ENGLEWOOD—C.J. Anderson may not be the only Broncos’ starter who won’t play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall may not make it because of a left hamstring he strained in the fourth quarter of the Broncos’ 27-9 win Monday night against Houston.
Marshall is resting the hamstring with plans on testing it Friday or Saturday.
“All my other hamstring tweaks, I’ve never sat out,’’ Marshall said. “This is one’s got me more than the other ones, but we’ll see.”
The Broncos’ injury report was grimmer than usual. Besides Marshall and Anderson, who will miss the Chargers’ game because of a right knee injury, three others starters didn’t practice Wednesday: Center Matt Paradis (hip), cornerback Aqib Talib (lower back) and defensive tackle Sylvester Williams (ankle).
For the first time in 5 ½ weeks, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware practiced Wednesday on a limited basis.
Ware was off to a terrific start this season, getting 1.5 sacks in the Broncos’ season-opening win against Carolina and another half sack against Indianapolis in game 2. But in the second half against Indy, Ware suffered a fractured right forearm near the elbow following a collision with teammate Von Miller as they were both trying to sack quarterback Andrew Luck.
Given his extended layoff, Ware is not expected to play this week against the Chargers but there is hope he can return the following week to play against the Raiders in Oakland.
“If it’s 100-percent healed, it doesn’t feel 100-percent healed, but the thing is that it is the bone,’’ Ware said. “I think the muscles have to get acclimated back around it so it can hold and be stable, and that’s what I’m trying to get to.”
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz knew what A.J. Derby initially refused to admit: His future in football was as a tight end, not quarterback.
The Broncos’ newly acquired tight end following a trade with New England, Derby was born and raised in Iowa City, as was Broncos backup interior lineman James Ferentz, son of the Iowa Hawkeyes coach.
A quarterback who led Iowa City High School to the state championship his senior year, Derby went to the local university to play the same position.
He played some as a backup during his redshirt freshman year but when the coaches tried to convert the 6-foot-5, 255 pounder to tight end, Derby resisted. He transferred to Coffeyville Community College, where as a sophomore in 2012 he threw for 22 touchdowns against 14 interceptions and nearly 2,000 yards.
He then went to Arkansas where he was a backup quarterback again his junior year. Finally, as a senior, he accepted the switch to tight end.
“Got tired of sitting on the bench,’’ Derby said.
He showed promise during his senior year at Arkansas, where he and Hunter Henry, now with San Diego, formed a formidable tight end pass-catching duo.
Derby caught 22 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns before a knee injury sidelined him from the final two games. New England selected him in the sixth round of the 2015 draft.
He has yet to record his first NFL catch, although he did have 15 during the preseason and all signs suggest he won’t wait long before he gets his first reception with the Broncos.
“We think that he has a chance to really help us really quickly,’’ said Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak. “We’ll catch him up as quickly as we can.’’