Broncos head coach Sean Payton met with the media on Tuesday after the team concluded their first mandatory minicamp practice and dropped some disappointing injury news. Last week, we learned that Baron Browning who was expected to start at edge rusher underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and that his availability for the start of the regular season was in danger. Now, a week later, Payton gave us an update on Browning and stated that the explosive pass rusher would start the season on the PUP.
Payton on if he's concerned about Baron Browning's knee injury and if it led to Frank Clark: “Probably to some degree, yes. I’m not going to give updates on injuries, but yes. He is someone who will start the season on PUP. I think that had a little bit to do with it.” #9sports— Mike Klis (@mikeklis) June 13, 2023
If Browning does indeed get placed on the PUP at the start of the season, he will miss at least the Broncos' first four games of the season. That means he will games against the Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Commanders, Miami Dolphins, and Chicago Bears and could come back in week five against the New York Jets.
With Browning out, veteran Frank Clark will take over his role as the starter at edge rusher on defense. Payton indicated to the media that Browning’s injury had a little bit to do with the recent signing of veteran pass rusher Frank Clark.
“That’s a fair question, and probably to some degree, yes. I’m not going to give updates on injuries, but yes. Obviously, he is someone who will start the season on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform). Outside of that, I think that had a little bit to do with it, and that’s part of the deal.”
Payton was also asked about the reasons behind signing Frank Clark and he indicated that he is a pressure player and is someone he did a lot of work on throughout his career. He also mentioned Clark’s postseason play (ranks third all-time in postseason sacks) as a reason behind signing him to the team.
“He is a pressure player and someone that I remember doing a lot of work on when he was coming out in the draft. We followed him, obviously, in Seattle first and then in Kansas City. It’s one of the areas that we paid close attention to. We’ll find a role within what we are doing and where he can help us. I think it’s always a challenge to find those guys who you can say are pressure players, but he is one of them. Certainly, he’s excelled in the postseason, both in Seattle and in Kansas City. That’s the vision.”
With Browning out, the Broncos will need Clark to step up as a pass rusher for them during his absence. He will pair with veteran Randy Gregory as the team’s starting edge rusher with Nik Bonitto, Jonathon Cooper, and others getting reps as well.
Once Browning does come back and is fully recovered from his knee surgery, it will be interesting to see how they use him on defense. However, with the injury concerns the Broncos have at that position, having as much depth as possible at that position is needed. So, the Broncos will likely need Clark and Browning to start and play significant snaps this season, so hopefully, both players have successful seasons for the Broncos this upcoming year.