By Zack Kelberman
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (247 SPORTS) – In a twist of irony, the No Fly Zone will be the friendly skies against the New York Jets.
The Denver Broncos released their inactives for Sunday’s game in New York, a list that includes cornerback Tramaine Brock and safety Shamarko Thomas. That Brock is scratched is something of a surprise considering he was removed from the Week 5 injury report. This is Brock’s second absence of the season as he deals with a nagging soft tissue injury.
Thomas is Denver’s fifth safety behind Justin Simmons, Darian Stewart, Will Parks and Dymonte Thomas.
The rest of the Broncos’ inactives read as such: quarterback Kevin Hogan, inside linebacker Alexander Johnson, offensive lineman Sam Jones, defensive end DeMarcus Walker, and starting right tackle Jared Veldheer, as expected.
Veldheer sustained a bone bruise in his knee in Monday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and is considered week to week. Billy Turner will start for Veldheer, with Elijah Wilkinson active as the swing tackle.
“I thought Billy played really well in his place on Monday night,” head coach Vance Joseph said. “Obviously, [G/T] Eli Wilkinson is a good, young player. I’m confident if [Veldheer] is not playing that Billy will do a good job for us.”
Although Veldheer stabilized a position that’s long haunted the Broncos, Pro Football Focus rates him as just the No. 53 OT in pass protection and No. 35 in run blocking. He’s a capable starter when healthy, but the problem is, the club’s learning, he’s rarely healthy.
A sixth-year veteran, Turner is in his third season with the Broncos. He’d appeared in six games prior to this year, working primarily as a swing lineman. Turner hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career this offseason, and after three days on the open market, the club re-signed him to a one-year contract.
Before joining the Broncos, Turner started 14 games for the Miami Dolphins from 2015-16, experience that he’s drawing on. It’s also helped to block All-Everything linebacker Von Miller in practice each day.
“To be honest, when you practice against the best pass rusher in the league, it tends to make things easier for when you do get thrown into the fire in the middle of the game,” Turner said last month, via The Denver Post.
The Jets’ defense ranks 22nd in sacks (10) and 26th in quarterback hits (16), but they’re an aggressive unit spearheaded by star defensive end Leonard Williams and his bookend, Henry Anderson, who’s posted a team-high 2.5 takedowns. New York blitzes on 35.4 percent of dropbacks, third-most in the league, just ahead of the Broncos (34.2 percent).
Inside linebacker Todd Davis (shoulder) and defensive end Adam Gotsis (knee), both listed as questionable, will play.
Kickoff from MetLife Stadium is scheduled for 11 a.m. MT.