Adding Injury to Insult, the Denver Broncos, after losing 31-17 to the Baltimore Ravens, have learned that they will be without five key players, including three members of its secondary, when the New York Jets visit Invesco Field on Sunday.
Coach Josh McDaniels already has ruled out safeties Brian Dawkins (knee) and Darcel McBath (ankle) and cornerback Andre’ Goodman (thigh) along with pass-rusher Robert Ayers (leg) and special teams captain Wesley Woodyard (hamstring) for next Sunday’s game.
Earlier in the year, the Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil, 2009’s NFL leader in sacks (17 also a Broncos franchise high), Denver’s only defender that could rush the passer well.
Along came Robert Ayers (2009’s second first-round pick) with 19 tackles and 2 sacks, only to suffer a broken foot and is now expected to miss anywhere from 1-3 months.
The Broncos (2-3) were outrushed 233-39 by the Ravens this past Sunday.
Safety depth will be a major issue in Denver.
McBath is Dawkins’ backup, and he also plays in the nickel. It would appear either David Bruton or Nate Jones would start next to Renaldo Hill next week.
The Broncos have already had to use rookie cornerback Perrish Cox. Goodman was limited in practice all of last week but was in the starting lineup Sunday — when he lasted just four plays before giving way to Cox for good.
Cox had a pass interference penalty at the goal line that led to a Ravens touchdown Sunday, when he was targeted all afternoon just like Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning did three weeks ago.
The Broncos also have depth issues at outside linebacker with Ayers out, leaving only Jason Hunter and Jarvis Moss at the pass-rush position.
In other injury news, top draft pick Demaryius Thomas underwent further evaluation on his head and neck Monday after being knocked from the game on a kickoff return.