There were two huge collective sighs of relief on Monday in Dove Valley.
Receiver Jerry Jeudy and cornerback Pat Surtain II, both of whom exited in the first half with injuries on Sunday against the Texans, will be back soon. Jeudy suffered a rib injury but X-rays came back negative, according to head coach Nathaniel Hackett, while Surtain’s shoulder injury is non-serious.
Both players will be evaluated going forward this week ahead of the Broncos’ Week 3 home game against the 49ers.
“It’s good news for them,” Hackett said. “They’ll be day-to-day. We thought both of those might be bigger and longer injuries, so we’re excited that they’re day-to-day. Not sure if they’ll be available for the game, but we’re hoping and we are crossing our fingers for that. “
With those prognoses, the Broncos don’t have to worry about two of their premier players being shelved for an extended period of time. Safety and defensive captain Justin Simmons is already on the injured list with a quad injury.
Jeudy’s injury was initially called a shoulder injury by the team, but after the 16-9 win over the Texans, head coach Nathaniel Hackett corrected it to a rib injury.
The receiver had one catch for 11 yards on three targets at the time of his injury, which occurred at the six-minute mark of the first quarter. On that trick play, Javonte Williams took the pitch from Russell Wilson, then made a backwards toss to Wilson. The quarterback targeted Jeudy on a 15-yard out route toward the right sideline, where Jeudy was in man coverage with cornerback Steven Nelson.
Nelson made the pass-break up on Jeudy and then drove the receiver’s right shoulder into the ground. Jeudy immediately started writhing in pain on the ground, and after a quick trip into the sideline medical tent, he walked to the locker room.
After a disappointing 2021 in which Jeudy had zero touchdowns, he got off to a fast start in Week 1 with four catches for 102 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Seahawks.
Jeudy also got off to a decent start last year with six catches for 72 yards in a win over the Giants, but suffered a high ankle sprain in the third quarter of that game and had to be carted off the field. He missed the next six games, returning in Week 8, but his season-high di lui was 77 yards in a game and he never found a sustained rhythm.
Surtain was replaced by Damarri Mathis at the 9:10 mark in the second quarter. On the previous play, Surtain was being blocked downfield by Texans receiver Chris Conley, so it’s unclear exactly how the second-year pro was injured. His injury of him adds to early-season secondary depth issues, with Simmons sidelined for at least three more weeks.
After Surtain left the field, the Texans targeted Mathis on two of the next four plays, and quarterback Davis Mills continued to throw his way in the second half. But Mathis held up. The fourth-round pick out of Pittsburgh finished the game with five tackles and a pass break-up.
In other injury updates, inside linebacker Josey Jewell (missed the first two games with a calf injury) and right tackle Billy Turner (yet to make his Broncos debut due to offseason knee surgery) are inching toward their return. It could be Sunday against San Francisco; over the past two weeks, Alex Singleton’s started for Jewel and Cam Fleming has spelled Turner.
“They’re very close (to playing in a game), and we’re hoping they’re both going to practice (full-go),” Hackett said.
Hackett again addressed the team’s sloppy play, a day after committing 13 penalties against Houston to move to a franchise-record 25 penalties through two games.
On Sunday, the Broncos had a situation where a delay of game call turned a field goal opportunity into a punt and another instance where a special teams miscommunication had Montrell Washington on the sideline when he should’ve been back to receive a punt. Hackett said that case was because the defense took too long celebrating following the third-down stop.
“When it comes to (improving) the operations, that’s something we’re talking about quite a bit,” Hackett said. “We’ve got to make sure the communication is clear and concise for all units, and I need to do better at making decisions faster, and quicker, and getting that information to the quarterback … When it comes to Russell (Wilson) and I , it will be a continuous growing process. “