ENGLEWOOD — Already demoralized by back-to-back losses, a compromised Broncos team will face the Chargers on Sunday because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Denver added outside linebackers Bradley Chubb and Jonathon Cooper, inside linebacker Baron Browning, defensive lineman McTelvin Agim and receiver Jerry Jeudy to the reserve list on Friday. That brings the total to 13 players in three days, including seven starters: cornerback Bryce Callahan, nose tackle Mike Purcell (could return for Sunday), Browning, Chubb, receiver Tim Patrick, right tackle Bobby Massie and Jeudy.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio said receiver Courtland Sutton could be added to list as well on Saturday after testing, leaving 11 sidelined on the 53-man roster. Defensive line coach Bill Kollar is also out with COVID, replaced by assistant Mike Hiestand.
"It's a no excuse league. And we are not going to use any. We’re going to play a game on Sunday and we’re expecting to win," Fangio said. "Our guys attitude during the walkthrough today was tremendous.”
Fangio indicated that there has been no talk of postponing the game, nor has he let his mind go there even if it would help the Broncos. He explained that they would make adjustments on both sides of the ball to fit the personnel, which will include reserve receivers Kendall Hinton and practice squader Seth Williams and cornerback Michael Ojemudia.
"I am bullish on those guys who will get their chance," Fangio said.
At outside linebacker, Aaron Patrick will receive additional reps. And Andre Mintze could return from the COVID list. Browning was capable at helping at outside linebacker, a position he manned at times at Ohio State. He's out. That means it's likely Jonas Griffith paired with Micah Kizer inside.
The Broncos elevated the following players from the practice squad: running back Damarea Crockett, Williams, receiver Travis Fulgham and outside linebacker Pita Taumoepenu.
I texted with Chubb to see how he felt.
"Nothing crazy. Just tired," Chubb told Denver7.
Friday's players join outside linebacker Stephen Weatherly, offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, safety Caden Sterns and special teams cornerback Mike Ford. The Broncos will be using their third team right tackle in Quinn Bailey.
The Broncos are also without quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who might not play again this season after suffering his second concussion against the Bengals. Drew Lock will make his second straight start.
The Broncos have had 32 players and two coaches land on the COVID list over the past two-plus months.