ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Broncos have already suffered their fair share of injuries.
Tim Patrick and Jonas Griffith’s seasons are over before they even began after going down in the first week of camp. Then on Tuesday, Brandon Johnson and Mike McGlinchey both left practice early. Fortunately, both avoided serious injuries.
McGlinchey suffered a sprained knee and will miss a few weeks, Sean Payton confirmed after the team’s 13th practice of training camp on Wednesday.
As the team prepares for their first preseason game in Arizona on Friday, there have been reports out of Cardinals’ training camp that their field isn’t in good shape. In fact, PHNX Cardinals’ reporter Howard Balzer stated “the field is not in good condition with it chopped up a lot” after announcing Marlon Mack was shaken up after losing his footing on the field.
That raised questions about if the Broncos should play their starters in their first preseason game, despite Payton already making it clear the team’s starters will play roughly 15 to 18 plays.
When asked if the reportedly poor field conditions will impact who plays on Friday night, the head coach firmly stated, “No.”
So, expect Russell Wilson, Randy Gregory, Courtland Sutton and Pat Surtain to strap up for the first time in the Sean Payton era on Friday night.
However, that doesn’t mean Payton will just ignore the field conditions.
“We’ll go out as best we can ahead of the game and get an idea which shoes [to wear],” Payton said, following the team’s final practice before their first preseason game. “We’ll pay attention to it when we get there and if we have to change what we’re wearing, that’s part of the deal.”
Payton then drew the connection to this year’s Super Bowl, which was also played in Arizona. After the Super Bowl, many players, mainly on the Eagles, complained about how slippery the field was.
“They had trouble with the Super Bowl there. I don’t know if it’s the same field,” Payton added. “I know [the Cardinals] practice there all during training camp, so my experience with that field is it’s always been a fast, firm track. May not always be green because they’re getting so much work on it, but it’s always been a good, firm surface that you can run on.”
When Payton inspects the field, if it is as slippery as reports indicate, the team will likely wear cleats with deeper spikes for better grip.
Regardless, don’t expect Payton to pull the starters on Friday night due to the field conditions.