ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In the wake of a season-ending pectoral injury to inside linebacker Alexander Johnson, the Broncos have promoted linebackers Curtis Robinson and Barrington Wade to the active roster to bolster their depth at the position.
The team also placed Johnson and outside linebacker Andre Mintze (hamstring) on injured reserve, released wide receiver David Moore and signed outside linebacker Pita Taumoepenu to the practice squad. After the moves, the Broncos' active roster has one open spot.
Robinson, a rookie who joined the Broncos as an undrafted player out of Stanford, had been on the practice squad since the start of the regular season. He was elevated for Denver's Week 4 game against the Ravens and contributed 17 snaps on special teams.
Head Coach Vic Fangio said Tuesday that he expects Robinson to grow into that role on special teams as a member of the active roster.
"He was up two weeks ago, I believe it was, and did a good job in the kicking game," Fangio said. "With the injuries that we've sustained, he's going to have to be a major contributor to the special teams, and we're confident if he has to play defense, he'll be able to go in there and know what to do."
Wade, who joined the Broncos in August, has been on the practice squad since the start of the regular season and has yet to appear in a regular-season game.
With Johnson joining fellow starting inside linebacker Josey Jewell on injured reserve, the Broncos will continue to rely on their depth going forward, including fourth-year linebacker Micah Kiser.
Kiser, who joined the Broncos less than a month ago, appeared in 26 games during his previous time with the Rams. In 2020, he started all nine games in which he appeared and totaled 77 tackles, three passes defensed, one forced fumble and one quarterback hit.
"He's done a hell of a job in preparing himself since he's gotten here," Fangio said. "He's a very smart player, very prideful, has good football knowledge and instincts. Trust me: He's doing anything and everything he can to be ready."
Johnson, whom Fangio said will not return this season, started 34 of the Broncos' 38 games over the last three seasons. He finishes the year with 32 tackles, two sacks, three passes defensed and one fumble recovery.
Taumoepenu competed with the Broncos through training camp and has seven games of NFL experience dating back to 2017.
Moore did not have a catch in two games with the Broncos.
The Broncos also protected three practice-squad players ahead of Thursday's game against the Browns: Taumoepenu and wide receivers John Brown and Tyrie Cleveland.