2 new­com­ers set to play for Den­ver on Sun­day

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Arnie Sta­ple­ton AP Pro Foot­ball Writer

ENGLEWOOD, COLO. (AP) >> The Den­ver Bron­cos didn’t bring cor­ner­back Ja­mar Taylor and wide re­ceiver An­dre Holmes on board this week just to fill in at prac­tice.

“They’re both dress­ing” Sun­day at San Fran­cisco, coach Vance Joseph said. “You’re go­ing to see An­dre out there play­ing (spe­cial) teams and play­ing on the of­fense. Ja­mar is go­ing to be our fourth cor­ner this week.”

With cor­ner­back Chris Harris Jr . (frac­tured fibula) and wide re­ceiver Em­manuel San­ders (rup­tured Achilles ten­don) be­com­ing the fifth and sixth open­ing-day starters to suf­fer ma­jor in­juries, the Bron­cos be­come even more re­liant on their strong rookie class — and the two new­com­ers who are scram­bling to de­ci­pher Den­ver’s play­book.

It helps that both have a his­tory of work­ing with the Bron­cos’ coaches.

“I’ve still got things to learn,” said Holmes, who is tap­ping into his time work­ing with Bron­cos of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bill Mus­grave in Oak­land two years ago. “There are some things I re­mem­ber, but I’m two years re­moved from his of­fense.”

Taylor is a sixth-year pro who has played in 74 ca­reer games span­ning stops in Mi­ami — where Joseph was an as­sis­tant coach — Cleve­land and Ari­zona. But this marks the first time he’s switched teams mid­sea­son.

“It’s a lit­tle rough, you know, be­cause you come in and you learn the play­book. You have to catch up right now,” Taylor said. “Luck­ily, I have some of the same play­call­ing in Mi­ami, so it’s not too bad. But it’s a lot of late nights.”

The Bron­cos (6-6) have won three con­sec­u­tive games for the first time un­der their sec­ond-year head coach, but the rash of in­juries at key po­si­tions threat­ens to de­rail their play­off push.

Los­ing long­time team­mates Harris and San­ders in a 72-hour stretch hit fel­low vet­er­ans hard.

“I’m still try­ing to get over the 88 trade,” Von Miller said of see­ing De­mary­ius Thomas join the Hous­ton Tex­ans six week ago. “Now we’ve got 10 and 25. It’s dif­fer­ent. It’s re­ally dif­fer­ent. But it’s the pros. I hate to say it, but it’s the pros and it’s part of the game.”

Now the Bron­cos have to lean even more on rook­ies Phillip Lindsay, Court­land Sut­ton, Bradley Chubb and Josey Jewell while carv­ing out big­ger roles for rook­ies Isaac Yi­adom at cor­ner­back and DaeSean Hamilton at wide re­ceiver.

“We’re just in­sert­ing E. and the train moves on,” Joseph said Fri­day.

With Hamilton start­ing along with Sut­ton, six rook­ies are slated to start for the Bron­cos on Sun­day — seven, if you in­clude their punter.

“We have great con­fi­dence in our young class and they have con­fi­dence,” Joseph said. “They’re smart, they’re tough and they’ll play good foot­ball for us.”

Joseph also trusts his new­com­ers will get up to speed quickly.

“They’re fine,” Joseph said. “They’re both pros. I had Ja­mar in Mi­ami and An­dre was with Billy for two years in Oak­land. We’re lucky to have those two guys that have played for us, that are healthy and are vet­eran play­ers. We have no prob­lem with those guys play­ing for us on Sun­day.” PUNTER’S PROGRESS Colby Wad­man is an­other rookie mak­ing his mark in Den­ver this sea­son. He’s re­ceived game balls in the last two weeks for his su­perb per­for­mances against Pitts­burgh and Cincin­nati.

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