ENGLEWOOD—The Denver Broncos are expected to place C.J. Anderson on injured reserve and replace him on their 53-man roster by promoting running back Juwan Thompson from their practice squad.
The moves are expected by 2 p.m. Saturday, the deadline for setting a roster prior to the Broncos’ game Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
Anderson will go on the IR as the Broncos’ leading rusher with 437 yards and a surgically repaired meniscus in his right knee. It’s impossible to predict the exact recovery period for a player coming off knee surgery, but a possible return for the playoffs, should the Broncos qualify, hasn’t been ruled out.
Promoting Thompson is a logical decision on several fronts.
One, he might be one of the most overqualified practice-squad players in the NFL after he played two full seasons for the Broncos in 2014-15. Two, he played those two seasons as a backup tailback – he has 320 yards on 72 carries for a 4.4-yard average – and core special teams’ player.
With the Broncos elevating Kapri Bibbs to No. 2 tailback behind new rookie starter Devontae Booker, Thompson can take some of the special teams responsibilities away from Bibbs.
There’s one more reason, as explained by Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak: “Thing about Juwan is he kind of plays two spots. Through his history he’s played some halfback and he’s played well. We’ve been having him work at fullback, so obviously he’s been working really, really hard here. We’re going to have to make a decision.”
The Broncos have dressed four backs through their first seven games: Anderson, Booker, Bibbs and fullback Andy Janovich. For their game Sunday against San Diego, the Broncos’ four games may well be Booker, Bibbs, Janovich and Thompson.