Broncos Reveal Final Injury Report for Week 14 vs. Texans
The Denver Broncos will take to the road in consecutive games against playoff-caliber opponents, starting with the 8-4 Houston Texans this week. The last time these two teams met, the Broncos fell short at home to the Texans in Week 9 of last season.
Brandon McManus missed a 51-yard game-deciding field goal as time expired, leading to a 19-17 loss.
It was a different time with a different head coach and quarterback. This year, the Broncos will roll into NRG Stadium with Vic Fangio at head coach and Drew Lock at quarterback.
This game will actually mark the third playoff-caliber opponent the Broncos will have faced in the last four games. That's one concession that must be considered in Fangio's maiden season — he's faced the second-toughest strength of schedule in the NFL.
It won't get any easier this week with a top-10 Texans offense led by star quarterback Deshaun Watson. Whether or not Lock will be able to keep up with one of the game's premier young quarterbacks will serve as a phenomenal measuring stick and perhaps an early harbinger of what the future holds for the Broncos with the former Mizzou standout under center.
On Friday, the Broncos revealed their final injury report for Week 14. One starter has been ruled out while three other key players are listed as questionable.
While it'll hurt not having the veteran wherewithal of Ronald Leary at right guard, the issue pressing on the minds of Broncos Country is whether Von Miller will miss his second-straight game, after going 95 consecutive contests without an absence. Perhaps it'll once again come down to a pre-game workout to test that sprained knee.
“I think he’s much better than he was last week, but it could be that,” Fangio said on Friday.
If Miller is a no-go, the Broncos will ostensibly need as many warm bodies at outside linebacker as they can muster. Seeing fellow starter Malik Reed being listed as questionable is worrisome but if he too can't go, the onus will fall on Jeremiah Attaochu and rookie Justin Hollins.
But what about Ja'Wuan James? The Broncos' prized signing of this past free agency period hasn't been in the starting lineup since Week 8 at Indianapolis. James sprained his knee in the season-opener after less than a dozen snaps and didn't reappear until in seven weeks later.
James has been cleared to play for a few weeks now but has been a healthy scratch. Listed as questionable again this week, Fangio's remarks on the subject did little by way of illumination on the highly questionable situation. Fans want to know; if he's healthy, why is even listed as questionable?
“I just don’t want to put him out there if he’s not going to play well," Fangio said of James. "We’ll see how he shows up tomorrow and Sunday.”
Without rehashing all the sordid details, James' "mental and emotional" mettle has been in question, even by Fangio. If James plays on Sunday in Houston, he'll start, but the Broncos will plan on rotating Elijah Wilkinson in at right tackle to ease James back into action.
As for the Texans, former Bronco Bradley Roby is listed as questionable, as is fellow cornerback Gareon Conley — the former Raiders first-rounder Houston acquired via trade earlier this season. If neither are 100% or absent, it portends well for Lock's first road start.
Stud wideout Will Fuller IV is also questionable, along with LB Brennan Scarlett and DE Carlos Watkins. I imagine all of the above will end up being game-time decisions for Houston.