The Denver Broncos cannot catch a break on the injury front, as they have lost Emmanuel Sanders for the season with an Achilles injury.
The Denver Broncos got some more very unpleasant news on the injury front at practice on Wednesday with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders suffering a torn Achilles in his left foot.
This is not the news the Denver Broncos needed after losing star cornerback Chris Harris Jr., potentially for the rest of the season as well with a fractured fibula.
Sanders was having a phenomenal season with 71 receptions for 868 yards and four touchdowns, and he also had a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown for the Broncos this season.
Vance Joseph was asked earlier this week about getting Sanders more involved and answered by saying that the Broncos essentially have a package of plays and a number of opportunities each week to take shots with Sanders, and there hasn’t been a week this season where anyone else was considered the top playmaker at receiver for the team.
Sanders assumed a major leadership role for the Broncos when Demaryius Thomas was traded earlier in the season.
The Broncos’ passing offense has not been anything to brag about, but Sanders was obviously their most consistent player at wide receiver, at least in terms of running a complete route tree and being a reliable every-down target.
That will now fall on someone else.
Sanders has one year remaining on his contract with the Broncos, and his salary is non-guaranteed. This type of injury requires a very long healing process which could mean that Sanders will miss a portion of 2019 as well.
There’s no way to cut it except to say that this is horrendous news for the suddenly white hot Broncos, losing one of their best offensive playmakers and someone who helped keep defense’s honest in the running game.
The injury does come with some interesting timing, however. Similar to the way Courtland Sutton had more snaps than Demaryius Thomas just before he was traded away, DaeSean Hamilton led all Broncos receivers in snaps played (47) compared to Sanders (40) and Sutton (41).
The Broncos have a lot of faith in Hamilton but he’s yet to get really involved in the passing game.
That should change rather quickly now.
Broncos healthy receivers
Courtland Sutton (rookie)
DaeSean Hamilton (rookie)
Tim Patrick (first year)
River Cracraft (first year)
Chad Hansen (practice squad, second year)
We will explore some of the options the Broncos have aside from players currently on the roster, but those are the healthy players on the team at receiver right now.
Coupled with the team’s ‘healthy’ group of tight ends right now, the passing game’s success is going to be dependent on Case Keenum and a bunch of really young guys.
The Broncos will now be relying heavily on their 2018 stud rookies, and both players are going to have to prove they can do more than they already have.
Sutton is coming off of his biggest game as a pro, and Hamilton has been maddeningly uninvolved.