Chargers.
To change things up, the Broncos went helmetless for today's practice, but Coach John Fox wouldn't really dive into why.
"I don’t like getting into too much about our preparation but we had a good practice today."
The Broncos and Chargers did not practice on Monday, but released a "estimated injury" report. The notable players on the Broncos injury report is cornerback Omar Bolden and linebacker Steven Johnson. Bolden suffered a concussion late in the forth quarter of Sunday Night's game, and Johnson has a "minor knee issue" according to Head Coach Fox. Bolden will have to pass the concussion protocol first before he can play, and it's unlikely he will. For Johnson it's looking like he might miss Thursday's game as well. While neither is expected to play on defense, both play key parts on the special teams unit.
Bolden and Johnson not practicing.. Ball went through stretching, but not practicing. #Broncos— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) October 21, 2014
Injured Broncos running back Montee Ball is still not practicing, but he was on the field working with strength coaches according to ESPN's Jeff Legwold. Ball injured his groin during the teams week five game against the Arizona Cardinals, and has not played since. In his absence running back Ronnie Hillman has sparked the Broncos run game, and it will be interesting to how the carries play out once Ball returns from injury. There's a chance Ball could return for the team's week nine game against the New England Patriots.
Montee Ball in a jersey on practice field for #Broncos, but will not practice, working with strength coaches.— Jeff Legwold (@Jeff_Legwold) October 21, 2014
Speaking of the running game, Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning is pleased with what he's seeing from Hillman and others
Manning also spoke on the challenges of playing on a very short week of rest/practice.
"You’re trying to get familiar with an opponent and I think the fact that it’s a division game, the fact that you’re playing them for the first time, I don’t think gives you that much of an advantage because they have a lot of new players and they have some new players in the secondary. They have some players that were injured last year that didn’t play against us. And like we do on offense, they have some new defensive schemes that they’ve either shown or have possibility held until a particular opponent. You prepare for what you see on film but you also know that you have to be able to adjust during the game because you can’t get to know them as well as you would in a normal week."
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Broncos kicker Brandon McManus missed today's missed practice with a groin issue. However he's in no danger of missing Thursday night's game against the Chargers. Coach Fox said during today's post-practice press conference that McManus should be ready to go.
As for the Chargers, they are a little bit beat up in the secondary. Corner Brandon Flowers missed practice with a concussion, and has to pass the concussion protocol before playing in Thursday's game. Rookie corner Jason Verrett missed this past Sunday's game against the Chiefs with a shoulder issue, but he did put in a limited practice. This doesn't mean he'll play Thursday though. Verrett was listed as "Limited" all three practices last week, and was out for their game against the Chiefs.
A few more notes on the Chargers injury front. Running backs Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown both continued to miss practice. Look for rookie Brandon Oliver to carry the load once again for the Chargers offense. Second year linebacker Manti Te’o and veteran center Rich Ohrnberger both remained out of practice as well.
|Player||Pos.||Injury||Mon. Participation*||Tues. Participation||We. Participation||Game Status|
|McManus, Brandon||K||Right Groin||DNP||DNP|
|Harris, Chris Jr.||CB||Knee||FULL||FULL|
Note: * Estimate – team did not practice Monday
San Diego Chargers:
|Player||Pos.||Injury||Mon. Participation*||Tues. Participation||Wed. Participation||Game Status|
|Freeney, Dwight||LB||Non-Injury Related||- - -||DNP|
Note: * Estimate – team did not practice Monday
BOLD-Indicates change in status
Out - player definitely will not play
Doubtful - at least 75% chance player will not play
Questionable - 50-50 chance player will not play
Probable - virtual certainty player will be available for normal duty