Posted on: August 1, 2023, 09:52h.
Last updated on: August 1, 2023, 10:23h.
The Denver Broncos are now short two veteran wide receivers after Tim Patrick sustained an Achilles injury, and K.J. Hamler will miss time with a heart condition.
Patrick tore his left Achilles tendon during a 7-on-7 drill during the Broncos training camp in the Denver suburbs. He was carted off the field.
I was watching it directly, he was running a route,” said head coach Sean Payton. “He planted, thought it looked like he slipped.”
Veterans reported to training camp last Tuesday, and several star players went down with injuries in the opening week, including Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (calf) and Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey (knee).
Sean Payton, who led the 2009 New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl victory, seems better prepared to lead the Broncos during his first season as their head coach. The Broncos were a disaster in 2022 under rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired after an embarrassing blowout to the Los Angeles Rams during a nationally televised game on Christmas.
Quarterback Russell Wilson struggled in his first year with the Broncos in 2022. He was hampered by injuries last season and never got on the same page as Hackett. Now that Payton is the head coach, Wilson was expected to thrive under the offensive guru. The duo will face their first major hurdle after losing not one, but two veteran wide receivers.
Another Training Camp, Another Patrick Injury
Patrick suffered a right knee injury during last season’s training camp. He tore his ACL and missed the entire 2022 season after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery.
During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Patrick combined for 104 receptions and 11 touchdowns in 33 games. He was considered one of the emotional leaders of the team and a vocal voice in the locker room.
Many people can’t compete like him,” said Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II.
“A player like Tim is so well-respected,” added Payton.
The Broncos have been cursed since 2021 when it comes to their wide receivers. Their core four — Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Patrick, and Hamler — played only two games together over the last three seasons.
This season has not even begun, and the Broncos lost two wide receivers after Hamler shared some unfortunate news.
Heart Issue Sidelines K.J. Hamler
Patrick suffered his Achilles injury a few hours before wide receiver Hamler made a stunning announcement on social media. Hamler will step away from the team to address a heart issue.
After experiencing chest pain during a workout, Hamler consulted a doctor and he was diagnosed with a mild heart irritation which is called pericarditis.
Hamler began training camp with a nonfootball illness (NFI) and had yet to join the team in an official practice.
The Broncos waived Hamler on Monday with an NFI designation, which clears up a roster space while Hamler seeks treatment. The Broncos intend to bring Hamler back when he’s healthy, but there’s no specific time table. Pericarditis is treatable with medication and a new diet.
I have been through hell and back,” said Hamler on Instagram. “But it’s hard to reach paradise if you don’t go through hell first.”
Hamler also has a history with knee injuries, and he tore his ACL during the 2021 season. He appeared in only three games in 2021, and missed time with a hip injury.
The Broncos drafted Hamler with a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Penn State. He showed promise as a rookie with 30 receptions and three touchdowns in 13 games.
Betting the Broncos in 2023
Jeudy will be Wilson’s primary target, and Sutton is currently WR #2 on the depth chart. Jeudy led the Broncos with 67 catches for 972 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games last season. Sutton contributed 64 receptions for 829 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games.
After the Patrick injury and Hamler’s heart issue, the Broncos will also rely on newly added veterans. Marquez Callaway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey joined the team in free agency. Payton previously coached Callaway and Humphrey, who both began their careers with the Saints.
Rookie Marvin Mims Jr. could also see an uptick in playing time with Patrick out for the season. The Broncos selected Oklahoma’s Mims with a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Broncos finished in last place in the AFC West in 2022 with a 5-12 record. Oddsmakers listed the Broncos with a win total of 8.5 over/under in 2023.
The Broncos are +180 odds to make the playoffs, according to a prop bet by DraftKings. They are -215 favorites to miss the postseason.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the favorite to win the AFC West at -165 odds, followed by the Los Angeles Chargers (+340), Broncos (+550), and Las Vegas Raiders (+1200). The Raiders are in big trouble if running back Josh Jacobs, who is currently a training camp holdout, decides to sit out the entire season in a contract dispute.
The Broncos are +4000 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII, and they are in the middle of the pack overall. The Broncos are +2500 odds to win the AFC Championship, and they’re ranked #10 on the futures board out of 16 teams.