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Fangio plans to play most starters vs. Seattle. Will that include Chubb, Sutton?

Chubb appears ready for game; Sutton working way back into form
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Posted at 2:05 PM, Aug 17, 2021

ENGLEWOOD -- The preseason creates fascinating juxtapositions. We cannot wait for the games. Then after one, we are ready for the regular season to begin.

The NFL boasts three contests -- and while several teams will only play reserves -- Broncos coach Vic Fangio employs a hybrid model. He will continue to play most offensive starters, and after sitting the top group against Minnesota, many 1s should go defensively in Seattle on Saturday night.

Will that include Pro Bowl outside linebacker Bradley Chubb? He's ready if asked, eager to test out his ankle after having bone chips removed in the offseason.

"I am about 98 percent. I would say the next two percent will come the next two weeks. I really don't know if I will play. If my number is called I will be ready. Or I will help the young guys. Either way I am going to be ready to go," Chubb said. "Honestly, I just want some action. It doesn't matter when it comes. It could come this week, next week. I want to test the ankle. I want to have a clear head going into the season. Whatever coach decides, I am trusting the trainers and controlling what I can I can control."

While most starters usually sit in the preseason finale, this summer remains different. There are only three exhibitions, leaving two weeks idle before the season opener Sept. 12 at the New York Giants. It leaves the crease open to play Chubb and Courtland Sutton against the Rams, creating more time to build up strength with plenty of recovery time left. However, the Rams will not boast any starters, so the Broncos would be exposing arguably two of their top stars against players fighting for rosters spots.

Sutton, however, does not appear ready to play this week. He continues to work back into form after ACL surgery last September. He failed to run under a beautiful long pass by Lock on Tuesday. He might have lost it in the sun, but he lacked his traditional burst. It doesn't mean it won't be there for the season opener, but suggests he is clearing final hurdles. Fangio said it's "possible" Sutton plays this week, but it is "not guaranteed."

Sutton planned to play in one game before camp began.

"I am curious to go in and see the tape," Fangio said. "Hopefully, in next few weeks he will take a big step forward and feel comfortable and rarin’ to go."

Added Chubb, who returned from his second ACL surgery last season, "I check Courtland's pulse every now and then to see how he's feeling. He's a different position, so he's cutting a lot more than me. He's changing direction and speeding up and slowing it down. I try to tell him everything that worked for me. He's been looking good. Those game reps and live reps will get him where he needs to be."

It was a clunky day offensively, with errant passes and drops. Lock won the day as Bridgewater rode the struggle bus for long stretches. It feels like Bridgewater needs a strong performance vs. Seattle to secure the job given Lock's outing at Minnesota. Again, it could come down to a philosophical decision of whether to go with a veteran/game manager or a drafted prospect with a higher upside. ...

Cornerback Pat Surtain sat out most of practice with soreness in "a lower extremity," per Fangio, but it was as a precaution. ...

Rookie linebacker Baron Browning declined to reveal the leg injury that kept him from practicing, but he's happy to be back. "I am ready to spray WD-40 on it and tackle somebody right now," said Browning, who is being eased back into the mix at inside linebacker. ...

According. Fangio, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (knee) could have played last week and has done “great” with his rehab. ...

With Mike Boone out, the Broncos made roster moves, waiving LeVante Bellamy (ankle) with an injury designation and signing speedy RB/WR Adrian Killins. They also cut cornerback Rojesterman Farris II, inside linebacker Peter Kalambayi and defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal Jr. Others waived with injury designations: wide receiver DeVontres Dukes and defensive tackle Deyon Sizer, a former star at CSU-Pueblo. ...

Diontae Spencer, who had a strong day, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler worked with Lock, Bridgewater and Brett Rypien after practice. ...

Chubb said of his practice scuffle with Garett Bolles earlier in camp. "Iron sharpens iron. We had the scuffle, but brothers do that. I am a little brother, so that was my main thing getting under my brother's skin. At the end of the day, we are fighting for that same goal, to win a Super Bowl."

The Broncos and UCHealth will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Thursday’s final preseason practice from 7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Appointments are not required. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be used. Wednesday, the team will hold its annual Alzheimer's Awareness Day.