ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The Denver Broncos continue to make progress toward an unveiling of sorts Sunday in Indianapolis.
No, not quarterback Peyton Manning sporting former Broncos colors in the city he once called his NFL home. It's the defense they’ve waited six weeks to see, with all of the expected starters on the field.
“It’s good to have everybody back working,’’ defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said. "You expect to play better when your better players are out there.''
Linebacker Von Miller has returned from his six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, cornerback Champ Bailey played for the first time of the season last weekend against Jacksonville and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (neck) and defensive end Robert Ayers (left shoulder) continue to make progress toward playing against the Colts.
Both Woodyard and Ayers, who were held out of the win over Jacksonville, took part in Thursday’s practice on a limited basis. Defensive end Shaun Phillips (hamstring) was also limited.
Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams (neck), who was limited in Wednesday’s workout, took part fully Thursday.
Right tackle Orlando Franklin (left ankle and knee) was held out of practice for the second consecutive day. Franklin was expected to miss one or two games with the injuries, and the Broncos are expected to stick with the lineup they used Sunday against the Jaguars after Franklin left the game. Louis Vasquez lined up at right tackle and Chris Kuper at right guard after Franklin was injured in the third quarter.
Tight end Virgil Green (back), wide receiver Wes Welker (ankle), tight end Joel Dreessen (knee), wide receiver Eric Decker (shoulder), Bailey (foot) and Kuper (ankle) all were listed on the injury report Thursday and all participated fully.