ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Just in case they pulled off a miracle while the ever-slim chance of a miracle was present, the Denver Broncos kept quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on their active roster the past two weeks.
The team knew Bridgewater wouldn’t play in the final three games after his scary head injury occurred Dec. 19 against the Cincinnati Bengals. But while they kept their quarterback in concussion protocols the past two weeks with no plan of clearing him, the Broncos kept him on their active 53-man roster anyway just in case they somehow made the playoffs.
When the Broncos were officially eliminated from the postseason Sunday, after they were whipped by the Chargers, 34-13, there was no longer a reason for Bridgewater to take up a roster spot. Especially with 13 players coming off of the COVID-19 reserve list Wednesday.
Bridgewater was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, along with starting safety Kareem Jackson and starting left guard Dalton Risner. Jackson had been playing through significant shoulder/neck stingers in recent weeks and with the game Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs essentially meaningless to the Broncos, there was no need to further put the 33-year-old veteran in harm’s way. Risner suffered a significant right elbow injury during the Broncos’ first series Sunday against the Chargers, although a month’s rest, not surgery, is the prescribed treatment.
The 13 Broncos players activated from the COVID list Wednesday: Bradley Chubb, Bryce Callahan, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, Bobby Massie, Baron Browning, Jonathon Cooper, Mike Purcell, Caden Sterns, Stephen Weatherly, McTelvin Agim, Mike Ford and practice squad receiver Tyrie Cleveland.
Still on the COVID list are kicker Brandon McManus, punter Sam Martin and backup offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, who is also on IR with a knee injury.
So the Broncos won’t be shorthanded as they try to snap their losing streak of 12 games over 6 full seasons against the Chiefs, who have won the AFC West Division for the sixth year in a row and need a win Saturday to have a chance at the No. 1 AFC playoff seed.
“They’ve had our number these last couple times but it’s a new day on (Saturday),’’ said Drew Lock, the Broncos’ starting quarterback in place of Bridgewater for the final three games. “We’re excited. We’re getting guys off the COVID list and we’re going to practice hard this week and come out and play a clean game.”
Lock suffered an injury to his right throwing shoulder early in the game against the Chargers, but he returned after missing just one series. He missed two games because of a right shoulder injury last season.
“It’s way less than what it was last year,’’ Lock said of his shoulder discomfort. “It’s came a long way since Sunday when it happened. It’ll keep progressing with our medical staff here and I’ll be as close to 100 percent as I possibly can on (Saturday).’’
The game against the Chiefs may be the last one for Vic Fangio as Broncos head coach as he’s posted a 19-29 record in three seasons. Or it might not be Fangio’s last game as there is a possibility he stays but several of his assistants would be dismissed.
“I’ve learned a lot from Coach Fangio since I’ve been in this league,’’ said Lock, who is finishing up his third season. “Any time you get a defensive head coach who has been in this league that when you go into training camp against a defense that’s not like one you would normally see on a Sunday, you learn a lot. You become a way better player being able to go against his defense. Even when you get to talk to him off the football field about certain tendencies he might see on a team that you’re playing this week – there’s a lot of benefits having him as a head coach.”
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