Broncos to give several players night off in preseason opener

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak has framed every discussion about preseason playing time with discussion of birthdays, and that’s how things will be divvied up in Friday night’s preseason opener in Seattle.

As Kubiak said this week: "Obviously, we have some guys with some nicks that have missed some time that we have to make some decisions on. We have a few guys that we'll talk about that have a lot of birthdays, so we'll ... wait and see."

The Broncos held a walk-through at their complex for a little over an hour Thursday morning before the team departed for Seattle.

The Broncos are expected to give a selection of veteran players the night off against the Seahawks, including quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, tight end Owen Daniels and defensive end DeMarcus Ware. Brock Osweiler will start in Manning's place, and some of the team's other younger players will get longer looks as well, including rookie outside linebacker Shane Ray and second-year cornerback Bradley Roby.

Osweiler took all of the snaps with the starting offense on Sunday when Manning was given practice off.

The Broncos have taken a careful approach with Thomas thus far in training camp after the three-time Pro Bowl selection skipped all of the team’s offseason program while his long-term contract was being worked out. Thomas was close to full participation this week. Sanders has missed some practice time of late with a hamstring injury.

Sanders said following Wednesday’s practice that he "felt no pain at all. I felt like I was back to myself," but Kubiak has said he wants to be sure about Sanders and some of the other injured Broncos.

Cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who has been held out of the past four full practices, including Wednesday's, with a leg injury, is also not expected to play Friday night.