Starter C.J. Anderson is expected to play a maximum of three series and veteran Jamaal Charles will not play at all, leaving the bulk of the reps to Stevan Ridley, De’Angelo Henderson and Juwan Thompson. The running back race is tight — and stacked — and these reps are critical to creating separation. Ridley has impressed since his arrival on Day 1 of camp. A strong showing in Chicago and the subsequent preseason games will make for difficult roster decisions at running back.
Fourth CB battle
Rookie Brendan Langley has an edge on paper, but his experience at the position is limited. Lorenzo Doss has showed out in camp and continues to vie for the fourth cornerback job, a coveted and important spot on the Broncos’ “No-Fly Zone” secondary. “We just want to put those guys in positions where they are competing against the other team’s better players as well,” defensive coordinator Joe Woods said. “We just want to make sure we rotate them in right now at the two position. Give them a shot to go against some of the better receivers. Right now, they’re battling.”
Coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway have lauded the Broncos’ new-look offensive line. Thursday’s game will provide limited reps to the starters — tackles Garett Bolles and Menelik Watson, and guards Max Garcia and Ron Leary — but it will be the first test of the group’s cohesion. Connor McGovern will start at center as Matt Paradis takes it slow in returning from two hip surgeries.