ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have only played one game and already they are getting into the second level of their depth chart.
Speedy slot receiver KJ Hamler will not play Sunday against the Houston Texans. After undergoing ACL and hip surgeries last year, Hamler played 61 percent of the Broncos’ offensive snaps Monday against the Seattle Seahawks. With that game played on Lumen Field’s artificial surface, even the healthiest players can come away sore, let alone those trying to nurse a surgically repaired knee and hip.
"Part of the maintenance," Hackett said in explaining Hamler sitting out this entire week. "We want to make sure we get him to as many games as we possibly can.
"It’s such a unique deal what happened to him. He’s been doing some great things, been getting some great reps, did good last game. We just want to be sure we got him for the whole season."
Remember, the Broncos already lost one of their top receivers in Tim Patrick, who suffered a torn ACL early in training camp. That leaves the Broncos’ receivers’ core with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and who? Tyrie Cleveland played 8 snaps at receiver Monday. Then there’s rookies Montrell Washington and Jerry Virgil. Both are rookies. Washington didn’t play an offensive snap against the Seahawks and Virgil didn’t dress for the game.
Cleveland caught six passes for 63 yards as a rookie in 2020 but none since. This is a rare situation where there is more experience and production on the practice squad where Kendall Hinton had 15 catches for 175 yards and Darrius Shepherd has six catches for 47 yards.
"Whosever’s out there, whosever’s going to be in that situation, we want to see that juice," Hackett said. "Anytime you can have somebody take off the top, it’s going to very much help the whole offense. From the run game to the pass game to everything."
The Broncos will also play Sunday without starting safety Justin Simmons, right guard Quinn Meinerz and possibly inside linebacker Josey Jewell. Simmons will be replaced by Caden Sterns, Meinerz by Graham Glasgow and Jewell by Alex Singleton.
Inside linebacker Josey Jewell practiced on a limited basis Friday for the first time since he strained a calf muscle last week. His playing status is questionable. …
Starting safety Kareem Jackson was not happy he was fined $5,000 for not wearing his game pants so that they covered his knees during the game against the Seahawks. Jackson aired his grips on his Twitter account.
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