ENGLEWOOD—Picking a starting quarterback may be the most overrated component to the Denver Broncos' passing game Sunday.
The Broncos practiced much of this week preparing for the possibility they may only dress four receivers against Washington.
The four healthy receivers: Demaryius Thomas, Bennie Fowler III, Jordan Taylor and Isaiah McKenzie. Not to suggest the rookie McKenzie is inexperienced at the receiver position but he has more fumbles/ muffs off punt returns (5) than catches (2).
Hang with 'em, Brock.
The Broncos' No. 2 receiver, Emmanuel Sanders, and No. 3 pass catcher, Cody Latimer, are both listed as questionable for the game at Washington.
Sanders is all-but-certain to not play with an aggravated high ankle sprain.
“Sore,'' said Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. “Very sore.”
And Latimer has experienced swelling in the thigh-knee area this week. He missed three games with right knee tendonitis earlier this season.
Sounds like a game to try to get running back C.J. Anderson closer to his 1,000-yard milestone.
After not dressing the previous 11 games, rookie running back De'Angelo Henderson will play Sunday at Washington. Henderson will play on all special teams units and he could get a few carries at running back.
“That would be nice,'' Henderson said. “We'll see how the game plan works out. If they throw me in there, I'll be ready. If not, I'm just excited I get to dress again.''
Henderson's playing time is expected to come at the expense of veteran Jamaal Charles.
Henderson has just one carry this season – and it came as the upback on a fake punt. He got just one yard as the Broncos needed two in a loss at Buffalo.
No. 2 running back Devontae Booker returned from his wrist injury the following week and Henderson was relegated to practicing for the scout team and not dressing on game days.
“It was kind of like a redshirt in college again,'' said Henderson, a sixth-round draft pick out of Coastal Carolina. “That's how I kind of took these past 12 weeks, however much it was. Just, be patient, stay ready so whenever it was time to get on the field, light it up.''
Placekicker Brandon McManus' pay went from $600,000 last year to $4 million this year, and he is nothing if not generous with his newfound riches.
Every player in the Broncos' locker room had a box from Shinesty that contained a Christmas blazer and “ugly Christmas sweater” featuring the faces of team chefs Jake and Alfredo.
“Every single day they make a lot of us sandwiches and stuff so I wanted to have some fun with them,'' McManus said.
McManus has his own clothing line with Shinesty, a Boulder-based company.
Actually, McManus is generous, period. Last year, he gave out onesies of all types and colors to each teammate.
Good Guy, Justin
The Denver-based media named second-year safety Justin Simmons as this year's recipient of the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, which is given annually to the Bronco player who shared the late cornerback's cooperation and enthusiasm with the press.
Demaryius Thomas, Domata Peko and Trevor Siemian also received serious consideration. Simmons, the team's second-leading tackler until he suffered a season-ending ankle injury while celebrating a fumble recovery, is almost always available in front of his locker during good times and bad.
He was especially impressive as the player caught in the middle as the replacement of the popular T.J. Ward, who was released prior to the setting of the Broncos' season-opening roster.
“That was super difficult,'' Simmons said. “It was probably one of the most difficult things that I've done in my career with football in general. Mainly because T.J. was like an older brother figure to me.
“When I got drafted, he was the first guy to text me. He gave me the ins and outs of the defense by helping me out with my eyes and just discipline at the safety position. He showed me what it takes to be a Pro Bowl safety year-in and year-out like he was.
“When I heard the rumors going around that he wasn't going to be with us, that there was a possibility that he would be traded or cut or whatever the case may be, I was hurting because in my eyes it was an opportunity to have T.J. another year to learn under him and Stew (S Darian Stewart) again.''