CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- When Gary Kubiak's offense functions at optimal performance, one characteristic exists: two tight end formations. Kubiak loves to employ the alignment because it allows different plays to look the same, to say nothing of how it advances the running game.
Through two weeks, the Broncos rank fourth in rushing yards (282) and seventh in yards per carry (4.70). However, the tight end position represents a growing concern. Virgil Green did not practice Thursday during open viewing period for the second straight day, making it a race for his right calf to heal in time for Sunday's game at Cincinnati. Trevor Siemian has targeted Green eight times, or 14 percent of his attempts. Green has seven catches for 74 yards. He caught only 12 passes last year. But his absence remains unnerving since no other tight end on the roster has caught a pass or been targeted.
If Green can't go, Jeff Heuerman is expected to make his NFL debut. Veteran John Phillips could get the start, but he profiles more as a blocking threat.
"It's about time," Heuerman of his long wait to contribute after tearing his ACL his rookie year and missing most of camp with hamstring and ankle problems. "I need to get in there and make some plays and help the team win on the road."
Heuerman has played at Paul Brown Stadium, participating in a spring game for Ohio State. Heuerman represents an intriguing option in the passing game, standing 6-foot-5, 255 pounds.
Linebacker Corey Nelson, who hurt his ankle in the win over the Colts, returned to practice.