Rookie David Bruton could get the first crack at replacing starting safety Renaldo Hill this week if Hill is out with an ankle injury. Bruton was with the starters during Wednesday’s period of practice that is open to the media. However, Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said Bruton, Josh Barrett and newly signed veteran Vernon Fox are all candidates to start if Hill can’t play.
“It makes other guys who have been in the backseat doing some special teams work step up and play some ball,” safety Brian Dawkins said about the possibility of Hill missing this week’s game.
Hill, running back Correll Buckhalter (ankle), linebacker Elvis Dumervil (toe), cornerback Ty Law (hamstring) and receiver Brandon Lloyd (not injury related) missed practice Wednesday.
Marshall vs. T.O.
Dawkins played with Terrell Owens, who had the NFL record with 20 catches, and Brandon Marshall, who broke the record with 21 receptions on Sunday. He said they are similar players.
“Absolutely, you see that physically on the field,” Dawkins said. “Probably Andre (Johnson) will be another one from the Texans. Physically just gifted, huge guys that can run and run after the catch and go get the ball when it’s in the air. They present matchup problems every week.”
The Broncos know, going into this week’s game against Oakland, that a 3-0 finish clinches a playoff spot.
“We know what we’ve got to do the last three games,” quarterback Kyle Orton said. “If we take care of our business, we’ll be right where we want to be. It all starts this week with a tough divisional game, and we can’t sleep on them.”