Broncos pre-game thoughts

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Pre-game Broncos news and notes:

The Broncos are without three defensive starters Thursday night. Safety Marlon McCree is out with an ankle injury. He joins cornerback Champ Bailey, who has a groin injury and weakside linebacker D.J. Williams, who has a knee injury.

The Broncos will have the services of tight end Tony Scheffler and running back Selvin Young against the Browns. Both players and missed the last three games with groin injuries. They were listed as questionable to play Thursday night.

Young will likely backup rookie Ryan Torain at tailback and Scheffler will resume his role as one of quarterback Jay Cutler's favorite targets. Cutler has struggled without Scheffler and Denver is 0-3 in the games that he missed.

There is a bit of a surprise in the starting lineup. In place of Williams, Denver is starting Wesley Woodyard. He is an undrafted rookie from Kentucky. Woodyard has been an excellent special teams player and has made strides at linebacker.