ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In a span of two months, Davontae Harris has gone from not being good enough to play for the worst team in the NFL to playing every snap for the league’s fourth-best defense.
It would appear the Bengals bungled another decision.
A fifth-round draft pick out of Illinois State last year by the Marvin Lewis regime, Harris was waived by the Zac Taylor-coached Cincinnati Bengals – the 0-8 Bengals – as part of the team’s final roster cuts on August 31.
The Broncos claimed Harris off waivers the next day ostensibly to add much-needed speed and athleticism to their special teams units.
But injuries to Bryce Callahan and De’Vante Bausby and even Duke Dawson Jr. for a week threw Harris in as the Broncos’ starting cornerback position opposite Chris Harris Jr.
“I’m a relentless soul,’’ said Harris, who has played all 266 defensive snaps in the Broncos’ last four games. “Regardless of what people had to say, I’m going to go into that situation with the best mindset possible.
“I’m happy that situation occurred because it struck a fire in me that I needed. It put me in a position mentally to where I either had to grow or I wasn’t going to grow. I decided to make the best of the situation.’’
The Broncos’ quarterback with a 1-0 record and 125.6 passer rating will start against the Vikings on the other side of the bye. Brandon Allen will start until further notice.
“Just practice, I think, will produce the improvements we’re looking for,” Fangio said.
Second-round rookie Drew Lock had been expected to start practicing next Monday, Nov.10 the first day after the bye, although Fangio would not commit to that date when asked Monday.
In a pinch, call Booker
Fourth-year running back Devontae Booker went from starter in the second half of his rookie season, to 1B back with C.J. Anderson, to oft-used No. 3 back behind Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, to getting just one offensive snap through the first eight games of this season.
Yet, when Booker was involved in two plays in game 9 Sunday against the Browns, he was professional enough to stay ready to contribute. Booker filled in for Diontae Spencer, who was shaken up temporarily with a knee injury, on one kickoff return and brought it back for 32 yards.
Booker got in for one offensive snap in the fourth quarter – his second of the season – and caught a pass for 14 yards.
“I’m the emergency guy,’’ Booker said. “You know how when your pipes burst in your house and you have to call the plumber? I’m the emergency plumber.”
Bye means vacation
As recently as last year, when the Broncos were on a bye week, they practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday before taking the mandatory Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday off.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio called his players in for meetings Monday, then starting mid-afternoon gave them the rest of the week off.
“In my opinion, you’re really forfeiting a potential practice on Wednesday and I think most coaches have come to the conclusion that it’s just good to get a break—a full-blown break— rather than really, in my opinion, one practice,” Fangio said.
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