By Zack Kelberman
(247 SPORTS) – As expected, the Group of Five (Royce Freeman, Darian Stewart, Jared Veldheer, Shane Ray, DaeSean Hamilton) are not playing in Kansas City.
As expected, Von Miller is.
The Denver Broncos announced their list of inactives for their Week 8 divisional showdown with the Chiefs. The aforementioned players are out due to various injuries. As is inside offensive lineman Nico Falah (concussion). Inside linebacker Alexander Johnson is a healthy scratch for the eighth straight week.
Freeman is the most notable name of 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.
Phillip Lindsay will carry the mail at RB, with Devontae Booker also slated for a bigger role. Denver opted not to promote Jeremy McNichols from the practice squad to serve as added depth.
Isaiah McKenzie, called up from the taxi squad on Thursday, will replace Hamilton as the No. 4 WR.
“Isaiah’s been working very hard,” Joseph said. “He’s got a skillset you can’t teach, and that’s speed. When you can add a guy with that kind of speed, it’s always a good thing.”
Ray, like Freeman, is dealing with a high ankle sprain and sat out Week 7. He had hoped to return to face his hometown Chiefs. OLB Shaquil Barrett and defensive end DeMarcus Walker will pick up the pass-rushing slack in Ray’s stead.
Veldheer has missed three games with a bone bruise in his knee. Billy Turner will continue starting at RT, with Elijah Wilkinson deployed as the swing tackle.
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. Will Parks and Dymonte Thomas will absorb additional safety reps in Kansas City.
“If he can go, he would go for us, but obviously he’s had three [stingers] in a row and our concern is always the player’s future safety and his health,” Joseph said. “He can’t go this week, so we’ve got [S] Will Parks playing for him, along with [S] Dymonte Thomas and [S] Shamarko Thomas. We’ve got some capable guys that are going to play, but obviously with three in a row, it makes it hard to play the guy.”
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.
Miller, who collected a minor ankle sprain in Thursday’s practice, is a full go in a season-defining game for Denver.
Backup quarterback Kevin Hogan is active for the first time this season. He’s the new No. 2 behind Case Keenum after Chad Kelly was arrested Tuesday and subsequently released Wednesday.
Kickoff from Arrowhead Stadium is slated for 11 a.m. MT.