By Chad Jensen
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (247Sports)– Well, if the Broncos’ secondary must face the explosive Steelers passing attack, at least they’ll have Bradley Roby along for the ride.
Denver’s walk-year cornerback, who sustained a concussion in Week 11, is expected to play Sunday against Pittsburgh, head coach Vance Joseph announced.
“[He] should be fine to go,” were Joseph’s exact words.
Roby, officially listed as questionable, was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but passed the NFL-mandated concussion protocol, putting him on track to suit up. Roby evidently cleared the protocol overnight, as Joseph affirmed Thursday the multi-stage process remained incomplete.
“He has not been cleared,” he said. “It’s three steps through the protocol and he’s cleared step two, I think.”
After returning from a foot injury, Roby was concussed in last Sunday’s upset of the Los Angeles Chargers. He’d been performing well prior to leaving the game, a significant improvement following his massive early-season struggles, heeding the call from his coaches.
“Absolutely he has,” Joseph said. “He’s been a little nicked up, but he’s had a great couple weeks of practice, and that’s where it starts with great corners. You have to practice the right way to play the right way and he’s doing that for us.”
The Broncos’ secondary will have Roby and Chris Harris Jr. as the starting CBs, with Tramaine Brock, Isaac Yiadom and Brendan Langley serving as the nickel and dimes, respectively. Yiadom received a promotion following the release of Adam Jones. Langley was called up from the practice squad.
Unfortunately, their defense isn’t entirely at full strength. Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall — he of the bruised knee — will miss his third contest this year. He’ll concede his job opposite Todd Davis to rookie Josey Jewell. The duo “played well” against the Melvin Gordon-led Chargers, according to Joseph.
“That team came in averaging 7.6 yards a clip on first downs and we kind of squashed that, hitting the run game and hitting the pass game also,” he said.
Their next test is rising Pittsburgh stud James Conner, the league’s fourth-leading rusher who’s rendered holdout Le’Veon Bell obsolete. This is where Jewell’s athleticism and Davis’ tenacity will be highlighted.
“He’s a physical back and you can tell he’s playing with a lot of energy,” Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods said. “It seems like he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder and like he has something to prove. He’s doing an outstanding job in the run game and he’s also a good outlet for them at receiver. I think he has 45 catches or something like that.”
Denver will release its list of inactives 90 minutes prior to the 2:25 p.m. MT kickoff from Broncos Stadium at Mile High.