Denver Broncos: Fallout of Jerry Jeudy’s ankle injury

Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy went down with a nasty ankle injury in the team’s week 1 win against the New York Giants.  What does that mean for the offense?

The Denver Broncos kicked the New York Giants’ butts on Sunday, winning a very convincing 27-13 game.  However, Jerry Jeudy left the game in the second half after suffering a serious high ankle sprain.

The initial x-rays were negative, which is great news, but a high ankle sprain typically takes around 6-8 weeks to recover from.

On one hand, Jeudy being carted off and seeing how he reacted to the injury made it seem like his season was over.

As of now, though, it looks like he’ll miss a chunk of the season, but will return during the season, which is excellent news.

Fortunately, the Denver Broncos offense, led by Teddy Bridgewater still managed to move the ball efficiently against a stout Giants defense after Jeudy left with the injury.

With that said, the team needs to see some of their other pass catchers step up during Jeudy’s absence.  Yes, the Broncos wide receiver room is still very good without Jeudy in the lineup.  The trio of Courtland Sutton, KJ Hamler, and Tim Patrick should still worry defenses, but there are two guys in particular that I think need to pull a little more in Jeudy’s absence.

Those players are WR KJ Hamler and TE Albert Okwuegbunam.

So far, KJ Hamler is a hit-or-miss player.  He wowed us with a few very good games and clutch moments last season but wasn’t able to consistently deliver.

On Sunday, Hamler also dropped a long would-be touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater against the Giants.  It was a perfectly placed ball, and there was no reason why he shouldn’t have caught it.

Albert Okwuegbunam is the other player who needs to step up as well.  It’s clear the team values his skillset, and we can see how freakishly athletic he is.  He may be more athletic than Noah Fant, in fact.

The other Denver Broncos’ skill players, namely Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and Noah Fant have proven themselves to an extent.  Sutton made the Pro Bowl in 2019, Tim Patrick is surehanded, and Fant was a top 7 tight end statistically in 2020.

We know what to expect from these players, and even though they’re all still rather young, they’re reliable, and that’s what’s most important.

Since the Denver Broncos won’t have Jeudy in the lineup, defenses will look to neutralize Sutton, Patrick, and Fant.

If defenses can do that, Teddy Bridgewater will need to turn to other receivers to rely on.

The next ones that should step up are both Hamler and Okwuegbunam.

On Sunday, Hamler caught 3 passes for 41 yards, and Okwuegbunam caught 3 passes for 16 yards and a clutch touchdown, after fumbling a would-be touchdown at the goal line earlier in the game.

It was nice to see each player have decent games even with small hiccups.

The Broncos also might bring up someone from the practice squad if Jeudy ends up on injured reserve.  I think the leading candidate for that might be Tyrie Cleveland.  However, I don’t think he would move the needle enough for the offense.

Both KJ Hamler and Albert Okwuegbunam have very desirable traits as pass catchers that any team would love.  They’re both in a crucial second year and looking to prove their worth, and these next 6-8 games present an excellent opportunity for each player to take that leap and help keep the offense moving.