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Broncos Lose Another Defensive Starter to Practice Injury

The Denver Broncos are snake-bitten and must re-examine their strength and conditioning program.
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On Friday, we learned that the Denver Broncos were hit by the injury bug again this week during practice. 9NEWS' Mike Klis reported that starting linebacker Jonas Griffith "aggravated" a foot injury in Thursday's practice and will miss time. 

"Injury situation keeps getting worse. Per source, Broncos lose starting ILB Jonas Griffith for extended period after aggravating foot injury in practice THU. Broncos have NFL-most 15 current players (20 total) and $56M cap on IR. No excuse but never seen so many injuries," Klis tweeted. 

The Broncos hold a 3-6 record on the 2022 season. There have been several reasons for this losing record, stemming from erratic play from Russell Wilson, a below-average offensive line, and a lack of separation from wide receivers.

Despite these deficiencies, the ever-increasing number of injuries continues to haunt the Broncos. For every game played, a starter becomes injured and is declared out for a limited period of time or for the entire season.

As of November 18, the Broncos now have 14 players on injured reserve, and a total of 25 guys snake-bitten this season. This is unprecedented. Here is the list of players who've gone down just since training camp started. 

  • RB Damarea Crockett | knee (IR)
  • WR Tim Patrick | Knee (IR)
  • OLB Christopher Allen | Foot (IR)
  • OT Garett Bolles | Leg (IR)
  • OLB Aaron Patrick | Knee (IR)
  • RB Mike Boone | Ankle (IR)
  • S Caden Sterns | Hip (IR)
  • RB Javonte Williams | Knee (IR)
  • C Lloyd Cushenberry III | Groin (IR)
  • WR Jerry Jeudy | Ankle (out Week 11)
  • OLB Randy Gregory | Knee (IR)
  • FS Justin Simmons | Knee (five missed starts)
  • OG Graham Glasgow | Shoulder (questionable Week 11)
  • OT Cameron Fleming | Quad (two missed games)
  • OLB Baron Browning | Hip (two missed games)
  • TE Andrew Beck | Hamstring (out Week 11)
  • CB Ronald Darby | Knee (IR)
  • OT Billy Turner | Knee (IR)
  • LS Jacob Bobenmoyer | Thumb (IR)
  • OL Tom Compton | Back (PUP list)
  • WR Kendall Hinton | Shoulder (two missed games)
  • LS Mitchell Fraboni | Finger (IR)
  • WR KJ Hamler | Hamstring (two missed games)
  • CB K’Waun Williams | Knee (out Week 11)
  • LB Jonas Griffith | Foot (out Week 11)

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These injuries equate to an NFL-high of over $80 million in salary cap dollars on injured reserved.


Elephant in the Room

There should be a reassessment of the expertise and competence of the Broncos' strength and conditioning coach Loren Landow. He is world-renowned — focused on biomechanics and the optimization of athletic performance on prevention and rehabilitation, and he trains numerous athletes from various sports, including the UFC, WNBA, MLB, NHL, and the NFL. 

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During Landow's tenure over the previous four seasons, the Broncos have been one of the most injured teams in the NFL. In 2020, the Broncos had 14 players on IR, consuming north of $50M in cap space. In 2021, Denver had 16 players on IR, eating north of $40 million. It's one of the reasons the Broncos haven't been able to attain success.

There are many questions that need to be asked: What is the training regimen for the players? Why are there so many lower-body and soft-tissue injuries? Why are the injuries so frequent? What specific information is being relayed to the players?

Broncos GM George Paton acknowledged the injury onslaught and that he plans to look into possible solutions in the offseason. 

“[There are] no excuses," Paton said on October 27. "We need to win. You got to look at the injuries, and we have to look more in depth on the injuries. It’s hard. Every year—I think the last six years, we’ve been one of the more injured teams. We’re looking into it. We looked into it the last offseason, and we need to continue to look at it.”

Nobody is calling for Landow's job, but reassessing their strength and conditioning program should be the Broncos' first order of business this offseason, as fielding a healthy team is the foundation for getting the team back to its championship days. 

Follow Ron on Twitter @RonWhiteNFL.

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