Denver Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen had a career year last year with 41 receptions for 356 yards and five touchdowns while seeing playing time in more than 75% of the offensive snaps.
To go from that to sitting out all of training camp, preseason, and the team’s first two regular season games was extremely hard for him. Dreessen had arthroscopic surgery on his knee early in the off season and then had a second surprise procedure in August.
“It was one of those things where I was really discouraged, just because I was looking forward to having a second year in the same offense and really working on getting better with the fine details of the offense,” Dreessen said after Friday’s practice. “For me to miss that time was pretty painful.”
Dreessen got back in full pads for the first time on Thursday and described this week’s practice time as his “three-day training camp.” He said that he still wasn’t sure if he would be able to play on Monday against the Raiders, but he’s getting closer.
Julius Thomas has been doing an excellent job filling in for Dreessen. Thomas has 11 catches for 157 yards and three touchdowns thus far.
It will be interesting to see how the Broncos use Thomas and Dreessen once Dreessen is healthy. It can be assumed that Thomas will still start and Dreessen will be more of a blocking tight end.
Regardless of how it plays out, it will be nice to have the 8-year pro back.