The Broncos season is looking like one giant jigsaw puzzle. There may be a piece (Elvis Dumervil) or two missing, but at least the puzzle pieces are flipped upright and ready to be put together.
Guys who were either injured before training camp started or got hurt at the beginning of camp are steadily returning to practice. Most notably, Ryan Clady, is out there on the field. He’s in an orange “no-contact” jersey, but at least the big man is getting his sea football legs under him again.
Correll Buckhalter and LenDale White have also returned to practice to aid in the running game. Champ Bailey, Chris Kuper, and D.J. Williams have been practicing since Tuesday after time off for injuries. Demaryius Thomas tried to come back, but his foot was not ready to go. He had foot surgery before the draft, but recent MRI scans show no indication of a stress fracture.
As the Broncos injury situation has been the constant headache in terms of getting all of the guys practicing together, the team prepares to play their most intense preseason game of the year. They will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in a game where the starters are expected to play into the third quarter.
“We’d like to go through a halftime where they’re going to go back out there,” Denver coach Josh McDaniels said today of his starters. “I think we want to go through our normal process of halftime, like we would during a (regular season) game, so that’s the plan right now.” (Denver Post)
The third game of the preseason is typically the most important game for most teams in the league. By week four, the starters get the mental reps in, but coaches deliberately hold back as to not risk injury or fatigue. It also gives the organization more of a chance to watch the second and third string players.
Sunday’s game is a good indicator for how things will run during the regular season. Pittsburgh has won their two preseason games against the Lions and the Giants, so this will be a good test for the Broncos. The last time the Steelers came into town, they (and their fans) stole the show on Monday Night Football with a 28-10 romping that left the Broncos with their 2nd straight loss after a 6-0 start.
Time for just a little bit of redemption.
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