Denver Broncos TEs A.J. Derby, Jeff Heuerman out with injuries

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 12: A.J. Derby /

The Denver Broncos will not have tight ends A.J. Derby or Jeff Heuerman available in their game against the Cincinnati Bengals…

The Denver Broncos are hurting at the tight end position heading into their game this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals, as they will be without both A.J. Derby and Jeff Heuerman due to injury.

Derby has been the Broncos’ top pass catching threat at the tight end position, while Heuerman has been their best run blocker at the position. As a matter of fact, Heuerman has been the second best graded run blocker on the team behind rookie Garett Bolles.

That leaves veteran Virgil Green as the only healthy tight end on the active roster, which will likely prompt some moves by the team ahead of Sunday’s game.

The Broncos will almost certainly promote tight end Austin Traylor from the practice squad, where he’s been the entire season. Traylor was added this offseason to the roster and there were whispers he had really caught the attention of the coaching staff throughout training camp.

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He was a practice squad pickup by the Broncos last December, and has been working his way up to an opportunity to get on the 53-man roster. Now, it looks like that opportunity will come quickly.

Traylor’s opportunity could come along with another roster move for the Broncos, who would have to be pretty confident to go into the game using just two tight ends.

The loss of Derby may be the most significant of the two listed here, as he had 19 catches so far this season, and is tied for the team lead with two touchdowns.

Heuerman caught a touchdown pass this season, but has definitely been utilized more as a blocker. According to Pro Football Focus, Derby and Heuerman rank second and third respectively on the Broncos in terms of snaps by tight ends.