For injured players, Friday's practice often determines whether they'll play on Sunday. Denver Broncos starting left tackle Ty Sambrailo has missed practice all week, and was unable to practice today, casting doubt on his availability for Sunday's home game vs. the Minnesota Vikings.
Head coach Gary Kubiak confirmed after practice today that Sambrailo will miss Week 4.
“[T] Ty Sambrailo is out for this weekend," Kubiak said.
Sambrailo suffered a painful shoulder injury in the second half of last week's game. The Broncos have maintained that it's not serious. But it is painful and it will relegate Sambrailo to spectator status in Week 4.
The Broncos signed Tyler Polumbus yesterday, as a preemptive move to cover their bases, should Sambrailo miss time. After trading Chris Clark to the Houston Texans in August, the Broncos had only Ryan Harris and Michael Schofield as their remaining tackles behind Sambrailo.
Harris has started each game at right tackle and Schofield has yet to see the field. Although early buzz indicated that Polumbus would start on Sunday if Sambrailo was unable to go, Kubiak confirmed today that Schofield will start at RT, while Harris slides over to LT.
“Ryan Harris is starting left," Kubiak said. "Michael will start right.”
This will not only be Schofield's first career start, it will be his regular season debut, as he's yet play a snap in his short career.
Since he was hired in January, head coach Gary Kubiak has had nothing but good things to say about Schofield. The second-year tackle seemed to play better in the preseason this past summer, and when they traded Clark away, it sure felt like a huge vote of confidence for Schofield.
“Yeah, we had a lot of confidence in Michael," Kubiak said Thursday. "No doubt about that. That's just really putting your team together—nothing that wouldn't have happened in the long haul there. It's easy once you start to get nicked up at a spot to say we should have done this or that, but you can't keep everybody. We're just going through some of the pains of an NFL season and how you adjust to them, how you find a way to play through them. It says a lot about who you are. We're having to do that right now. Hopefully we get everybody back quick.”
As for Polumbus, Kubiak said today that the ninth-year veteran tackle is settling in to his new environs but so late in the week, with just days of preparation, they felt more confident in going with Schofield on Sunday.
“Yeah, he's [Polumbus] made progress," Kubiak said. "Today was kind of our target day trying to get him going. We didn't want to come out here and have a setback out here or something. We worked him a little bit this morning to see where he was and then it just felt like we better go in this direction. That's what's best right now.”
Schofield has been with the team all year and is arguably more versed in the verbiage and current scheme, but the Broncos are going to bet the health of their 39-year-old quarterback on the hope that Schofield is going to make a quantum leap overnight.
“I like to think—they drafted me last year in the third round, so I’ve got to prove I was worth that pick and come out there and dominate," Schofield said today.
Here's to hoping he has a little Scott Bakula in him.
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