The Broncos' preparation for the Bengals is underway. (Photos by Gabriel Christus unless noted)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** A.J. Derby and Jeff Heuerman, who missed the week's practices with shoulder and knee injuries, respectively, were ruled out for Sunday's game, leaving Virgil Green as the Broncos' lone healthy tight end on the active roster available against the Bengals.
Head Coach Vance Joseph said the team is exploring all options to go into the game with a second tight end, but he wouldn't comment on whether that meant the Broncos would sign someone to the active roster or simply play a tackle at tight end.
"It's tough to just do that without having a spot, so we've got to find a spot if that's the way we're going to go," said Joseph of potentially signing a tight end.
Joseph added that although he has confidence in Green's ability to play the entire game, he said that they wouldn't go into the game with only him playing the position.
"He's a pro's pro," Joseph said of Green. "He's a tough guy, smart guy. He can catch the ball, but you need more than two, so we have to figure out a solution, whether it's going to be a tackle playing a big tight end for us, or bringing someone up. It'll be two guys, so not sure who those two guys are going to be."
That big tight end could be Donald Stephenson, who has missed recent weeks with a calf injury. Joseph said Stephenson is listed as questionable for Sunday, but he expects the sixth-year tackle to be available.
"He's practiced all week, and he should be up and running for the game," Joseph said.
The only other player listed on the injury report for Sunday's game is Cody Latimer, who is battling knee and Achilles tendon injuries.
Paxton Lynch, who continues to make progress in his recovery from a preseason shoulder injury, could be available for the first time this season. Lynch received first-team practice repetitions on pass plays on Wednesday as Brock Osweiler recovered from a right shoulder injury.
"That's still being discussed," Joseph said. "But he practiced all week. He looked fine, so we'll see."
However, Joseph noted that he would only make two quarterbacks active on Sunday.