ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos will be without two of their top offensive weapons for the foreseeable future.
Wide receiver Courtland Sutton will miss the remainder of the 2020 season with a knee injury, and quarterback Drew Lock will be out multiple weeks with an injury to his throwing shoulder, Head Coach Vic Fangio announced Monday.
Defensive end Dre'Mont Jones will also miss an estimated four weeks, and defensive end DeMarcus Walker will miss "some time" with a calf injury, Fangio said.
Cornerback Davontae Harris was still being evaluated for a hamstring injury when Fangio addressed the media Monday, but he could also miss a game or two.
Sutton suffered his season-ending injury while attempting to tackle Joe Haden after the Steelers cornerback grabbed an interception near the end of the second quarter. The wide receiver entered the game listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, but Fangio said he wouldn't expect Sutton to avoid making the tackle to prevent an injury.
"I don't know that you can play the game that way," Fangio said. "It sounds good, but when those guys are out there playing, they're playing on instincts. They're playing on experience. They intercepted the ball. It's Courtland's instincts and natural reaction to go and try and tackle the guy. I don't know that you can get around that. It's easier for a quarterback who throws a pick to kind of stay out of the fray. I don't know about for the receivers and everybody else that's right in the middle of it."
Fangio said the Broncos do not plan to add another receiver to the roster, as they currently have seven receivers on the active roster. Rookies Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler combined for seven catches for 110 yards in the loss to the Steelers.
Lock, meanwhile, suffered his injury while trying to extend a play on the Broncos' second drive. After initially dodging T.J. Watt, Lock stumbled and was driven into the ground by Bud Dupree. He left the game and did not return.
Fangio said Monday that Lock would be out anywhere from "three to four to five weeks, all dependent on the healing process." The Broncos' head coach added that Lock did not have any structural damage.
"He just got a bad bruise there, and when it's your throwing shoulder, it's going to take time to heal," Fangio said. "It's got to calm down [and] get his strength back to where he fully has it and he can operate at 100 percent."
Asked whether Lock needs to change his style of play to avoid injury — Lock was placed on IR early last season after suffering a thumb injury during a preseason game — Fangio focused on the specifics of the Week 2 play.
"He could've stepped up and executed and stayed with the play a little bit longer, and then once you start scrambling and any time you hit the ground, you're always in danger of getting hurt, particularly at quarterback where the shoulders or anything to your throwing arm can happen," Fangio said.
Jeff Driskel is expected to start in Lock's absence in Week 3, and Brett Rypien should be added from the practice squad to serve as the team's backup. Fangio said the Broncos would be hard-pressed to bring in another quarterback for this week.
"That's the one thing about these [testing] protocols that we have found out the hard way here," Fangio said. "Even if we were to bring a guy in today, they're not going to be eligible to come and partake in meetings or practice until Friday or Saturday because they have to pass so many days of tests before they're allowed in the building. That's one of the downsides of this that us and other clubs are feeling."
Asked specifically about free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Fangio said he had not discussed signing the former San Francisco 49er with President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway.
"His name hasn't come up in the brief discussions I've had with John at this point," Fangio said. "I'm sure John and Matt [Russell] will work hard to bring somebody in here that they think will be the best fit."
Despite the extensive list of injuries — Von Miller and A.J. Bouye were previously placed on injured reserve, and Phillip Lindsay remains out with a toe injury — Fangio said the Broncos will "get through it" and continue to compete.
"I'm disappointed for the players that have gotten injured," Fangio said. "It's never good to get injured on an individual, personal basis. It does have a negative effect on the team. I'm not going to insult anybody's intelligence that losing the types of players and the amount of players that we've lost doesn't have some type of effect. We do have good players here in the building still. They're going to come rally [and] look at it as an opportunity for them to go out and play good [and] show what they've got. We're going to get them ready as a coaching staff."