Saturday night’s preseason meeting with the Seattle Seahawks could not have gone any more horrifically for the Denver Broncos. Wes Welker, Peyton Manning and the usual great suspects played just fine, but a rash of injuries hit this already growing mountain.
In the contest, Welker suffered an sprained ankle and Champ Bailey a sprained foot among other more minor personnel issues. Welker should be just fine for his regular-season Broncos debut but Bailey’s availability for September is now in question.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted: “On
#Broncos CB Champ Bailey: I’m told it’s a serious foot sprain. Could take several weeks to heal. Several weeks better than several months.”
Don’t count this injury as insignificant just because Bailey’s on the wrong side of 35 and Denver invested heavily in players that have played the cornerback position this offseason. Veteran free-agent additions like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who is currently nursing a high-ankle sprain, and Quentin Jammer played nowhere close to Bailey’s level of quality in 2012. Bailey’s Pro Football Focus cornerback grade ranked him 10th while DRC and Jammer landed at 98th and 107th, respectively.
Jammer seems a better fit for safety at this point in his career and DRC has yet to return, but is expected to play in the Broncos’ Week 3 preseason contest against the St. Louis Rams on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. Then Tony Carter sits next on the depth chart, giving them additional aid if Bailey is to miss any extended period of time.
Carter actually ranked 28th in PFF’s CB rankings in 558 snaps for 2012, but Bailey returning healthy is still absolutely critical for the Broncos defense.