By ZACK KELBERMAN
(247SPORTS) – A pair of Denver Broncos starters will be observing from the sideline Sunday.
Head coach Vance Joseph on Friday announced that right tackle Jared Veldheer and cornerback Adam Jones won’t play against the Los Angeles Rams. This was wholly expected, and previously reported, as neither player practiced this week.
Joseph admitted Monday that Veldheer, hampered by a bone bruise in his knee, is “probably a week away from actually playing again for us.” Billy Turner will draw his second start at RT, with Elijah Wilkinson serving as his backup.
The hope is that Veldheer returns for next Thursday’s road contest in Arizona.
“We’ll see,” Joseph said. “Again, I’m confident in Billy (Turner). He’s played good football.”
Jones sustained a hamstring injury in last week’s loss to the New York Jets, and Joseph admitted Thursday that he’s “coming along slowly.”
“It’s his second stint with the hamstring,” he said. “Obviously, hamstrings take a while. If you push this guy back, we could lose him for the rest of the season. We’re going to be smart with him and we’ll see how the week goes. So far, we’re going slow with him—just long-term concerns.”
Hammy issues are notoriously tough to recover from because, as Joseph intimated, they’re so easily aggravated. Usually a safer-than-sorry approach is required, meaning a player won’t get on the field until he’s absolutely 100 percent.
It’s unfortunate timing for the Broncos with the Rams’ high-flying offense rolling through. The Sean McVay-led operation ranks first in total yards, second in passing, third in scoring and seventh in rushing, posing a catastrophic threat to a demoralized Denver defense.
With Jones likely out, Tramaine Brock will work as the nickel corner behind Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby. Rookie Isaac Yiadom will also be called upon, equipped with the confidence of his coaches.
“He’s good,” said defensive coordinator Joe Woods. “It’s always one play a game that he’s out there, but the thing with him: he’s confident. There’s no fear in him. Again, as a young guy, you’re out there, it’s your first year of experience playing in the NFL against that type of talent week in and week out—he’s just going to learn under fire. He’ll keep getting better each week, but I like him just because of his mindset and how he plays.”
On the Rams’ side, top wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp — both of whom sustained concussions in Week 5 — practiced again Friday and should clear protocol in time for kickoff. McVay has said Jared Goff’s favorite targets will go in Denver.
The Broncos and Rams will release their inactives 90 minutes prior to the 2:05 p.m. MT tilt from Broncos Stadium at Mile High.