The Denver Broncos learned on Wednesday that starting rush linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu will not play in the team's Week 4 bout vs. the New York Jets. Maybe if it wasn't on a short week in a game being played on Thursday Night Football, Attaochu would have had a better chance to play.
The Broncos have some bodies at rush linebacker besides fellow starter Bradley Chubb, including Malik Reed, and Anthony Chickillo. But with one of those two guys being tapped to start in Attaochu's stead, the Broncos opted to bolster both their rush linebacker and running back depth by promoting two players off the practice squad to the active roster.
The Broncos promoted rookie rush linebacker Derrek Tuszka and rookie running back LeVante Bellamy to the 53-man squad on Wednesday.
"Broncos are promoting OLB Derrek Tuszka, RB LeVante Bellamy to 53-man roster per source," Klis tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
Do not confuse these two additions with a gameday elevation to the roster. Tuszka and Bellamy had each already been called up twice on gameday and have thus spent their eligibility to be protected from the waiver wire when sent back down to the practice squad.
Instead of 'elevating' them temporarily on gameday, only to then have to expose both Tuszka (a 2020 seventh-round pick) and Bellamy to the waiver wire, the Broncos opted to sign both to the 53-man roster. For now, Denver can get away with that but when guys like cornerback A.J. Bouye, and defensive linemen Dre'Mont Jones and DeMarcus Walker come off short-term injured reserve, Tuszka and Bellamy will be among the first to go.
That is, unless one of them gets an opportunity to play in the ensuing weeks and knock it out of the park. At this point, both are depth options.
But if Phillip Lindsay, who's listed as questionable for Week 4, is a no-go once again, there's a solid chance Bellamy will get a few touches on offense in relief of Melvin Gordon and Royce Freeman. Bellamy went undrafted out of Western Michigan this past spring and the Broncos made him a priority college free agent, giving him the highest signing bonus among the team's undrafted rookie crop.
Combined with the signing of veteran defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan on Wednesday, and the Broncos are closer to full strength numbers-wise. Expect the team to still call up two practice-squadders on gameday. The top candidates for such a move are the four 'protected' players on the Broncos practice squad, which includes defensive lineman Deyon Sizer, cornerback Kevin Toliver, linebacker Josh Watson, and offensive tackle Jake Rodgers.
I'd put my money on Sizer and Toliver, especially with active-roster cornerback Davontae Harris questionable for Week 4.