ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos have, at times, played mix-and-match in the offensive line because of injuries as well as the continued search for the combination that works best.
Guard Ron Leary's current back troubles once again have the Broncos in a wait-and-see mode at a time when their quarterbacks continue to turn the ball over at alarming rates. Leary, who did not play in the 35-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday, is a significant question mark to play against the New York Jets this weekend as he missed practice on Wednesday.
Asked if Connor McGovern, who was the Broncos' fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, would start against the Jets, Broncos coach Vance Joseph said:
"Depends on Ron's back, absolutely if Ron's out, he'll start at right guard."
Leary, who was the Broncos' top target in free agency this past offseason when he signed a four-year, $36 million deal, and center Matt Paradis have been the most consistent linemen in a season when they've struggled for any consistency. The Broncos have rotated players at left guard and started three different players at right tackle.
When McGovern started for Leary at right guard and Donald Stephenson started at right tackle against the Dolphins, it was the third different combination in the offensive line over the last seven games. The Broncos are currently in an eight-game losing streak, during which the offense has scored more than 19 point just once, hampered by sacks and turnovers.
McGovern is one of several younger Broncos the team believes is ready to show what he can do. McGovern was on the Broncos' roster for his entire rookie season in 2016, but did not appear in a game.
This past Sunday, McGovern battled Ndamukong Suh, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, for much of the day.
"I'll tell you what, he battled, and that's a tough guy to play in your first start -- Suh," Joseph said. "The first couple series he just kind of felt his way through it, but as the game went on and he got more comfortable, he battled Suh … a veteran player who's played a lot of football."
In addition to Leary, nose tackle Domata Peko (knee), wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) and quarterback Paxton Lynch (ankle) were among those held out of practice. Linebacker Todd Davis (ankle), who is tied for second on the team in tackles, was limited in practice.