ENGLEWOOD—Von Miller will make his 2017 preseason debut Saturday against the Green Bay Packers.
Better have those refreshments bought and in your seats by kickoff because Miller’s first preseason appearance as the Denver Broncos’ star pass rusher may also be little more than a cameo.
“Von is obviously one of our better players, so we want to protect Von,’’ said Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. “But, we’ve got 10 to 12 players who need protection from injury in the preseason.”
T.J. observes only
Veteran strong safety T.J. Ward must get ready for the season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers without benefit of any preseason tune-up.
Ward must have yanked his hamstring but good because he missed the first two preseason games and since he’s only practiced briefly this week he won’t play Saturday against Green Bay. Starters don’t play in the fourth and final preseason game.
With Ward out, the Broncos have been using the safety tandem of Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons, who are both free safeties.
Pads, pads and pads
Joseph served on Gary Kubiak’s coaching staff in Houston from 2011-13 but he doesn’t follow his mentor’s practice habits.
Kubiak during the previous two seasons as the Broncos head coach was about minimal full-padded practices. He also rested his veteran players every three days with the goal of keeping his players fresh through the grind of a season.
Joseph has only given each veteran one day off since training camp opened four weeks ago, and he has maximized the number of fully padded practices. His intention is to make the Broncos more physical up front and mentally tough throughout.
There is something to be said about both methods.
“You have to put on pads to play football,’’ Joseph said. “Running the football and stop-and-run, that’s done in pads. To build our mindset, it takes pads to do that.’’
The Broncos’ two glaring weaknesses last year were running the ball and stopping the run so perhaps Joseph’s physical approach to practice is one reason why he got the job.
Since the latest collective bargaining agreement was reached in 2011, teams can only wear full pads 14 times during the 17-week regular season -- 11 times through the first 11 weeks, and then just three more times in the final six weeks.
Joseph said he would use up all 14 full-pad sessions with such practices occurring on Thursday for a Sunday game.
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