Denver Broncos: Baron Browning’s recovery not going as planned

Denver Broncos roster 2021 - Baron Browning. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos roster 2021 - Baron Browning. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos rookie linebacker Baron Browning suffered a lower leg injury during minicamp and has been held out of activities. Last week, general manager George Paton said that he hoped Browning would be ready to go sooner than later.

That has since changed.

On July 24, the Broncos placed Browning, along with Essang Bassey and Duke Dawson Jr. on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Fast forward to Saturday, and head coach Vic Fangio has labeled Browning as being “stuck” in his recovery from the leg injury.

Browning was on the field for Monday’s practice but is not full-go.

It’s always unfortunate to have this sort of thing be a problem. It’s especially unfortunate that Browning is a rookie and could use all of the work he can get in. While I am sure that they will be able to find a place for him in the defense with different looks and situations, Browning has another obstacle to overcome.

That obstacle would be trying to outperform last year’s fifth-round pick Justin Strnad.

Strnad was drafted to help in pass coverage against running backs and tight ends. Browning was drafted to do the same. The Denver Broncos and many media outlets have labeled both Strnad and Browning as steals.

Strnad missed his rookie season because of a wrist injury that landed him on injured reserve.

As of right now, Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell are the team’s starters at inside linebacker. Both starters are under contract through the 2021 season but then will become unrestricted free agents in 2022. It may end up being that Browning locks up a starting spot soon, but right now, he has to overcome the injury bug.

At the end of the day, the Broncos prepared for the potential loss of Jewell or Johnson (or both). They got depth pieces in Browning and Strnad.

Hopefully Browning starts to improve health-wise so he can improve as a player.