Denver Post Broncos writer Ryan O’Halloran posts his Broncos Mailbag weekly during the season. Submit questions to Ryan here.
Ryan, will we see many starters play much during preseason? I’d love to see our shiny new quarterback in action with the receiving corps.
— Mike, Denver
To be determined as I type this Monday afternoon. I wouldn’t expect any concrete answers until later in the week about Russell Wilson and others seeing time against the Buffalo Bills.
Myself and columnist Mark Kiszla debated the merits — or non-merits — of the Broncos playing their starters against Buffalo or Minnesota in the exhibition season.
My take: I don’t need to see running back Javonte Williams or receivers Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy on the field this month. But shouldn’t Wilson get a few possessions behind his new offensive line to make sure the live-action communication is on point? I believe so.
With Jonas Griffith out, do you see the Broncos going out to re-sign Alexander Johnson? The guy was pretty darn good before going on injured reserve last year. I’m honestly surprised no one’s picked him up yet.
— Donald, Fort Collins
Griffith sustained a left elbow injury against Dallas and the provided timetable was 4-6 weeks, which makes him iffy for the Sept. 12 opener at Seattle. The Broncos signed veteran Joe Schobert before Monday’s practice so that would rule out bringing Johnson back.
Johnson tore his pectoral last Oct. 17 against Las Vegas so he should be 100% to join another team, but that was probably the hold-up this spring.
Who stood out for you on Saturday? For me, Baron Browning looked like a stud out there. And what do you think about Max Borghi making the squad? He’s got a ways to go to prove himself — four carries for 10 yards isn’t going to do it.
— Ron, Parker
Browning had a sack so I agree with you on him standing out. A few other players:
Defensive lineman Matt Henningsen had a hit on quarterback Cooper Rush during a pass that was intercepted by safety P.J. Locke.
The receivers flashed. Seth Williams and Kendall Hinton had touchdowns and Brandon Johnson and Jalen Virgil had four catches/64 yards and three catches/83 yards, respectively.
Borghi is a long-shot to make the roster. The Broncos are likely to keep three tailbacks (Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone) and one hybrid fullback-tight end (Andrew Beck). But Borghi should expect a lot of carries in the next two games.
Is this a make-it-or-break-it season for Jerry Jeudy? He’s been pretty, well, I wouldn’t say bad, but pretty mediocre since we drafted him. With our long-term deals for Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick, is there room for him on the roster if he doesn’t perform this year?
— Marshall, Parker
Jeudy isn’t in a make-or-break season in terms of his 2023 status. He currently counts $4,834,123 on next year’s salary cap so there is plenty of room for him, Sutton ($14 million) and Patrick ($11,571,666).
Where Jeudy is facing a critical year is his next contract. If he plays better than his first two years, the Broncos will likely pick up his fifth-year option, which could eventually lead to a long-term contract. If he doesn’t produce to expectations, Jeudy could see his option declined and a true make-or-break year in ’23.
What’s the air around Dove Valley these days? Does it feel any different from years past with the new ownership?
— M.M., Wheat Ridge
Maybe I’m too cynical, but being at the Broncos during camp is the same as it’s been in the last four years. Fans show up and get autographs. Players work hard. Coaches instruct. The same stuff.
The new ownership group was in the facility last week and met with team employees so their stamp on the business won’t be felt for some time.
That said, talk to people who work in the building and they say the vibe is much more energized.
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Hey Ryan, I missed the game. How did Nik Bonitto and Greg Dulcich look out there? And what’s the depth chart look like at receiver now that Tim Patrick is out for the year? Thanks, love your stuff.
— Micah Smith, Los Angeles
Dulcich’s hamstring kept him out of the Dallas game. Bonitto played 31 snaps and was credited with one tackle. No real judgment on how he played.
The receiver depth chart is very interesting after a top three of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler.
Montrell Washington will get the No. 4 spot if he wins the punt/kick returner job, as I expect him to.
If the Broncos keep five receivers, I think Kendall Hinton is the favorite. If they keep six, Hinton and one from the group of Seth Williams, Brandon Johnson and Jalen Virgil could be the choice.
A subplot is if Hamler (knee) starts the year on injured reserve, which means he’s out a minimum of three games. That could allow Williams, Johnson or Virgil to start the year as the fifth receiver.