Denver Broncos training camp has only started and some players are already getting banged up. Starting nose tackle Mike Purcell is going to miss some time with a sprained ankle while first-string linebacker Josey Jewell is missing time with a groin injury.
Neither is expected to miss a lot of time, and their absences shouldn't cause a lot of concern. However, there are two other players dealing with injuries that could be cause for alarm somewhat. Those two players are rush linebacker Bradley Chubb and rookie linebacker Baron Browning.
In the case of Chubb, he isn’t even missing practice but is being kept out of the majority of team drills. He had ankle surgery in May and the team is being cautious.
The Broncos don't want to risk making Chubb's recovery worse or trigger a setback, so they're slowly easing him back into full reps. The Pro Bowler recently revealed he feels really comfortable and like a brand new person out there.
“I’m going to be ready by September—100 percent," Chubb said Monday. "I’m just doing what the trainers are telling me and slowly working into team drills and slowly working into the 7-on-7. [I’m] just getting my feet under me again. I feel like it’s going to be special when everything is full go.”
So how much concern should Broncos fans have over Chubb’s injury? Right now, not much. Camp just started and he is only a couple of months removed from the ankle procedure, so being limited is par for the course.
If there's no progress in Chubb's rep-share by late training camp, fans would be justified to sound the alarm. However, there was great news on this front when Chubb garnered a few reps during team drills on Monday — a step forward.
As for Browning, he's on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to open training camp. When the Broncos drafted him, the team initially planned on having him learn to be an off-ball linebacker full time, after being a hybrid of sorts at Ohio State.
However, Browning's lower-leg injury has really changed things on that front as the Broncos seem to be angling toward him playing rush linebacker this season. It would make sense with the amount of time he's already missed because of the injury. The silver lining? No surgery required for Browning only time.
“No surgery. Just kind of stuck, but I talked to him this morning and he said he’s better today, doing better," Fangio said on Monday. 'As soon as he turns the corner, I think we’ll be able to get him out there.”
There is a lot to be concerned about Browning and this mysterious leg injury, specifically with how much time he's already missed. Not being able to practice can be detrimental to any player, but it can be especially detrimental for a rookie.
These reps are even more vital for a player like Browning who didn’t have a set position in college and was a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none. That set him back in his transition to the NFL even before having to deal with an injury. Now he has to work on learning one position while being complicated by nursing leg injury that is causing him to miss valuable reps.
The buzz indicates Browning should be ready to practice soon. Denver needs to get this talented rookie with immense potential out there on the field to start developing him. While he may not have a large role on defense early this season, Browning has a skill-set that can add a lot to the unit that could be used even on a limited basis.
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