Starting right tackle Elijah Wilkinson suffered a fractured shin bone and is headed to injured reserve, coach Vic Fangio said. Demar Dotson will take his place as the starter at the position beginning Thursday night in New York.
Denver signed Dotson, 34, on Aug. 11 to give the Broncos more depth at the position after would-be starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James opted out of the season. Dotson had 106 regular-season starts across 10 seasons in Tampa Bay, which didn’t re-sign the 6-foot-9, 315-pound free agent in the offseason.
Fangio is confident that the player the Buccaneers didn’t want will now help an offensive line that’s given up 13 sacks and 29 quarterback hits in the past two games combined. Dotson has yet to play in a game this season.
“He’s looked good (in practice),” Fangio said. “He’s obviously an experienced player — he’s played right tackle for probably 10,000 snaps in his league. We feel good about putting him in there, and he had a good camp with us. He’s a (heck) of a good guy and a (heck) of a teammate — smart, experienced. We expect him to play well.”
Practice squad call-ups. With Jurrell Casey (torn bicep) on injured reserve and Wilkinson headed that way, the Broncos have six injured starters, not including running back Phillip Lindsay, who has missed the last two games with a toe injury but might return on a snap count Thursday against the Jets.
Correspondingly, Fangio said tackle Jake Rodgers, who made one start at right tackle last year, will be called up from the practice squad to the active roster for more offensive line depth. Deyon Sizer (who played at Eaglecrest and then CSU-Pueblo) will also get called up for more defensive line depth.
Special teams update. Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon, who described his unit’s play in the Week 2 loss in Pittsburgh as “terrible with a capital T,” again took blame for a punting gaffe that set the tone early in the Week 3 loss to Tampa Bay.
On Denver’s opening drive, the Buccaneers blocked a punt for the first time in over four years when Pat O’Connor came nearly untouched up the middle and into the backfield. McMahon declined to discuss the protection breakdown that led to the block, instead saying “I’ve got to do a better job.”
“There’s three letters when it comes to the fault there and it’s T-O-M,” McMahon said. “We’ve got to be ready on that on game day and it comes down to me.”
McMahon also discussed the returner role. Diontae Spencer is in his second season as the Broncos’ starter at the position, and this season he’s averaged 7.8 yards over four punt returns and 19 yards across two kickoff returns. But rookie wideouts K.J. Hamler and Jerry Jeudy will also likely see time at returner over the course of the rest of the season.
“Everyone keeps developing and it’s a great competition, and those guys compete every day,” McMahon said. “I think eventually, we’ll see all of those guys (this year).”
Practice report. From Tuesday’s practice at the UCHealth Training Center, linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu (quad), cornerback Davontae Harris (hamstring) and running back Phillip Lindsay (toe) were all limited. Cornerback Bryce Callahan (wrist), defensive lineman Shelby Harris (neck and quad), safety Kareem Jackson (back) and safety Trey Marshall (Wrist) were all full-go.