By Zack Kelberman
DENVER (247 SPORTS) – You wouldn’t know it based on Chad Kelly mania, but the show’s going on for the Denver Broncos.
The team got back to work Wednesday at the UCHealth Training Center in preparation for Sunday’s crucial road contest against the Kansas City Chiefs. And they did so at much less than 100 percent.
Six players were listed as “DNP” (did not practice) for Denver: running back Royce Freeman, right tackle Jared Veldheer, safety Darian Stewart, outside linebacker Shane Ray, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, and center Nico Falah.
Freeman is the most notable name among the bunch. The rookie back sustained a high ankle sprain in last week’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals, and was initially termed as day to day. Ditto for Hamilton, who suffered a sprained MCL against Arizona.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph is unsure if they’ll play at Kansas City, though it appears Hamilton’s on the doubtful side.
“They’re progressing, we’ll see,” Joseph said. “Obviously, with Royce, he’s getting better day by day. DaeSean is a little more sore than Royce is, so we’ll see how it ends up on Friday.”
Phillip Lindsay is in line to carry the mail at RB, with Devontae Booker also slated for a bigger role. Hamilton’s absence would open up more reps for No. 5 WR Tim Patrick and potentially Demaryius Thomas, as well.
Ray, like Freeman, is dealing with a high ankle sprain. He hoped to return to face his hometown Chiefs but will need to log a limited session Thursday or Friday to have a chance. OLB Shaquil Barrett and defensive end DeMarcus Walker will pick up the pass-rushing slack should Ray be unable to go.
Veldheer has missed three games with a bone bruise in his knee. Billy Turner will continue starting at RT for however long Veldheer is out.
Stewart suffered his third neck stinger in as many weeks against the Cardinals. His status bears monitoring with Su’a Cravens (IR, knee) on track to play in Week 9. If Stewart is inactive Sunday, Will Parks and Dymonte Thomas will absorb his safety reps.
Falah was signed to the active roster on Oct. 20 to take the spot of left guard Ronald Leary, who went on injured reserve after tearing his Achilles’ tendon. Falah was in the NFL’s concussion protocol when Denver nabbed him off the Jets’ practice squad.
“Yes. It happened, I think about 10 days ago,” Joseph said. “Obviously, moving teams, it was kind of caught in between the protocol, so we’ve put him back into the protocol to finish it out. He’ll be fine probably by Thursday—maybe tomorrow—or Friday.”
Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall was limited with a knee injury. Cornerback Adam Jones (thigh), tight end Matt LaCosse (knee), and the Thomas’s — Demaryius (wrist) and Dymonte (chest) — all practiced fully.