Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph shared some notable injury updates today in an interview on 104.3 The Fan:
These young, talented guys are two big mid-season additions for the Broncos.
Shaquil Barrett has been a revelation at outside linebacker this season, starting across from Von Miller and reliably playing well in run defense, pass coverage, and pass rushing. That said, getting a very talented young pass rusher back in Ray means Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods can 1) keep the OLBs fresher by rotating them in and out, and 2) draw up creative blitz packages that utilize all three OLBs.
Ray, who broke a wrist before the season began, is coming off of injured reserve as one of the Broncos’ two possible IR returnees. He’ll be eligible to take the field as early as the Week 8 game in Kansas City.
After watching the D-line dominate, Shane Ray says, “I’m licking my chops” at the possibilities on the table when he returns: pic.twitter.com/njgGDytUkY— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) October 9, 2017
Jake Butt enters a far less established situation, among a group of TEs who’ve each had their flashes this season. But so far no one TE has stepped up and taken control as the go-to guy, unless A.J. Derby’s spectacular one-handed catch against Oakland did the job. It’s more likely, though, that Butt has an opportunity to quickly establish himself as a priority target for Trevor Siemian.
Butt, who was recovering from a torn ACL suffered in his final college game, is coming off of the Non-Football Injury list. He’ll be able to play as soon as the Week 7 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
For both players, actually seeing the field depends on the Broncos choosing to activate them. Ray can be brought back from IR at pretty much any time, but Jake Butt has a 3 week window where he can be added to the 53 man roster or eventually wind up on IR.
There was news on one more young Bronco as well: second year quarterback Paxton Lynch. If Lynch is ready to go soon, combined with Ray and Butt getting healthy, it could present a competition for roster spots that someone, by definition, has to lose. That could be any of those three guys, one of the other Tight Ends, Brock Osweiler, or someone else entirely.
Regardless of how all that plays out, it’s a great time for the Broncos to be getting healthy. Players like Ray and Butt could have a significant impact on the big divisional matchups that could kick off their personal seasons.
Which injured player are you most excited to see return for the Broncos?
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