The Denver Broncos have received their first major injury blow of 2020 after rookie inside linebacker Justin Strnad underwent surgery on his wrist. He is now done for the year, per Mike Klis of 9News.
Bad news. Broncos rookie ILB Justin Strnad having wrist surgery, likely done for year. He had a good chance to become Broncos nickel ILB. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) August 24, 2020
Klis followed up reporting that the team will place Strnad on injured reserve. While he could return at some point this season, it is highly unlikely.
Strnad, the Broncos fifth-round pick this season, was poised to have a Will Parks-like role as the teams coverage linebacker. He was making solid strides in training camp as a coverage linebacker too, so this is going to hurt the defense a bit.
Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell liked the progress Strnad was making too, but his growth will now continue in the meeting rooms as he works to come back from this injury.
“Justin Strnad, he brings a little bit of a different guy,” Donatell said on Sunday. “He’s a little longer, a longer player that can matchup with the length tight ends that he might be in coverage with. He’s just learning. He’s trying to keep up. All these days are critical. He’s responding and advancing.”
This injury will put some strain on the Broncos ILB group as Todd Davis is day-to-day with a calf injury. Josey Jewell figures to continue being in that main reserve role with Alexander Johnson and Davis both being the starters in the base defense. We’ll have to see how the coaching staff adjusts when linebackers are put into coverage situations.