For the past two months, Bradley Chubb has languished on the training table as the Denver Broncos have struggled to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The rush linebacker aggravated an ankle injury in Week 2, prompting the team to place him on injured reserve and operate on the protesting joint.
A few weeks later, Von Miller was traded to the Los Angeles Rams. Since then, while the Broncos have seen a few spurts of edge-rushing production from the likes of Jonathon Cooper and Malik Reed, the consistency has been woefully absent.
With the Broncos coming out of their Week 11 bye, all eyes were on Vic Fangio's podium Monday at UCHealth Training Center in hopes of a new development on the Chubb front. The Broncos' head coach obliged, updating the Chubb situation while also covering the latest on a couple of other injured starters.
“Bradley’s going to practice today, so we’re just starting the clock on him, and we’ll see where it goes," Fangio said.
With starting left tackle Garett Bolles recovering from an injury, as well as his starting right tackle counterpart Bobby Massie, Broncos fans were hopeful that Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa would have to face off against one of them instead of a backup this coming Sunday. Alas, it's not looking good for Bolles but optimism is still warranted on the Massie front.
"Garett is actually going to go on the [Reserve/] COVID-19 list today, so he’s going to have to have two negative tests in consecutive days," Fangio said. "Bobby's got a chance.”
Bolles is on the reserve/COVID-19 list which virtually guarantees he'll miss Week 12 after missing Week 9 and Week 10. Calvin Anderson has stepped up in his stead, playing surprisingly well in Denver's big road win over the Dallas Cowboys before crashing back down to earth the next week vs. Philadelphia.
Massie has a chance to return this week vs. the Chargers, and for now, Broncos fans should take that as a silver-lining development after he missed Week 10's loss to the Eagles.
As for Chubb, the Broncos are "starting the clock" on his trajectory from IR to the active roster. Will he play Sunday? Probably not but it's contingent on how his ankle responds to practice this week.
Just take it as a positive that he returned to the practice field on Monday. Chubb now owns the most sacks among current, active Broncos with 20.5 all-time since arriving as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
12 of those sacks came his rookie year. Chubb was on pace for double-digit sacks last year before injuring his other ankle but still finished with 7.5. He carried much of the water sans Miller last year, which led to his first Pro Bowl selection.
While Chubb's health issues have frustrated fans, do not get it twisted. There is a massive chasm separating the pash-rushing wherewithal of a blue-chipper like Chubb and late-round/undrafted try-hard guys like Cooper and Reed.
Chubb definitely isn't on the same pass-rushing plane as Miller but when healthy, he's one of the better edge defenders in the NFL. One of the reasons for that is he's a well-rounded player who prides himself on setting the edge as much as getting after the quarterback.
Keep your fingers crossed that Denver can get Chubb back sooner than later.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!