CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian failed to throw during the open media viewing period Wednesday as he races the clock to start Sunday against Atlanta.
Siemian injured his left, non-throwing shoulder when Tampa Bay's Clinton McDonald rag-dolled him to the ground on a second quarter sack last Sunday. Siemian remained in for a play, but exited after trainers diagnosed him with a sprained AC joint. He was available for emergency duty.
Siemian told Denver7 Tuesday he "feels good" about his recovery, and he's approaching this week as if he will start Sunday.
"I think so. That's the way I will go into it," said Siemian, who is taking "mental reps" to prepare for the Falcons. "I haven't done too much. Just doing what (training staff) tells me. I feel better."
Coach Gary Kubiak and Siemian believe he can start without practicing. However, Siemian must show he can protect himself from further injury and be sound enough in his throwing mechanics to compete. Kubiak acknowledged it could be a game-time decision.
While Siemian's status hangs in doubt, two key players are close to returning. Tight end Virgil Green and right tackle Donald Stephenson practiced Wednesday in drill work after missing the past two games with strained left calves.
Green stressed confidence Monday that he would be cleared, admitting he's "losing his mind" doing rehab.
Stephenson has made gradual progress, remaining on track. He missed 10 days during training camp with a similar injury, so projecting him to start this week becomes more realistic.
"It definitely feels better," Stephenson told Denver7. "But Thursday will be a big test. I have to listen to the trainers and be honest with them. I want to play. But we don't any setbacks, either."
The Broncos have missed both in the running game. They rank 14th in rushing yards per game at 105.8, and have lost almost a yard per carry over the past two wins.
"We need to try and be more physical than we have been," said running back C.J. Anderson, who has 234 yards on 54 carries.
John Phillips and Ty Sambrailo started at tight end and right tackle, respectively. Sambrailo showed improvement in the second half last week in only his second NFL game at right tackle.
If Siemian is not cleared by the training staff, Paxton Lynch would make his first start. Using half-field reads and trusting his ability to roll out, the Broncos put Lynch in a nice position to succeed against Tampa Bay. He responded, completing 14 of 24 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. The other issue to consider is the schedule. The Broncos play next Thursday night at San Diego. Rushing Siemian back too soon could place his status in jeopardy for the critical AFC West road game.
"I am more comfortable with my footwork," Lynch said. "And it helps having so many veterans. They were rookies once and they know we have a lot our plate. I will keep preparing like I am going to play."
Cornerback Kayvon Webster (hamstring) was not practicing. He told Denver7 on Monday he expected to practice on Thursday. He is a key contributor on special teams. ... Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on what makes Von Miller so dangerous. "He's extremely fast. He has multiple moves. He's relentless. That's the other thing you see. He's super talented and plays through the whistle." ... Broncos safety T.J. Ward won't face his brother Terron, a running back for Atlanta, this Sunday. He made the Falcons' roster but then joined the practice squad to make room for a linebacker. Terron is expected to travel to Denver for the game even if he's not with the team as the Wards will have plenty of family in attendance. ... Broncos star Von Miller traded with former Texas A&M star Mike Evans in his latest jersey exchange. He filmed the jerseys Wednesday on Snapchat with the Aggies fight song providing the sound track. ... Lynch received the football for his first touchdown. It was a special day for the rookie because his family was in attendance. "They didn't know I was going to play obviously. I didn't know. It was great having them there with the way it worked out," Lynch said. ... Linebacker Todd Davis was fined $18,231 for a horse collar tackle last Sunday. He is appealing and hopes to have the financial hit dramatically reduced.
Want Broncos news? Denver7 Broncos insider Troy E. Renck is your source. He talks to the players, covers the games and reports scoops on Denver7 and the Denver7 app. He is a CU grad who has covered pro sports in Colorado since 1996, including 14 years at The Denver Post. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and TheDenverChannel.com’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at Troy.Renck@kmgh.com.