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With Jerry Jeudy likely to return vs. Washington, Denver's offense could get needed boost

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos' offense should soon get a much-needed boost.

After missing the last six games, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is expected to return on Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

"I think Jerry's ready to go," Head Coach Vic Fangio said Monday on KOA NewsRadio.

Fangio reiterated Tuesday that the team will monitor Jeudy during the week of practice, but the 2020 15th-overall pick was on the practice field for the Broncos' added Tuesday practice.

"I know what Jerry looks like [when he's] normal, and if that's what we see, he's good to go," Fangio said.

With Jeudy in the fold, an offense that has broken the 20-point mark just once in the last four weeks will regain one of its top playmakers. That could pay dividends in several fashions.

Most notably, there's the impact that Jeudy himself will have as an option for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. In his lone action of the season, Jeudy caught a team-high six passes for 72 yards before exiting on the first possession of the third quarter. Before he suffered his injury, Jeudy was on pace for the third 100-yard game of his career.

Against New York, four of Jeudy's six catches resulted in first downs, and two of the grabs resulted in third-down conversions for the Broncos. Before Jeudy's injury, the Broncos were an efficient 6-of-10 on third down. Since Jeudy exited the game against New York, the Broncos are just 22-of-78 (28.2 percent), which would rank last in the league over the course of the season.

"You've seen that guy," tight end Eric Saubert said Tuesday of Jeudy's return. "He's so explosive and such a help to our team. We're excited to have him back. He's amazing at what he does."

Jeudy's return won't just benefit Bridgewater, though. The talented receiver should also demand enough attention from opposing defenses that it opens up the field for players like Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Noah Fant and the rest of the Broncos' skill players.

"For sure," Saubert said of Jeudy's presence helping the rest of the offense. "How can it not? He's a special player, and you've got to adjust when someone like that's out there."

Fangio echoed the sentiment that a player of Jeudy's caliber could make an impact across the entire offense.

"Any time you can put another good receiver on the field, it helps everybody," Fangio said. "It just does. He's a good route runner, good receiver, catches it well and runs well after the catch. Everything has a domino effect in this game."

Jeudy's participation may be limited — Fangio said Monday it was unrealistic for Jeudy to play every snap vs. Washington — but his impact on the game could be quite pronounced.


General Manager George Paton and the Broncos acquired a pair of linebackers over the last few days, but Fangio said he's unsure whether either inside linebacker Kenny Young or outside linebacker Stephen Weatherly will be available against Washington.

"I'm not sure yet," Fangio said. "Young just got here a few minutes ago, and Weatherly got here yesterday. We'll see how the week progresses. If I was to give you an answer, it's a total guess right now."

Fangio said he hoped Young would be able to play right away after being in a similar defense last season, but he said he wouldn't be able to provide a definite answer until the linebacker participates in practice.

On film, though, Fangio liked what he saw from the former Rams linebacker.

"He's athletic," Fangio said. "He's a playmaker. He's good in coverage and has good instincts. He's been a good player for them."

It's possible Young could enter the Broncos' starting lineup after starting all seven games for the Rams before being traded. Linebacker Baron Browning, who is returning from a concussion, could also be an option as a starter alongside Justin Strnad.

At outside linebacker, Weatherly could see action this weekend, particularly if Von Miller is unable to play.

"That's what this whole week of practice is for," Weatherly said of being ready for this weekend. "I need to go out there and show the coaches that I have an understanding of the playbook. Then after that, it's a really important step to earn the trust of the guys on the field. If the other 10 guys don't trust you to be in your gap to do your assignment, then they're going to hesitate doing their job. This whole week is about showing the coaches that I understand it and proving to my brothers that I can go out there and you don't have to worry about me if my number is called on."

Weatherly described himself as a "physical" player and said he's willing to fill any role on defense or special teams, but he noted that the biggest adjustment this week will be purely mental.

"It's definitely between the ears at this point," Weatherly said.

As Weatherly and Young both aim to get up to speed, Fangio said the extra time in the meeting room will be critical.

"It's tough," said Fangio of acclimating new players during the season. "Obviously, you overdose on meeting time. The practice time is what it is. They just have to do a lot of work. They're going to get a lot of extra meeting time. They're going to have to do a lot of work at home on their own with the [tablets]. [The] good thing about the cell phones and texting [is] you can text a question to a coach at any time. You can video a play and ask a coach a question. Coaches can do the same to them. It's just a lot of extra work, and it's more mental than physical. We'll give them as many reps in practice as we can, but it's not an easy chore."

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