Tim Patrick had a very unfortunate non-contact season-ending injury on Tuesday during the Broncos first padded practice. As Broncos Country sends it’s wishes on a healthy recovery to Patrick; the big question is who will fill that void for this Denver offense?
Tim Patrick’s Injury
Tuesday during the Broncos’ sixth training camp practice WR Tim Patrick went up for a ball thrown by Russell Wilson against CB Essang Bassey, Patrick came down with the ball after a spectacular catch to turn upfield. After about two steps, his right leg buckled. The whole team gathered around as they feared for what eventually was confirmed Patrick had torn his ACL. He was not the only player who ended up with a torn ACL from that practice, RB Damarea Crockett also tore his ACL. We send the best wishes to both of them, as this is clearly a tough pill to swallow as the season is just getting started.
What It Means For The Broncos Offense
It is tough to tell halfway through camp who is a favorite target for new QB Russell Wilson. But one thing is certain; losing Patrick will be somewhat of a blow for this offense. Going into his fifth year with the team, he certainly exceeded expectations after coming out of Utah undrafted. He had a solid 2021-22 season with 53 catches for 734 yards and five touchdowns. Coming into camp fresh after signing a new three-year deal earlier in the year the expectation was to be battling Jerry Jeudy for the WR2 spot. Early in Patrick’s career, it was clear he had a passion for football when he was a standout on the special teams unit. After earning his stripes on special teams he finally got his opportunities and made the most of them becoming a solid target with very few drops. The offense is losing a strong-handed/minded WR with big upside finally having a clear number one QB.
Who Russell Will Turn To
The obvious answer of who will get more attention is WR1 Courtland Sutton. With over 2,500 career yards and 12 touchdowns, the SMU product is looking to solidify his position of being a big-framed WR1 in this league. From what we have seen from Russell Wilson’s media team and training camp practice, the two are working hard to build a connection on and off the field. It has been a struggle to have many opportunities when consistently lining up with standout CB Pat Surtain II, but it is a work in progress.
Let’s be honest, Jerry Jeudy’s young career up to this point has been a disappointment, to say the least. Personally, I was high on Jeudy coming into that 2020 NFL Draft. While there are reasons to point to why there hasn’t been much production; all of those excuses are thrown out the window with Wilson at QB and an offensive head coach in Nathaniel Hackett. If there was a moment for Broncos Country to be more excited about Jeudy outside of the night they took him at the 15th pick, it should be now! With his ability to create separation through route running, the ball should be coming his way accurately from Wilson.
There are definitely some names that may not be getting as much national coverage that should be solid pieces to step into that WR3/4 role. The speedster KJ Hamler from the same draft Jeudy was taken in is a guy to watch. He is coming off a torn ACL and hip surgery, but up to this point in camp, it looks that his speed is still there. Another few training camp injuries that weren’t as severe include Tyrie Cleveland and Kendall Hinton who have both been in conversations for WR depth the past few years. With those unlucky injuries, it opens the doors for rookies Montrell Washington #12, Jalen Virgil #17, and Kaden Davis #13. Keep an eye during this preseason on training camp standout third-year former SMU Mustang Trey Quinn #84 as well.
While Tim Patrick’s injury hurts the offense, there are reasons to believe that it isn’t critical damage to options for Wilson. The Broncos’ receiving room has talent that for years has had a reputation from the public that they only need a competent QB to be successful. The excuses have run out for this group not to thrive.