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Patrick: ‘There’s definitely no replacing KJ’

Head coach Vic Fangio and Tim Patrick discussed how injuries impact the wide receiver room.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

During Monday’s presser, head coach Vic Fangio confirmed that KJ Hamler had torn his ACL and would be out for the rest of the season.

Although Fangio didn’t know the extent of injuries to Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow, he assured that Risner (foot) and Glasgow (knee) don’t have season-ending injuries.

Noting Hamler’s ability to stretch the defense, Fangio admitted what he’s going to miss about having him as a weapon on the field.

“KJ is a hard guy to cover,” he said, “You saw the key third down...we made the conversion with him. They were in man coverage, and the guy was nowhere near him.”

He noted the team would look both internally and around the league for more receivers, confirming that immediately Diontae Spencer had potential to fill Hamler’s void.

“He’s a guy that’s going to have to take on a bigger role,” Fangio said. “It’s a big opportunity for him.”

WR Tim Patrick has a newfound leadership role in the wake of injuries to Jeudy and Hamler. And he showed it on the field already against the Jets.

“Tim is a leader in his own way,” Fangio said. “He doesn’t like to get in front of the team and give a speech or anything like that, but on the field, he’s a leader—always has been—both with what he says when he says it, but more so with his play.”

Patrick admitted that he hasn’t fully processed the fact that Hamler’s going to be out for the rest of 2021.

“It hurts because out of all of us, he was a different one,” Patrick insisted, “He had God-given speed, so it’s definitely tough.”

The WR knows that Denver’s offense has to move on without Hamler for now, but he made it clear that they’re not going to be able to replace him.

“Yeah there’s definitely no replacing KJ,” Patrick said, adding that they’ll have to reform the way they make plays (“more balls for other people, and when the ball comes your way, just make a play”) because Hamler’s moves were so explosive.

On his new leadership role, Patrick reaffirmed what Fangio already stated, that he leads with his plays.

“I kind of try to just let my play do the talking, the way I carry myself and just keeping guys positive,” he explained, adding that everybody out there has the talent to be on the team and get things done, but sometimes they get down on themselves.

“I just try to make sure everybody’s having fun out there, and they’re staying positive no matter what’s going on,” he said.