The Denver Broncos' 3-0 start hasn't come without a cost. The Broncos have already lost multiple starters to injury, two of them at wide receiver.
Jerry Jeudy is expected to miss a few weeks because of an ankle sprain against the New York Giants in Week 1, but he should return around midseason. However, a bigger blow was the loss of KJ Hamler for the season because of a torn ACL in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
The loss of Hamler weighed heavily on teammate Tim Patrick, who will now take on a bigger role in the offense.
“I just found out about that, so I haven’t processed it yet, but it hurts because out of all of us, he was a different one," Patrick said Monday afternoon. "He had God-given speed, so it’s definitely tough.”
Patrick admitted that nobody will be able to replace Hamler, but he knows that it will be time for him, along with others, to step up.
"You just replace it by making plays and more balls for other people, and when the ball comes your way just make a play," Patrick said. "It might not be in a way that he would do it, but there are other ways to make big plays.”
Patrick knows about this. Last season, he broke out with 51 receptions for 742 yards and a team-high six touchdowns. He stepped into the starting lineup after Courtland Sutton went down with a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season.
The fourth-year receiver has already scored two touchdowns this season. Though Patrick didn't score against the Jets, he had six receptions for 98 yards.
It was a nice stat line, but Patrick still believes he could have played better.
“Honestly, I watched the tape last night, and I didn’t think I played that well," he said. "I just made big catches that you guys like, so it seemed like I played well, but I had a lot of little things I messed up on. My route running wasn’t as good as it was in the past, the first two games, but I made bigger plays this week so it kind of washes all of that away.”
Patrick's willingness to watch film and take a deeper dive into his play should be commended. After all, he's a player that will be asked to do more, given the injuries the Broncos have had to their wide receiver corps.
Along with that, Patrick is taking a bigger leadership role with the team — and leadership is something the Broncos have needed for some time.
“I kind of try to just let my play do the talking, the way I carry myself and just keeping guys positive—I think that’s just the biggest thing out there," Patrick said. "Everybody has the talent to be here and be productive here, but sometimes people get down on themselves. I just try to make sure everybody’s having fun out there, and they’re staying positive no matter what’s going on.”
The Broncos are 3-0, so there's no doubt they're having fun, despite the injuries to key players. We'll see if the Broncos can keep the wins coming as they enter the tougher part of their 2021 schedule.
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