CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Three clumsy weeks intersected with hope on Thursday. Russell Okung participated in light drill work as he makes steady progress in the concussion protocol. For a team that has sank from fourth to 19th in rushing yards per game, the Broncos need Okung healthy. He did not play well in the loss to San Diego, but has been consistent otherwise and serves as the group's veteran leader.
His workout coincided with the return of center Matt Paradis. Paradis told Denver7 this week he was fine, simply receiving rest. He is the only NFL player to play every offensive snap the past two seasons. The Broncos have not adjusted well to replacements this season along the line. The running game's spiral coincided with the left calf injury to right tackle Donald Stephenson. Ty Sambrailo struggled, and he would be in line, by depth chart, to replace Okung if the veteran can't go.
Tight end Virgil Green returned against San Diego after missing three games. It was expected to improve the performance, but the Broncos were admittedly out of sync. He said the effort made him "angry" and ready to rebound.
"For the majority of watching film, miscommunication. Guys aren’t on the same page and that’s what we have to do. In the first four games, when we’re communicating well, things are going well," Green said. "We just have to get back to that and stick to that.”
Coach Gary Kubiak expressed disappointment not as much in the losses, but the fashion. They fell the same way to the Falcons and Chargers. They started slowly defensively, and couldn't run the ball, leaving them an easy mark. Kubiak indicated running back Devontae Booker, who was arguably the Broncos' best offensive player against San Diego, will receive more opportunities. But for the offense to shake out of its funk, it will require a reboot across the board.
"Offensively we’ve been really struggling, struggling up front and having a bunch of penalties. We have to play better. That’s the NFL. For four weeks we had it going on and for the last two we don’t," coach Kubiak said. "We have to get back to work. That’s our focus today. We’re honest with our mistakes."
Broncos receiver Cody Latimer continues to make progress in concussion protocol, but was not at practice during the open viewing period. ... The Broncos six third-quarter points rank tied for last with the Packers and Browns. ... Denver's minus-28 differential in the first quarter is the worst in the NFL.
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