When the Broncos 53-player roster was revealed earlier this month, wide receiver Eron Riley was missing, despite a strong preseason finish.
Matt Willis was one of three wideouts available Sunday for Denver. (personal photo)
Signed to the practice squad days later, Riley may soon get called up to suit up, thanks to an unfortunate position shortage.
The Denver Post reports wide receiver Eddie Royal is out two to four weeks with a strained groin. Royal suffered the injury early in the second quarter of Sunday’s win at home to Cincinnati.
The Broncos travel to Green Bay to play the Super Bowl champions in two weeks. After that, Denver returns home to face San Diego, then have a bye week, putting Royal’s return at Miami on Oct. 23 – at the latest.
Royal was one of only three active wide receivers Sunday. His injury meant quarterback Tim Tebow made his first appearance of the season as emergency wide receiver.
Rookie Julius Thomas, considered a “receiving” tight end, left during Denver’s first offensive series Sunday with a high ankle sprain. He’ll also be out at least two weeks.
Back to how Riley fits into this. Assuming Brandon Lloyd, who was a surprising scratch Sunday (see below), is back to action Sunday, the Broncos are still short at wide receiver. It makes sense for head coach John Fox to activate Riley to join Lloyd, Eric Decker, and Matt Willis.
It’s important to note WR D’Andre Goodwin is also on the practice squad,
Elway Surprised Lloyd Didn’t Play
Though officially listed as questionable, Brandon Lloyd (groin) practiced Friday, a strong indication he would play Sunday.
John Elway told 102.3 The Ticket he was so certain Lloyd would play, the team didn’t even consider promoting a wide receiver from the practice squad. Knowing running back Knowshon Moreno was likely out, Denver opted instead to activate Jeremiah Johnson from the practice squad.
So what happened?
According to ESPN AFC West blogger Bill Williamson, Elway said in his Monday morning radio show:
“We thought Brandon was going to be OK. It was quite the surprise to us — and I’m sure to him, too — that it wasn’t feeling very well on Sunday afternoon. We really thought he was going to be fine. The thought process was, ‘OK, do we bring up a wideout or are we going to bring up a running back?’ And on Saturday we knew Knowshon was not going to go, so we really thought Brandon was going.”
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