Denver Broncos: Ja’Wuan James expected to play vs. Colts

Ja'Wuan James, Denver Broncos (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Ja'Wuan James, Denver Broncos (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos desperately need offensive line help in the worst way, and Ja’Wuan James is expected to make his debut 2.0 in Indianapolis.

The Denver Broncos desperately need help along the offensive line, and big-money free agent acquisition Ja’Wuan James is about to return from his week one knee injury to provide it.

On a play early in the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders, James’ knee was barreled into by Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who notched a sack on Joe Flacco before the Raiders were called for defensive holding.

James attempted to stay in the game for another play, but got out of his stance and just sort of fell to the ground.

The next thing you know, he’s missed the majority of the Broncos’ first seven games and Denver’s offensive line woes — which have now lasted five or six years at least — have persisted.

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said that James will practice this week (he was listed as a full participant on Wednesday’s report) but cautioned that because he’s been dealing with a knee injury, he’s not yet in game shape and the Broncos could rotate him out in his first action back since week one.

"“Right now with Ja’Wuan’s situation—the one thing about Ja’Wuan you have to remember he was out six weeks and because it was a knee injury, he’s not in the best of shape right now. I don’t know that it’s realistic that he can go out there and play 65, 70 plays. We’ll probably play all three of those tackles at some point.”Vic Fangio (quotes via Broncos PR)"

I went back and watched as many reps from James as I could find from the preseason to his action against the Raiders in week one, and it’s easy to forget how strong of a tackle this guy is.

James was signed to a $51 million contract for a reason. He’s good at his job.

The Broncos obviously need him to come in and stabilize the right side of the line and it would be ideal to see him play the final nine games of the season and keep getting in better shape and stronger as the season progresses.

The injury he suffered was a freak one. So many Broncos fans have been complaining about John Elway signing injury-prone players, and while it’s understandable considering all of the big-money free agents this offseason have been hurt at one point or another, including both James and cornerback Bryce Callahan for long periods of time, I think it’s unfair to chalk this up as an ‘injury-prone’ case.

James’ knee got run into by a reckless player who is known (and literally suspended for the year) for his dirty play. Although I think you have to chalk up that hit as incidental contact, it’s hard not to be frustrated about it because of the player who caused it.

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Although we’re probably not going to get a ‘full’ game out of James this weekend against the Colts, it’s great to see he’s finally healthy enough to play in an NFL game and hopefully give the Broncos some stable play at right tackle, which Elijah Wilkinson has, unfortunately, not been able to do.