The Denver Broncos are 2-0 and at this moment, that is all that really matters to most fans.
However, it is a long season and there are many great teams in the league. The team that combines the best talent with the healthiest roster is usually the team that gets to the end. In the NFL, one injury can derail a team’s Super Bowl hopes.
The Broncos have won both of their games but in each of those victories, the team has suffered some serious injuries:
Jerry Jeudy: High ankle sprain, likely out 4-6 weeks
Josey Jewell: Torn pectoral muscle, out for the season
Ronald Darby: Hamstring, out at least two more games
Bradley Chubb: Ankle, timetable for return unknown
Those are players the team has lost in the first two games of the season. That doesn’t include players like Mike Boone and Essang Bassey, who the team is waiting to see for the first time this year.
The two players who were lost on Sunday against Jacksonville, Chubb and Jewell, both call into question the decisions made by the coaching staff.
In the case of Chubb, who was inactive in Week 1, he clearly wasn’t ready to be out on the field with his ankle at less than 100 percent. He likely made the ultimate decision to play himself, but he lasted all of 19 snaps on the field.
Jewell, a starting linebacker, was hurt on a special teams play. Why is Jewell out there covering punts? He will now miss the remainder of the season and the team will have to turn to the young combination of Justin Strnad and Baron Browning to spell him.
Head coach Vic Fangio was more than prepared to defend the fact that Jewell was out there playing special teams.
Patrick Surtain stepped up in a big way in place of Darby and his rise during his rookie season should continue. The wide receivers have also played well and hopefully that will continue until the team is able to get Jeudy back out there.
How concerning are these injuries?
Injuries occur at an alarming rate in today’s NFL. Teams need to have a wealth of talent of their roster and practice squad to make it through what is now a 17-game regular season. The fact that the team has already seen four significant injuries in just two games is alarming.
Luckily, Jeudy, Darby and Chubb should be back on the field at some point this season. The loss of Jewell is a big one though.
He was playing his best football, allowing both Strnad and Browning to be eased into the lineup. Now, each of those players will need to play significant snaps unless the team wants to check out the options on the free-agent market.
None of these injuries are crippling to the Broncos’ chances to find success this season, but they can’t have two players going down each game because eventually, it will catch up to them.
Unfortunately, that can’t be totally prevented but in the cases of Chubb and Jewell, it seems better coaching decisions could have done just that in Week 2.