ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Needing experience to help fill-in for the injured, the Broncos reached down to their practice squad Saturday to find it.
The Broncos are elevating slot receiver Kendall Hinton and guard Netane Muti from their practice squad to replace KJ Hamler and Quinn Meinerz, respectively, according to multiple sources.
The promotions will allow the Broncos to activate 48 players, instead of 46, for their game-day roster Sunday against the Houston Texans. Among those 48 players will be eight offensive linemen – starters Garett Bolles, Dalton Risner, Lloyd Cushenberry III, Graham Glasgow and Cam Fleming, along with backups Calvin Anderson, Luke Wattenberg and Muti.
The Muti promotion is an indication the Broncos will likely give veteran Billy Turner one more week off to help heal his surgically-repaired knee.
Hamler was kept off the practice and game fields this week as part of the team’s load management plan to his recovery from ACL and hip surgeries. He played 61 percent of the offensive snaps Monday at Seattle. The combination of Lumen Field’s artificial surface and a shortened week leading into the Broncos’ game against the Texans caused the Broncos’ medical team to give Hamler this week off to rest. He has been on an off-and-on schedule since OTAs in May.
Hinton may well have made the Broncos’ season-opening 53-man roster had he not been battling a hamstring/knee issue since training camp. He had 15 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown last season, which is greater than the combined totals of the three backup receivers on their active roster – Tyrie Cleveland (6 catches) and rookies Montrell Washington and Jalen Virgil, who have yet to take an offensive snap.
Similarly, Muti was in line for a spot on the 53-man roster before suffering a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery in early August. He had been competing with Meinerz for the starting right guard position through OTAs and the first week of training camp. Meinerz won the job but went down with a strained hamstring in the first half of the Broncos’ game at Seattle. The grade 2 strain is a four-week injury, although the fact he hasn’t been placed on short-term injured reserve (IR) indicates there is hope he can return sooner.
The NFL fined Broncos running back Javonte Williams $11,194 and outside linebacker Jonathon Cooper $4,723 for unsportsmanlike infractions. Cooper was docked for taunting while Williams was not penalized in the game but didn't escape the league film watchers.
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