Sambrailo’s sore shoulder forces Broncos O-line shakeup
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos will try to fix an ailing ground game and 30th-ranked offense behind a shuffled O-line this weekend.
With rookie Ty Sambrailo’s injured left shoulder keeping him out of practice all week, coach Gary Kubiak ruled him out against Minnesota this weekend. He moved Ryan Harris over to left tackle and inserted second-year pro Michael Schofield into the lineup at right tackle, where he’ll make his first career start Sunday.
”I’m definitely excited to get out there finally,” Schofield said.
Harris, an eighth-year pro, exuded a similar zeal.
”I’ll be playing left tackle instead of right, so that’s the change. For me, my preparation is the same. My excitement is the same,” Harris said. ”It has been a dream of mine and it is a dream every time I step on that field and play in the NFL. I get to live my dream again this week.”
Asked if protecting Peyton Manning’s blindside presented any more pressure, Harris deadpanned, ”Why would there be? He’s only like a future Hall of Famer, right?”
”I mean I think all of us on the offensive line have handled that `pressure’ pretty well. It doesn’t matter what side it comes from. You definitely want to protect him,” Harris added. ”Every time we do, good things happen. I think challenges are part of the process and pressure is man-made. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Tyler Polumbus, who signed with Denver on Thursday after being waived by the Atlanta Falcons, will be the swing tackle.
”He is prepared and ready to go. It’s really nice to have a guy come in like that. It’s a great pickup for us because he is so familiar with what we do,” Kubiak said. ”We’re very fortunate from that standpoint.”
Kubiak said Sambrailo’s injury isn’t more serious than thought. ”He just hasn’t made the progress we thought he was going to make,” Kubiak said. ”And so … we’re going to give him the weekend off and start back over Monday and go from there.”
With veteran guards Evan Mathis (hamstring) and Louis Vasquez (knee) also missing time during the week, Friday was the only time the Broncos (3-0) practiced with the five offensive linemen who will start against the Vikings (2-1).
Schofield was inactive his entire rookie season last year but was making a push to win a starting job this offseason until hurting his back early in camp and getting beat out by Harris.
”This is a great opportunity for Michael,” Kubiak said. ”As a player, that’s all you ask for – work, work, work and then someday, OK, hey, here we go. Then you find out.”
No matter who’s up front, the Broncos’ running backs are going to have to do better than they have. The Broncos rank next-to-last in the league with a 57-yard average.
Kubiak said C.J. Anderson remains the starter despite his 2.3-yard average on 32 carries.
”I’ve talked to C.J. When you’re evaluating the running game, we’re talking about being better up front, getting more creases, doing that. That’s a coaches’ thing. We’ve got to create some space for these guys,” Kubiak said. ”Then you go to the backs and you say, `Sometimes you’ve got to create your own space.’
”He’s worked really hard this week. We had a really good, physical practice on Thursday and he responded well in that practice. Sometimes as a back, you’ve got to do a little bit more. You’re in this league to make some plays that nobody else can make sometimes. We’re calling on those guys to do some of that.”
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