(247 SPORTS) – The Denver Broncos’ plan to replace Shaquil Barrett is … well, to not replace him at all.
Barrett is inactive for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, as expected, the team announced Sunday. He’s at least a week away from returning, if not longer, after sustaining a hip flexor tear in last week’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Earlier this week, Denver promoted outside linebacker Jeff Holland from the practice squad, tentatively to absorb Barrett’s pass-rushing snaps behind Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Shane Ray.
But Holland, an undrafted rookie, is also inactive, along with cornerback Tramaine Brock, inside linebacker Brandon Marshall, defensive end DeMarcus Walker, and offensive linemen Nico Falah and Sam Jones.
That Walker and Holland are healthy scratches is a massive surprise considering that head coach Vance Joseph singled both out when discussing Barrett’s absence.
“Obviously Shane Ray is next up, so yeah, he’s going to be the third rusher and we’ll see how the game goes,” Joseph said Monday. “We’ll have three guys for that position on gameday. We’ve got [DE] DeMarcus Walker who’s available also and plays some end for us on our sub downs. We’ve got some options there. Obviously, Shaq’s playing good football. He played, in my opinion, the best yesterday out of all the rushers. He’s going to be missed, especially on special teams also.”
“He can rush the passer,” Joseph said of Holland on Friday. “Obviously losing Shaq for a couple weeks, it’s his time to come up and help us rush the passer. It’s as simple as that. He’s pretty good on teams also.”
Replacing Brock, who’s battling sore ribs, will be rookie third-round CB Isaac Yiadom. Brendan Langley, recalled from the practice team last week, will see work as the dime corner against the Jeff Driskel-led Bengals offense.
Yiadom impressed against Pittsburgh, helping Denver’s secondary hold an explosive offense in check.
“He did a fine job,” Joseph said. “He had one play where his eyes were bad and he kind of bounced back from that and played very solid. They obviously went at him a couple times, kind of testing the waters there—which they should—but he responded and played with confidence. With a week of practice, he will play solid football for us. We’ll see where Brock is as the week progresses, but if Isaac’s playing, I’m very comfortable.”
Rookie Josey Jewell will continue starting in place of Marshall, who’s been sidelined since Week 8 with a bone bruise in his knee.
PHOTO GALLERY: Broncos, 24, Bengals, 10
The Broncos and Bengals are scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. MT from Paul Brown Stadium.