Jussel: Broncos hope Sloter stays healthy tonight

Worst Case Scenario No. 1: Kyle Sloter starts at quarterback for the Denver Broncos tonight in the team’s fourth and final (thank goodness) preseason game — and goes down early.

Enter Trevor Siemian, the team’s starter who was to have the night off.

I won’t go on. Things could get really scary.

By now, Bronco fans have been through — and survived — the Siemian vs. Paxton Lynch competition.

Most ho-hummed when Lynch went down last week to what was said to be a minor shoulder injury. Eyebrows lifted a bit when it was confirmed by head coach Vance Joseph that Lynch’s injury will likely keep him out for the first two regular-season games, maybe longer.

Sloter, the undrafted rookie from Northern Colorado, has been the security blanket in this quarterback drama because he has performed beyond expectations in his three opportunities. Whether he would be ready to step into regular-season action for Denver is a debate not needed at this time. But if he survives tonight against the Arizona Cardinals, the Bronco staff, players and fans can at least exhale.

If, however, Worst Case Scenario No. 1 comes about …

Oh my. Denver GM John Elway is going to have to go find help via hook, crook, waiver wire, trade, whatever.

Colin Kaepernick is still out there. Denver might be forced into overpaying for a player who hasn’t been in a camp, hasn’t worked out with anyone, doesn’t know the team language and would have no prayer of playing even after a couple of weeks of cramming.

That won’t happen.

More likely, if it would go that far and Worst Case Scenario No. 1 comes about, Elway would be forced into something like: He could dial the 877 area code and talk to the Los Angeles Chargers about veteran backup Kellen Clemens, who played under Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy for the past several seasons. Elway could even put a call to Philadelphia to talk about Eagles backup Matt McGloin, who played in Oakland for Denver QB coach Bill Musgrave.

Neither solution would be mind-blowing, but at least the two would have some insight into the Bronco way.

Hopefully, emergency measures won’t be necessary and Siemian, Sloter and Lynch are all on Denver’s active roster next week.

At the very least, Lynch’s injury throws a monkey wrench into the team’s cutdown plans.

Denver and the rest of the NFL teams have to cut from 90 to 53 players on Saturday. It’s not that difficult to come up with maybe 45 of Denver’s players, but Lynch will have to remain on the active roster unless he is put on the PUP list (physically unable to perform) for a minimum of six weeks.

Keeping both Lynch and Sloter on the roster impacts backup spots throughout the lineup.

Instead of keeping seven wide receivers, for instance, Denver may have to go with six. That could mean bye-bye to either Bennie Fowler, Jordan Taylor or Cody Latimer.

Or instead of keeping six running backs, one of which is fullback Andy Janovich, Denver may have to go with five, meaning adios to both Juwan Thompson and Stevan Ridley.

Others on the bubble would include defensive linemen Shelby Harris, who had three sacks last week, and Tyrique Jarrett, who has been steady through preseason at nose tackle.

Several defensive backs have impressed throughout preseason —  Lorenzo Doss, Brendan Langley and Jamal Carter. One or perhaps two of them will be gone.

Let’s leave on a positive note: Sloter survives and thrives tonight. Siemian sits. Lynch goes about his healing and is inactive the first two weeks before returning to his now-backup role. And Elway catches a break on his cellphone minutes.


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