ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In one week, millions of children across the country will be out trick-or-treating.
In Broncos Country, however, the trick-or-treating came a week early. And instead of either or, the Broncos got both on the injury front on Monday afternoon following their 16-9 loss to the Jets on Sunday.
On the trick front, Nathaniel Hackett announced that the Broncos will be without two starters and a key rotational player for “some time.” Baron Browning, Cam Fleming and Mike Boone will all be sidelined weeks due to injures sustained on Sunday.
Browning suffered a hip injury against the Jets, Fleming hurt his quad and Boone has a high ankle sprain.
Browning’s injury will be felt significantly on Denver’s dominant defense. After stepping in for an injured Randy Gregory in Week 5, the second-year outside linebacker has been a star. Against the Colts and Chargers, Browning racked up 2.5 sacks, four tackles for a loss, seven quarterback hits and an interception.
With Gregory still on the injured reserve, Jonathon Cooper and Nik Bonitto will be looked at to step up at the outside linebacker spot opposite Bradley Chubb.
On the offensive side of the ball, Denver will be without another one of their starting tackles with the loss of Fleming. In the first five weeks of the season, the veteran tackle was the Broncos’ starting right tackle. With Garett Bolles out for the season, Fleming flipped to left tackle with Billy Turner stepping in on the right side. Calvin Anderson filled in for Fleming at left tackle when he left the game on Sunday.
With Boone sideline for weeks, on Monday, the team signed veteran running back Marlon Mack off of the San Francisco 49ers practice squad. Mack has 2,484 career-rushing yards, including one 1,000-yard rushing season in 2019.
As the team boards a plane for London on Monday afternoon, to prepare for their game against the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, Fleming and Boone will not be on it as they will not travel with the team. As of early Monday afternoon, Hackett was still evaluating if other injured players would not travel overseas with the team.
But it wasn’t all tricks on Monday. The Broncos did get a glimpse at a possible treat.
After missing only his fourth-career game on Sunday, Russell Wilson is trending toward playing against the Jaguars in Week 8.
“We’re going to play it by ear,” Hackett said, when asked if Denver’s franchise quarterback is on track to play. “We’re getting on a plane to go to London now. We’ll be able to know a lot more as we move forward on Wednesday. He’s day-to-day. I know his mindset. He’s trending in the right way. We’ll see whether it goes from there.”
Wilson suffered a partially torn hamstring in the Broncos’ Week 6 game against the Chargers. Leading up to the Jets game, Wilson was a limited participant in practice and ultimately Hackett decided to hold Russ out of the game.
Brett Rypien would get his third-career start if Wilson can’t play. Against the Jets, Rypien went 24-of-46 for 225 yards and one interception.
Another week, another batch of injuries for the 2-5 Broncos to deal with. This week, however, there was at least a dash of potential good news on that front.