On Friday the Broncos’ injury report revealed right tackle Ryan Harris will be out with an ankle injury for Sunday’s game at Jacksonville.
According to the depth chart, rookie Zane Beadles is behind Harris, but Head Coach Josh McDaniels did not announce who would replace Harris in the starting lineup.
Safety Darcel McBath is also ruled out for Sunday with a forearm injury. Neither Harris nor McBath participated in practice this week. The team’s No. 1 draft choice, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (foot), and running back Andre Brown (toe) were ruled questionable, and tight end Daniel Graham (chest) and running back Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) are probable.
For the Jaguars, kick returner Scotty McGee (shoulder) and wide receiver Jarett (thumb) Dillard are out, and running back Deji Karim (thumb) is questionable.
Practice intensity spikes when the team’s record is on the line.
On Friday, veteran safety Renaldo Hill spoke about ramping up the pep in practice for the squad’s season opener at Jacksonville on Sunday.
“I thought everybody was on board,” Hill said. “I think everyone knows that the season is here — just the attention and focus that everyone had — you could see at practice.”
The team suited up in full pads for two days this week, focusing on employing and defending against a physical ground game. When they weren’t in pads, the Broncos wore shells for walk-throughs as the coaches emphasized executing the game plan and maintaining a top-flight tempo.
“We had good week of practice mentally,” Head Coach Josh McDaniels said. “I think they know what we need to do, and let’s get the butterflies out of us in the first quarter and play for four quarters.”
The team has been knocking back plenty of fluids to protect it from the swamp sun. The idea is to keep players on the field with a mouthpiece in between their teeth instead of on the sideline with an IV in their arms.
Hydrating constantly hasn’t quenched the thirst for competition that counts in the standings.
“I can read our team in terms of how they’re going to try to play the game, and I think they’re going to give great effort,” McDaniels said. “I don’t think that will be a problem for any team on opening day.”
Brandon Lloyd has his own strategy to keep calm as the Week 1 adrenaline hits him.
“Just remember to breathe. That’s the key,” he said with a laugh. “It’s magical — the kickoff weekend and the flyover and just everything — the pageantry of opening week in the NFL is special.”
-Gabe Hiatt, DenverBroncos.com
*Here are photos from Friday’s practice: