ENGLEWOOD – Comparisons almost always involve last year, maybe because it’s easy.
It takes a little more research to compare these 2018 Broncos to the 1991 Broncos, but it’s worth it.
In 1990, the Broncos were 5-11. The next year, they went 12-4 and made it to the AFC Championship Game.
The 2017 Broncos were 5-11. The next year, which is this year, the 2018 Broncos are off to a 2-0 start. Instead, all the focus this week has been on how the Broncos’ ship began to sink at this time last year.
The Broncos are 2-0 and are about to play their first road game in week three.
They were 2-0 last year when they played their first road game in week three.
From there it gets ugly. The Broncos lost their first road game at Buffalo last year and finished 5-11.
Among the differences this year is the Broncos have Case Keenum at quarterback, Bill Musgrave at offensive coordinator and the Baltimore Ravens as their week 3 road opponent.
“Last year’s team is dead and gone,’’ said Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. “We’re a new team, we have different players, we have a different culture and we have a different mindset. We’re coaching different. Last year is last year and this year is this year."
“It’s going to be a challenge for us to win that game on Sunday, but again, we’re looking forward to it. We haven’t played our best ball yet. We’re 2-0 and it’s come down to two game-winning drives, so we’re looking forward to playing better football Sunday. We’ll see what happens.”
Jones misses practice again; Veldheer cleared
The Broncos listed four players as questionable for the game Sunday, none of them Keenum. The four: Starting right tackle Jared Veldheer (concussion), starting linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee), No. 3 cornerback/punt returner Adam Jones (hamstring/thigh), and backup safety Dymonte Thomas (oblique strain).
Veldheer has been completely cleared from the concussion protocol so it looks good for him playing Sunday. Marshall should also play, although rookie linebacker Josey Jewell will get plenty of defensive snaps.
The players listed as questionable who are seriously in question are Jones and Dymonte Thomas because they didn’t practice Friday. The Broncos are expected to dress rookie cornerback Isaac Yiadom for the first time this season. The question is who would replace Jones as the Broncos’ punt returner.
The options would be, in no particular order (although maybe): 1. Have Jones play and limit him to punt returns; 2. Promote Isaiah McKenzie from the practice squad; or 3. Insert one of two rookies, Phillip Lindsay or DaeSean Hamilton, for their first punt return test.