The good news for Broncos fans is that cornerback Champ Bailey, who has missed the first five games of the season so far, will play his first game in the 2013 season Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars after a great week of practice. In addition to Bailey all but two other players on the Broncos’ injury report (including CB Chris Harris) are listed as probable.
Woodyard is doubtful, Ayers is doubtful, remainder of injury report (including Bailey) is probable.
— Gray Caldwell (@GrayCaldwell) October 11, 2013
The bad news? Wesley Woodyard and Robert Ayers are listed as doubtful. That means they probably won’t be playing this week. If the Broncos had to be without their defensive captain for a game, the Jags game is probably not a bad one for him to miss. Still, a lot can happen between now and Sunday, so we’ll see if Woodyard decides to heal up before the Indianapolis game or if he tries to give it a shot.
Ayers has been a pleasant surprise this season for the Broncos at getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and with him out, the Broncos will have to use a lot more girth on the DL. Aside from Ayers, the Broncos have just Derek Wolfe, Shaun Phillips, and Malik Jackson at the DE positions.
In all likelihood, we’ll see simply a lot more of Shaun Phillips at DE this week than we otherwise would if Ayers were in the lineup, and you might also see LB Adrian Robinson play some DE as well.
With Woodyard out, Paris Lenon is next in line to see snaps at middle linebacker, though Steven Johnson ought to be the one who sees more time on the field. Lenon has been injured a bit this year, and Johnson is one of the best special teams players in the league.
Denver’s defensive depth is being stretched pretty thin, but getting Bailey back is huge. This is the first time this season we’ll be able to see all of Bailey, Chris Harris, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Rahim Moore, and Duke Ihenacho together on the field. With Bailey in the fold, the Broncos’ secondary is almost as imposing as their quartet of receivers, we just haven’t seen it yet.
The key for the Broncos against the Jaguars is going to be getting the game won early and making sure their guys stay healthy. They are going to need all hands on deck for the Colts next week.