Don’t look now, but the Broncos are rolling in the red zone.
It’s still too soon to say Denver has cured all of the ills that it’s been plagued by in scoring territory this year — and too late for a turnaround to mean much in the larger scheme — but the team has punched in all six of its opportunities over the past two weeks.
“The guys have done a great job — the coaching staff putting together a great plan down there,” Hackett said. “That’s the hardest place to score because it’s a short field. I think the guys have really owned that and bought into it. You have to make plays. It’s going to be much more difficult. They’ve stepped up, both in the run game and in the pass game. That’s always good, not to have one guy scoring.
“It’s been multiple. It’s been play-pass, it’s been drop-back, it’s been run game. That’s what you’re looking for.”
Their showing the past two weeks has raised the Broncos’ red zone touchdown rate to 50%, still only No. 25 in the NFL but also far better than it was entering a Week 13 game at Baltimore.
Edmonds returning off IR: Chase Edmonds returned to practice Wednesday after Hackett said the team intended to start his return-to-play clock from injured reserve. The running back has missed the minimum four games with a high-ankle sprain.
Denver has already used seven of its eight return-to-play activations from injured reserve this year. So, if Edmonds is activated for Sunday’s game against the Rams or next week against the Chiefs, he will be the last player that can return this season from injured reserve.
That would mean anybody else on injured reserve — most notably center Lloyd Cushenberry — cannot return this season.
OL avoids serious injury: Denver lost both of its starting guards for periods of Sunday’s win against Arizona but appears to be in line to have both Dalton Risner and Quinn Meinerz this weekend.
Risner (shoulder/back/elbow) was a full participant at practice Wednesday and Meinerz, who suffered an eye injury on Denver’s first drive against the Cardinals, is not on the injury list.
“It looks wicked,” Hackett said. “He’s got a nice shiner and his eye is puffy, but I think he’ll be all right. That was a scary moment being on the field with him for that.”
Wide receiver Courtland Sutton (hamstring) was a limited participant at Wednesday’ s practice, while Kendall Hinton (hamstring) and outside linebacker Randy Gregory (knee) did not practice. Hackett indicated Gregory’s absence was about maintenance after he played 23 snaps Sunday in his first game action since Week 4.