Week 15 will mark the return date for one key Broncos player on each side of the ball. The team announced on Saturday that edge rusher Randy Gregory and right tackle Billy Turner have been activated from IR.
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The move comes as little surprise, since the pair were designated for return earlier this week. That opened up their respective 21-day windows to be activated, and will allow them to play a role in the closing stages of what has been a lost season in the Mile High City.
Gregory’s arrival in Denver was a main talking point in the offseason, after he signed with the Broncos on a five-year, $70MM deal. That, in turn, came after a contract of identical length and value which would have kept him with the Cowboys fell through, something which greatly affected his former team’s outlook on the position during the spring. He was able to get healthy in time for the beginning of his first campaign with the Broncos.
That stretch lasted less than four full games, however, as the 30-year-old suffered a knee injury against the Raiders in early October. He has been sidelined ever since, interrupting what had been a promising start to his Broncos career; Gregory notched two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in the early portion of the season. The team’s defense has remained elite in several categories in his absence, though a return to the form he showed in the fall would provide a significant boost to a Denver edge rush which ranks mid-pack in sacks and no longer includes Bradley Chubb.
Turner, meanwhile, suffered a knee injury of his own in November, and was expected to miss considerable time as a result of it. His absence further compounded the myriad injuries Denver has dealt with along the offensive line in general, and the right tackle position in particular. Cameron Fleming has occupied that spot in Turner’s absence, and head coach Nathaniel Hackett said yesterday that a decision has not been made whether it will be he or Calvin Anderson manning the blindside with Turner back in his familiar RT role. A pending free agent, the latter would be well-suited to have a healthy and effective close to the season.