The Denver Broncos are only one season removed from having won Super Bowl 50, but now they find themselves struggling to find a consistent answer at quarterback.
But while Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian battle it out for that starting job, it appears the Broncos will have to find an answer on the defensive side of the ball.
On Saturday, veteran defensive end Derek Wolfe was carted off the practice field with an injury to his right ankle.
Vance Joseph, who is in his first season as Denver’s head coach, and his staff are operating with a sort of blind optimism until they get clarification on the degree of Wolfe’s injury.
“We’re not sure how bad,” Joseph said. “We’re kind of assuming it’s not that bad.”
Wolfe, who recorded half a sack and three tackles in Super Bowl 50, has totaled 22.5 sacks and 137 tackles through 69 games in five seasons.
He was a second-round draft pick by the Broncos in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Cincinnati.
As long as Wolfe is out, expect Denver to look for increased production from Jared Crick, Adam Gotsis, Zach Kerr, Shakir Soto, and 2017 second-round draft pick DeMarcus Walker, who recored 27 sacks in four seasons at Florida State.
Wolfe isn’t the first defensive starter to get bitten by the injury bug recently. Outside linebacker Shane Ray is out with a torn right wrist ligament. Defensive tackle Kyle Peko is recovering from a broken foot. And strong safety T.J. Ward has missed time due to a hamstring injury.