Emmanuel Sanders doesn't expect to be placed on a 'snap count' when Broncos open regular season
Headlines about Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders have been flowing at a torrential pace over the past couple of days, which comes as no surprise given the news that he not only had offseason surgery to repair a torn Achilles but also a "tightrope" procedure on his other ankle prior to training camp.
And we can't forget his skirmish with fellow wide receiver Courtland Sutton last week.
The star 32-year-old wideout has stolen the attention of several practice attendees over the past couple of days as he continues to flash some of the dominance he had in seasons past, despite only being eight months removed from going under the knife.
Following Tuesday's practice, the final of which that fans were allowed to attend, Sanders created even more headlines when he claimed that he doesn't expect to be placed on a snap count when the Broncos open the regular season against the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 9.
"I don't think so," Sanders said. "Based on how I'm practicing right now, I'll be ready to go."
This comes as huge news for the Broncos offense, a unit that has suffered a significant stretch of injuries at the skill positions over the course of training camp. Getting one of the purest and smoothest route runners in the game back in action should open holes for a rather young corps of pass-catchers in both the wide receiver and tight end rooms.
Sanders' rapid progression throughout his rehabilitation has not only been eye turning to the media, but has also become a major catalyst in the chemistry between he and new starting QB Joe Flacco. Flacco and Sanders were able to connect several times in practice Tuesday, even for a couple of appearances in the end zone, and Sanders had high praise for his new signal-caller.
“Yesterday, he threw some dimes," Sanders said. "He threw some dimes. He’s been throwing dimes. Today he threw me a couple of dimes and Drew [Lock] threw me a dime as well," Sanders said. "So, the chemistry is coming. Everything is looking good. It’s all about just going out and just trying to master this offense so when Monday night comes around, we are putting up points. And we’re linking up on deep passes and trying to create explosive plays because that’s what it’s about."
With Sanders expecting to be fully healthy come Week 1 at Oakland, it stands to reason that we can expect a more explosive version of offensive football being displayed from the Broncos in 2019. Sanders not only has the ability to separate from defenders using his elite route-running prowess, but also a quick-twitch acceleration that most of the other Broncos' receivers don't possess.
He has a history of making explosive plays down the field over the course of his career, and he also expects that trend to continue this season.
"That’s what it’s about," Sanders opined. "It’s not about the dink and dunk, it’s about those explosion-chunk plays. That’s what I know I have to bring to the table."
On Monday, head coach Vic Fangio declared that Sanders would see some action in exhibition contests as the preseason marches forward. It is notable that Sanders would update his status almost exactly one week away from the Broncos' third preseason contest.
Even though it isn't the "dress rehearsal" that comes the following Saturday, it would be a great time to see if Sanders is truly ready to see live football action.
The Broncos next preseason contest is next Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers at Mile High Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 pm MDT. Keep your eyes peeled for that number 10 in orange.
Follow Lance on Twitter @SandersonMHH.