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The Broncos are in a good position to get a handful of starters back against the Chiefs

Zac Stevens Avatar
November 29, 2021

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos dominated the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, to the tune of a 28-13 route.

But injuries continued to dominate Denver. As Sunday’s game went on, more and more Broncos continued to go down, on top of the hefty injury list they had going into the game.

Yet despite that, the Broncos will enter December with a winning record.

“We have a better team. We have more depth. Better players,” Vic Fangio said on Monday, explaining why the 2021 Broncos have been able to overcome numerous injuries better than last year’s team. “That’s what makes you withstands things—negative stuff—in this case injuries.”

On Monday, a day after the game, the news along the injury front wasn’t as daunting as it appeared Sunday night. Here’s the latest with the Broncos’ injuries.

Teddy Bridgewater

Despite a 14-0 lead early in the game, all life was sucked out of Empower Field at Mile High when Denver’s starting quarterback left the game and Drew Lock struggled.

Fortunately for the Broncos, Bridgewater toughed out his shin injury and played the entire second half.

There’s no reason to believe this injury will sideline him this coming week against the Chiefs as Bridgewater came out of the game “fine,” according to Fangio.

“I saw Teddy in here about an hour or so ago and he was doing better,” the head coach added on Monday morning.

Bridgewater will start in Arrowhead against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Despite posting a 25.6 passer rating in his 19 plays against the Chargers, Lock will remain the team’s backup quarterback.

Garett Bolles & Bobby Massie

On Sunday, for a second-straight week, the Broncos played without their starting tackles for the entire game.

An ankle injury and then COVID-19 sidelined Bolles for the past three games, while an ankle injury suffered in Dallas has sidelined Massie the previous two and a half games.

“I think both of them have a chance to play this week,” Fangio stated on Monday. “I mean, Garett hasn’t cleared all of the [COVID-19] protocols yet and Bobby made some improvement last week, not enough to play last week, but hopefully. We have some hope for him.”

Bolles tested positive on Monday, Nov. 22 and is not allowed back into the UCHealth Training Center until he has back-to-back negative COVID-19 tests.

Calvin Anderson

If Denver’s offensive line wasn’t hit hard enough with injuries, Bolles’ replacement at left tackle the previous three games, Calvin Anderson, got carted off the field on Sunday with a knee injury.

Anderson is “going to miss some time,” but it’s not yet known whether or not he will be placed on the injured reserve, according to Fangio.

Quinn Bailey stepped in at left tackle after Anderson left the game and held down the left side of the line so well he earned a game ball. With Anderson out, if only Bolles or Massie is able to play, Cam Fleming will get the start at the vacant tackle position. If Bolles and Massie are both not able to play, then Bailey and Fleming will be Denver’s starting tackles.

Dalton Risner

Denver’s starting left guard was only able to play 18 snaps on Sunday before leaving with a back injury.

Fangio believes Risner will be okay moving forward.

“He’s got a back issue that he’s dealing with. We think it’ll get better and I’m optimistic that he’ll be able to play,” Fangio added.

Netane Muti filled in for Risner for the remainder of the game at left guard, getting his first action since Week 4.

Bradley Chubb

For the first time since Week 2, the Broncos had Bradley Chubb back on the field after dealing with bone spurs in his ankle.

The morning after, Chubb’s body was sore “just like after any normal game,” but his ankle was feeling mighty fine.

“Upper body sore from punching guys. Lower body sore from just running around and stuff like that,” Chubb stated on Monday. “But ankle and all that, it feels amazing. I can’t be more ready for the upcoming week.”

Fangio thought the former No. 5-overall pick played well in his first action since Week 2.

“He was rusty, that’s what he told me, but it was great to get out there, knockoff a good bit of that rust and hopefully he’ll make big strides this week,” the head coach added.

Chubb is expecting to make significant strides in preparation for playing Mahomes and the Chiefs.

“Hopefully Sunday can be a full load, and if not, we’re just going to have to work around it,” Chubb said. We’ve got guys playing at high levels.”

Other Notes

  • Kareem Jackson missed his first game of the season on Sunday dealing with a neck and shoulder injury. But Fangio said Jackson “has a good chance” to play against the Chiefs on Sunday.
  • Denver was without two more starters on Sunday as Shelby Harris and Bryce Callahan did not play. Harris injured his ankle during Thursday’s practice. Fangio did not have an update on his status on Monday. Callahan, on the other hand, has been on the injured reserve since injuring his ankle in Week 8. Callahan has now sat out the required three games and can return at any time, however, Fangio was not certain if he would practice on Wednesday.

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