The Denver Broncos lost both of their starting safeties in T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart in Sunday’s win over the Patriots. Will they both be back for the Super Bowl in two weeks?
It’s going to take time and rehab, but the Broncos’ starting safety duo of Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward expect to be ready to play when the Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara.
Ward suffered an ankle injury and Stewart went out with a knee, both players missing the remainder of the game after they initially went out, leaving the Broncos with just Shiloh Keo and Josh Bush on the back end. Other secondary players can rotate in and play safety if needed, but the way Stewart and Ward play together is something else to watch.
I’m not going to make a straight up comparison or say one duo is better than the other, but the way Ward and Stewart work together is not unlike the way Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor operate in Seattle. The Broncos have such versatility in the secondary with both Stewart and Ward, who have been one of the top safety duos in the league all year.
When they went down, the Broncos’ coverage predictably struggled on the back end and Tom Brady started attacking some wheel routes to running backs that were just short of being completed. On the last drive of the game for the Patriots, Brady beat the Broncos on a fourth down pass to Rob Gronkowski that pushed the Patriots into scoring range, not necessarily because of a breakdown in coverage but it wasn’t as good as it could have been.
Needless to say, the Broncos need both Ward and Stewart back, and they both vowed their return.
“I’ll be ready,” Ward said. “I guarantee that.”
Stewart was almost just as adamant.
“I wouldn’t miss that for the world.”
Both players will need to get some rehab in over the next couple of weeks, but they are confident they’ll be ready. They can be game-changers for the Broncos against Cam Newton and the Panthers.