After being taken off the field on a stretcher in an ambulance vs. the Seattle Seahawks in week two of the pre-season, Derek Wolfe has not only miraculously returned to practice but he is going to start against the Ravens in Thursday night’s season opener. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio gave a big injury update on Wolfe at Monday’s practice:
From my standpoint, he’s been cleared by the doctors and training staff,” Del Rio said. “So from my standpoint, Wolfe’s on the field practicing and getting ready to go Thursday night. He’s full-go.”
In Wolfe’s words, the only thing standing in his way at this point is going to be “some offensive linemen.”
You’ve got to love Derek Wolfe, who looks considerably trimmed down and in great shape this offseason. Wolfe was drafted out of Cincinnati as the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, and was 2nd in the NFL last year among rookies in sacks with six. He is going to be counted on to do a lot more this year with Elvis Dumervil moved on to the Baltimore Ravens and Von Miller suspended for six games.
In fact, it’s probably not out of the question to consider Wolfe the key Bronco on the defensive line or front seven for that matter in terms of getting pressure on the quarterback. He says the whole team is going to have to make up for the loss of the star pass rusher.
“It’s going to be all of our job, actually. We’re all going to have to pick up that slack because you’re losing a great player,” he said. “A lot of times you’re like, ‘OK Von (Miller) will get there.’ Now he’s not going to be out there so we’re all going to have to get there.”
This is a great bit of news for Broncos fans, who have to be feeling a bit uneasy about the team’s pass rush situation at this particular point in time. Later in the season it shouldn’t be anything to worry about with Miller’s return in week seven, but this game against the Ravens is pretty huge.
The Broncos are trying to approach this game as any other, but the fans are hungry for revenge. The bitter taste of last year’s playoff loss still lingers for players and coaches. The Broncos certainly are going to be hungry to win this game, but so are the Ravens.
Having Derek Wolfe at full strength is going to be huge for the Broncos, who need as many pass rushers as they can get.