ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) – The Broncos have lost inside linebacker Justin Strnad to a wrist injury for the season. The fifth round pick out of Wake Forest was intriguing, in that he was seen as kind of a hybrid inside backer/safety. Big and long enough to cover tight ends as an ILB, but flexible enough to use in other packages as a safety. He was the most serious casualty on Monday, but not the only one: add four other front-liners to the growing list of those out with soft tissue injuries (soreness, pulled muscles, etc.)
“Already this year, practicing less than we did a year ago at this time, we’ve had more (soft tissue injuries) than we had the entire season last year,” groused head coach Vic Fangio. “I think there were some flaws in the way that we (the NFL) set up the acclimation period.”
It’s actually forced the Broncos to change the type of practice they had today.
“That wasn’t the practice we had planned for today, that was a practice we were going to run later in the week. I knew we were going to have to do some adjusting along the way,” said Fangio. “Today was an example of that.”
All this after six other NFL teams had to alter practices yesterday when 77 COVID-19 tests were returned positive from a New Jersey lab. The tests all turned out to be ‘false positives,’ but after seeing the reaction from the league Fangio said he though it was handled well.
“I learned a long time ago not to worry about things you can’t control. All we can control is to educate and emphasize to our guys what they need to do to mitigate this virus.”
He moved linebacker Justin Hollins inside to help with the glut of injuries at that position and nine days into practice is learning more about improvisation than he’d care to.
“It’s a fine line we have to juggle every day,” said Fangio. “We have to push the envelope as much as we can, but always be ready to adjust like we did today.”
The condensed nature of this training camp is putting the onus of doing the basics well, with the hope you can expand the playbook as the season progresses.