Just when the Denver Broncos get back to as close to full health as they’re going to get in what has been an injury-riddled 2020 campaign, the coronavirus reared its ugly head. The Broncos, like many NFL teams, are fighting two different germs — COVID-19 and the injury bug.
It started this past week with O-line Coach Mike Munchak being placed in COVID-19 protocol, which was followed on Friday by starting right guard Graham Glasgow testing positive. Per the contact-tracing protocol, two additional players were asked to self-isolate due to their proximity to Glasgow.
With several additional tests and the benefit of time, the Broncos got some resolution on the two players who’d been in close enough contact with Glasgow to warrant self-isolation. Interior offensive lineman Austin Schlottmann and starting right tackle Demar Dotson have been cleared to play, which is fortunate and timely, as Schlottmann is the next man up at right guard with Glasgow out.
“Yes, they both are cleared to go, which is a credit to them two and the entire operation here,” head coach Vic Fangio said on Saturday. “They were cleared because we’ve been under these protocols—we’ve chosen voluntarily to be under the intensive protocols, so that helped. These guys have done a good job of wearing their masks and keeping distanced enough to where they weren’t deemed a major risk.”
Here’s how the final injury report shaped up for the Broncos with the Los Angeles Chargers rolling into town for a Week 8 bout.
While Coach Fangio couldn’t confirm that co-starting running back Phillip Lindsay would be cleared from concussion protocol in time to play on Sunday, all signs point to it — based on how rapidly and well he’s progressed this week.
“We’ll find out on Phillip later today,” Fangio said. “He still has to complete one more test within the independent concussion protocol.”
ESPN’s Jeff Legwold reports that Lindsay is expected to play “barring any setback.” The Broncos will have both running backs this week, in all likelihood, as Melvin Gordon draws his first revenge game against the Chargers.
Tim Patrick, who has stepped up in the wake of Courtland Sutton’s absence to lead the Broncos in receiving, is officially listed as questionable for Sunday. Here’s what Fangio said.
“We won’t know on Tim until tomorrow,” Fangio opined. “We may work him out before the game, but he’s definitely questionable.”
That leaves rush linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu and tight end Jake Butt as also questionable. Attaochu has missed the last three games with that nagging quad, which has given rise to the emergence of Malik Reed. Meanwhile, Butt continues to nurse his hamstring.
Returner Diontae Spencer has been ruled out with that shoulder he injured at Gillette Stadium in Week 6, while fullback/tight end Andrew Beck was placed on injured reserve on Saturday. Defensive end Shelby Harris missed Wednesday’s practice with a (non-COVID) illness but has been a full participant since.
L.A. will be without guard Trai Turner but right tackle Bryan Bulaga, edge rusher Melvin Ingram, and backup QB Tyrod Taylor are questionable. I’d be surprised if Bulaga and Ingram don’t play.