After two brutal injuries, Hackett challenges his other players to step up
The Denver Broncos didn’t just lose a football game on Sunday.
They also lost two key players. Running back Javonte Williams is done for the year after suffering a brutal knee injury. Edge-rusher Randy Gregory survived an ACL scare, but will still need a scope on his knee. He will be out several weeks.
At his press conference on Monday, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett spoke about the bad injury news. And he made it clear, the team has to move on and other players need to fill those voids.
“This is part of football, it’s a physical game. We can’t deny there’s certain things we can’t control. As a team, we’re going to band together and we’re going to step it up and get better. Whoever has the opportunity to go in has to embrace it and be excited for it and play the best they’ve ever played,” Hackett said.
At running back, that obviously means Mike Boone and the much-maligned Melvin Gordon, who had yet another awful fumble on Sunday. At pass-rusher, it will likely be Baron Browning, who showed several promising flashes in the preseason.
Aside from that, the schedule makers did the Broncos no favors with the timing of this one. They will host the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night, with a very quick turnaround. Every team has to do it, but the Thursday game being this week of all weeks is rough.
“First and foremost, it’s about preparation. They have to understand how much mental it is,” Hackett said. “They’re going to really have to lock in from a mental perspective. And then, take care of their bodies. I mean we just had a battle yesterday versus the Raiders and now we’ve got another one right around the corner.”
Asked if he’s a fan of the NFL playing on Thursdays, in this case, Hackett said he embraces it. The Broncos have a chance to wash the bad taste of their mouths quickly.
“I, personally, hey we lost, so you want to get back on the field and prove yourself again. I think all of us as a team we want to get back out there and go back to work. It’s a close turnaround, that’s part of it, and we’re excited to get back out on the field,” Hackett said.
So, the challenge is very clear. Guys need to step up and they need to do it quickly. Indy will be in town in just about 72 short hours.