Bronco notes: As Saints struggled to move, Denver nonetheless could not cease the run – KUSA


Kilgo becomes 13th Broncos player to be affected by COVID. Pat Shurmur speaks on Kyle Shurmur.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With the hideous, non-quarterback offensive performance attracting all the rubber-necking, overlooked among the Broncos’ problems in a 31-3 loss Sunday to New Orleans was their defense again couldn’t stop the run.

With opposing quarterback Taysom Hill woefully ineffective as a passer against Vic Fangio’s coverage scheme, the Saints’ offense was reduced to one-dimensional predictability.

And they still were able to run the ball.

The Denver D was gashed for 229 rushing yards and four touchdowns. It wasn’t just Hill’s designed quarterback runs that were a problem. Running backs Latavius Murray and Alvin Kamara combined for 178 yards on 30 carries, for 5.93 yards a pop.

It’s the third time in their last five games the Broncos have allowed at least 200 rushing yards. It’s probably no coincidence that nose tackle Mike Purcell went down five games ago with a Lisfranc injury, starting defensive end Jurrell Casey has been out since game 3 with torn biceps, and Shelby Harris missed the past four games for COVID reasons.

And outside linebacker Von Miller, who has been out all season, was never a slouch against the run.

The Broncos’ second-string defensive line has overachieved, especially in the area of pressuring the passer. But it has not holding up against the run.

“Those first couple games it was guys trying to reach and make those big plays and getting out of their gaps and I feel like this one was just one of those just wear and tear on the field and stuff like that,’’ said Bradley Chubb, an outside linebacker who also plays the end against the run. “So, like I said, can’t dwell too much on it. I feel like with the guys we got we know we can bounce back. We know what kind of defense we can be and we’ve just got to go out there and prove it. The talking is not going to do much. We know what we put on paper, now we’ve got to go out there and fix it.”

Another week, another Broncos player who has been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. This time it’s Broncos’ practice squad defensive lineman Darius Kilgo, who went on the COVID list Thursday.

He goes on as the team’s top defensive lineman, Shelby Harris, came off the COVID list Wednesday. Kilgo is the 13th Broncos player who has either contracted the virus or went on the COVID reserve list for close contact. Those players: Von Miller, Kareem Jackson, Andrew Beck, Graham Glasgow, Shelby Harris, Darren Paulo, Jurrell Casey, Jeff Driskel, Diontae Spencer, Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, Blake Bortles, Darius Kilgo.

As the Broncos realized just how disastrous their non-quarterback situation was Sunday, the Broncos placed a call to Kyle Shurmur, son of the team’s offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, to fly in to Denver so he could begin his COVID testing on Monday. The thinking at the time was if Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles tested positive during the week, and with Jeff Driskel, who had tested positive virus the previous week, not allowed to return until this Saturday at the soonest, the Broncos would need someone other than Kendall Hinton to run Pat Shurmur’s offense for the Sunday night game at Kansas City.

Kyle Shurmur put up huge passing stats at Vanderbilt through 2018 and spent his rookie season of 2019 on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad. He was dabbling in coaching at Vanderbilt the past few weeks when he got the call.

Lock, Rypien and Bortles have so far passed their virus tests and if that continues its unclear if Kyle Shurmur will be signed to the practice squad. But he’ll continue to test through the week.

“Questionable parents, I would say,’’ Pat Shurmur said with a smile during his Zoom media conference Thursday, when asked about his son’s upbringing. “I think what happened last weekend—there’s multiple days of this stuff now as you go through the COVID stuff. So, we’re going to try to do it. You saw yesterday, we kept Bortles away (from team headquarters). We’re going to try to do it with the guys that we have at this point.

“But I’m certainly proud of him as a young man. He went to Vanderbilt and set a bunch of passing records and got his degree. Most recently, he’s in graduate school at Vanderbilt getting his grad degree and was helping coach the team. And sadly, the day that he got called from here was the day that (head coach) Derek Mason got released. So, there’s a lot going on for lots of people during this time of year and he’s no different.”

With cornerback Bryce Callahan out with a foot injury and Diontae Spencer still not returned from COVID, special teams coordinator Tom McMahon said DaeSean Hamilton would take up the punt return role, along with rookie KJ Hamler. Hamilton returned three punts for 31 yards as a rookie before he suffered a sprained MCL while getting hit on a fair catch at Arizona. …

Placekicker Brandon McManus missed practice Thursday for what a team source said was an excused absence for personal reasons. McManus is expected back at practice Friday.

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