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With Sanders and McKenzie out, the Broncos look to others to step up


Practice preparation is underway for a road game against the Chargers. (Photos by Gabriel Christus)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** As wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie recover from ankle injuries that will sideline them for Sunday's game in Los Angeles, the Broncos are not just hoping their reserve receivers step up in their absence.

They're also confident that they will.

"We still have plenty of other guys," quarterback Trevor Siemian said. "Bennie [Fowler III], Jordan [Taylor], and all of the tight ends — with whoever comes up — I have had plenty of turns with them as well. [WR] Hunter [Sharp] was in there today. With whoever was in camp and OTAs, that's what those reps are for. I feel good about all of those guys really."

There's good reason to believe that, too.

Through 176 passing attempts, Siemian has been more productive when he spreads the ball around this year compared to this point in 2016. The Broncos have eight receivers with at least 50 receiving yards, compared to five a year ago through the same number of Siemian passing attempts.

Jordan Taylor has not yet reached that 50-yard benchmark, but he's had a penchant for making big plays with Siemian under center, and he's ready for that opportunity again.

"[I'm] getting a chance to get out there and [play] a considerable amount of snaps," Taylor said. "So like I said, obviously the circumstances — you hate injuries to be the reason why you're out there playing — but that's the way this business goes. [I'm] looking forward to making the most of those opportunities."

However, you can look beyond just the wide receivers for how Siemian and the offense will adjust the passing game. Tight ends Virgil Green, A.J. Derby and Jeff Heuerman have recorded 280 yards through the air, and running backs C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker have totaled 168 receiving yards.

So will Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy look incorporate those positions into the passing game more this week while missing key weapons?

"You want me to tell them what we're going?" McCoy joked. "We've got a game this weekend to play, right? No, we've got a lot of talented players so we're going to try to spread the wealth as much as we can."

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