November 16th, 2018 at 11:28am CST by Dallas Robinson
Broncos guard Max Garcia will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL, according to Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link).
It’s unclear exactly when Garcia tore his ACL, but it sound as though it may occurred during practice on Thursday. Per Klis, Garcia took every snap at practice yesterday, but felt discomfort in his knee afterwards. A subsequent MRI revealed the ACL injury and will now knock Garcia out for the rest of the year.
Denver’s offensive line has already been decimated by injury this year, and the loss of Garcia will only further deplete the unit. Veteran guard Ronald Learywent down with a Achilles tear in mid-October, while starting center Matt Paradissuffered a fractured fibula and ligament tears earlier this month. Per Klis, backup Billy Turner now figures to take over as the Broncos’ starting left guard, meaning Denver will now field an interior offensive line that is entirely different than its Week 1 configuration.
Garcia, 27, was a Broncos fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft. Although he started 32 consecutive games from 201-17, Garcia wasn’t a deployed as a starter this season until after Leary got hurt. Indeed, Garcia didn’t play a single offensive snap until Week 6, but has since been on the field for every play.
His new team dealing perhaps the final blow to his previous employer’s 2018 playoff hopes via 19-17 win in Week 9, Texans wide receiver Demaryius Thomas expressed issues he had with the Broncos’ coaching staff. Thomas said during an interview with former Broncos Ray Crockett and Rod Smith on Orange and Blue 760 (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter) Vance Joseph informed him he would be staying in Denver after the trade deadline. Though, to be fair to the second-year head coach, he may not have known the status of John Elway‘s progress in acquiring a mid-round pick for the veteran wideout. Thomas said his agent told him Elway wanted a fifth-round pick in a trade, helping perhaps to explain the GM’s decision to accept a Texans fourth-round pick.
Additionally, Thomas told Crockett and Smith the coaching staff made him feel as though he was holding back rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton and that first-year receivers coach Zach Azzani asked only Thomas to come out of a Jets loss to give Hamilton more snaps (Twitterlinks via Jhabvala). Joseph said (via Mike Klis of 9News) he didn’t recall a trade-related conversation with Thomas unfolding the way the since-jettisoned wideout said it did.
Here’s more from Denver:
As for Joseph’s job security, Elway offered a lukewarm endorsement. “At this point in time, we’re going to stay the course,” Elway said during an Orange and Blue 760 interview (via Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press). “I think there’s enough good things that are going on as far as us and the way that we’re playing. I’m much more encouraged this year than I was last year.” The Broncos have lost four one-score games — all to teams with at least six wins — but are 3-6 and may be on the verge of their first back-to-back losing seasons since the mid-1970s. It’s hard to imagine Joseph (8-17 as a head coach) receiving a third year.
A possible route Elway might go in 2019, look no further than the success the Chiefs are having. Buzz is developing in NFL circles (via SI.com’s Albert Breer) that Elway has taken a “special interest” in the college-type concepts that have helped not just the Chiefs but other teams around the league. Should Elway hire another coach in January, it will be his fourth since taking a front office job with his former team. He interviewed Joseph, Kyle Shanahan and Chiefs ST coordinator Dave Toub for the job Joseph received.
Wide receiver Jordan Taylor won’t play for the Broncos this season, Jhabvala tweets. He will stay on the PUP list the rest of the way. Taylor’s 21-day practice window expired on Monday.
Matt Paradis underwent surgery to repair a broken right fibula, Klis notes. The veteran center will be a free agent in March, but Klis adds the Broncos are interested in bringing him back. The sides discussed an extension before the season but did not come to terms. Prior to the injury Sunday, Paradis had started every game for the Broncos since the start of their 2015 Super Bowl season.
Broncos center Matt Paradis is done for the year after suffering a fractured fibula and ligament tears in his leg, head coach Vance Joseph announced. Paradis will undergo surgery and the Broncos will place him on injured reserve.
Pro Football Focus ranks Paradis as the third best center in the league this year, giving him an 79.0 overall grade with similarly strong marks for his run blocking. After his exit, the Broncos moved Connor McGovern from guard to center, which may be an indicator of their plans moving forward.
Paradis is due to reach free agency in the spring, so Sunday’s loss to the Texans may mark his final game in Denver. Paradis was retained with a $2.9MM second-round RFA tender this season and he’s due for a pay raise regardless of where he lands. The Broncos and Paradis discussed an extension in August, but so far, the two sides have been unable to come to terms. Paradis, who celebrated his 29th birthday last month, has spent his entire career with the Broncos.
Sunday’s loss dropped the Broncos to 3-6 on the year. They’ll try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive on Sunday after the bye when they face the red-hot Chargers.
November 4th, 2018 at 5:18pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Awful injury news for Denver, as center Matt Paradis is believed to have suffered a fractured fibula, according to Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link).
In a separate tweet, Klis notes that if it is indeed a fractured fibula, Paradis “would be out minimum six weeks and could miss rest of season.” It’s a massive blow to the Broncos’ offensive line, which has already dealt with a few injuries this year. Paradis is the best member of the offensive line, and has been having a great season.
Pro Football Focus has graded Paradis as the third best center in the league this year, giving him an 80.0 grade. It’s especially tough news for Paradis, as this was a contract year for him. Earlier this year, the Broncos had placed a second round tender on Paradis when he was a restricted free agent.
Assuming he makes a normal recovery, it shouldn’t impact his free agent market too much. With contracts for interior linemen exploding in recent years, Paradis should be able to land a big deal on the open market if the Broncos don’t lock him up. Prior to this injury, he had been an incredibly durable player, starting 16 games each of the past three seasons.
With the trade deadline having passed, teams have a better idea what everyone’s optimal stretch-run lineups will look like. A handful of dominant teams have surfaced, and several second-tier contenders are present as well.
But what about possible late-blooming teams? Multiple squads picked by many to advance to the playoffs are under .500. Which teams will the second-tier contenders have to worry about in the second half?
The obvious place to start is the AFC South, where a once-0-3 team is in front. The Texans entered the season with the best Las Vegas playoff odds and are living up to the hype. They’re a major threat to become the first 0-3 team to make the playoffs since the 1998 Bills. The division’s other three teams have three wins, hovering behind the Chargers, Bengals and Ravens in the AFC wild-card race.
Jacksonville’s decision to retain and extend Blake Bortles is backfiring, but the team still offers one of the best defensive outlooks in the game. However, the defending division champs have lost four straight and still have the Texans, Steelers and Redskins on the schedule.
Indianapolis won two straight going into its bye, has a three-game homestand on tap, and one winning team remains on its schedule. Featuring Andrew Luck (23 TD passes, second in the NFL) and an improved front — headlined by the first guard to win an a rookie of the month award in Quenton Nelson — Indy’s offense ranks sixth in scoring (28.9 points per game). Tennessee’s only 3-4 but may be in more trouble, having lost three straight and sporting the No. 30 passing attack. Marcus Mariota‘s thrown just three touchdown passes this season; the Titans have games against the Patriots, Texans and Redskins left.
Shifting to the NFC South, can the Falcons overcome their litany of defensive injuries and crawl back into the race? At 3-4, Atlanta is one game out of the NFC’s second wild-card spot, and Matt Ryan is on pace to surpass 5,000 yards in a re-established aerial attack. But the Falcons’ defense sits 31st in DVOA, though Deion Jones is on the way back, and their ground game ranks 30th. Atlanta also has six road games remaining.
The Buccaneers may be headed toward a postseason house-cleaning, with Dirk Koetter (and probably Jason Licht) back on the hot seat and Jameis Winston benched. Can Fitzmagic and a deep pass-catcher arsenal save Tampa Bay or at least stave off another bleak second half?
In trading a first-round pick for Amari Cooper, the Cowboys certainly believe they’re a stealth contender. At 3-4 and behind both the Redskins and Eagles in the NFC East, the Cowboys defied conventional wisdom and gave up what could be a top-12 pick for an inconsistent wide receiver. While Dallas carries the No. 11 DVOA defense, its offense (25th) hasn’t clicked. That said, the team’s lost its past two road games — against division leaders Houston and Washington — by six combined points. If the Cowboys can’t pull this off, might it finally be the end of the line for Jason Garrett? Jerry Jones said he’s not considering an extension for the signed-through-2019 HC.
The Jets were not expected to make the playoffs, have lost two straight and still have two Patriots games left. More was expected of the Broncos, whose post-Super Bowl 50 trajectory represents a prime modern example of the quarterback position’s importance. Although they quietly are DVOA’s No. 7 team, the Broncos are 2-10 in Vance Joseph-coached road games and have five remaining games against winning teams. Those will come after the team made a seller’s trade in unloading Demaryius Thomas. The Lions, too, sold a key asset and appear to be playing for the future. However, they’re still only one game out of the NFC North lead.
So, who has the best chance of re-routing their season into a playoff bracket? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.