CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Bennie Fowler continues to make progress. Jeff Heuerman feels better. But improvement is measured in degrees in the NFL, and neither appears ready to play Thursday after not practicing for a second straight day.
Fowler's absence was anticipated. He broke a bone in his elbow in the preseason opener at Chicago. He predicted he would return in the preseason, but ambition got the best of him. The bone required healing, and his role is demanding as a receiver and on special teams. Heuerman hoped last Thursday he would be ready for the Carolina game. However, his absence the past two days suggests otherwise.
With Fowler likely out, it creates more reps for Cody Latimer, recovered from a left knee injury, and Jordan Taylor, who made the team after eclipsing 100-yards receiving in the preseason finale. Coach Gary Kubiak praised the work of veteran tight end John Phillips. He nearly "broke his ankle," on his first day of training camp after signing this summer, Kubiak revealed, but finished strong. Phillips spent the open locker room period studying game film.
Roby will appeal
Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby said he will appeal the $24,309 fine for his hit on Los Angeles receiver Duke Williams in the third preseason game. Roby struck Williams after he missed the pass. It put Roby in a tough position because if Williams had caught the on-target ball, the hit would have likely been legal.
Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who missed the preseason as he recovered from a bulging disc injury in his back, is set to go on Thursday. The Broncos will have him on a play count, but expect him to be a force as a situational pass rusher.
... Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips remains disappointed for Vance Walker (knee), who is lost for the season. However, he is encouraged by the play of Jared Crick. Crick started for Phillips in Houston. He is likely to be spelled by Darius Kilgo, who enjoyed a strong camp at defense tackle and end. Phillips said the defense is ready to get after it after playing on 30 play in the preseason.