Pritchard: The Denver Broncos don’t have a No. 1 wide receiver
Next man up after Emmanuel Sanders tore his Achilles in practice last week meant rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton stepping up into the top roles for the Denver Broncos.
But in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, “Pritchard and Cecil” co-host Mike Pritchard said it was readily apparent that the Broncos no longer have a top receiving target.
“They don’t have a No. 1 guy. That’s it,” Pritchard said. “They had a No. 1 guy. It was Emmanuel Sanders. He’s hurt. He tore his Achilles.”
Sutton, who slid from the No. 2 wide receiver to No. 1 with Sanders’ injury had a disappointing day while battling through a bruised thigh, catching just two passes on six targets for 14 yards.
“He was trying to play through that. He was clearly injured and he was sucking it up because they didn’t have anybody else,” Pritchard said. “He was neutralized. He was ineffective after that.”
Behind Sutton, Hamilton caught seven passes on nine targets, but Pritchard said most of the passes thrown to him were “possession type plays because he’s that guy.”
Hamilton averaged just 6.7 yards per reception.
Pritchard’s co-host, Cecil Lammey, suggested that perhaps the true No. 1 receiver Sunday was first-year pro Tim Patrick, who led the team with 10 targets, seven receptions, and 85 yards.
“You know what I loved yesterday, though, was the heart, the fire, the energy, and the passion from Tim Patrick. Because I didn’t see other guys playing like that,” Lammey said.
But Pritchard brushed that notion away, saying really all the Broncos have are “rookies that are trying to learn this game and play as if they’re not rookies.”
“Now they have rookies. They have rookies that need to make plays. That’s it,” Pritchard said. “They don’t have a No. 1 guy. That has not surfaced, in terms of who’s going to be the No. 1 guy.”
After the game, head coach Vance Joseph said the “young” group of wide receivers “did fine” against the 49ers.
“It’s a group that Case (Keenum) trusts. Obviously, they’re young and they’ll play better and better as we go,” Joseph said.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.