The first dose of trouble has hit the Denver Broncos this summer.
Chris Kuper, one of quarterback Peyton Manning’s best protectors, will reportedly miss six weeks after breaking his forearm in a training camp practice Tuesday. Kuper is one of the better guards in the NFL. An underrated player, Kuper is tough and stout. The Broncos and Manning will miss him.
Kuper is expected to miss the first three games of the season. The good news for Denver, which has been extremely confident this summer because of the presence of Manning, is that it has been working a lot with Kuper this summer, so the transition won’t be drastic.
Career backup Manny Ramirez has been practicing (and he started the preseason opener at Chicago last week) because Kuper was being eased back after a severe ankle injury in Week 17 last season.
UPDATE: The Broncos sent out a release saying Kuper’s recovery timetable is 4-6 weeks. The Broncos open the regular season at home against Pittsburgh in 26 days, so the likely best-case scenario is Kuper could play Sept. 17 at Atlanta.
In other AFC West news:
Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said cornerback Brandon Flowers likely will practice Tuesday. But if he doesn’t practice Wednesday, he will likely not play Saturday against St. Louis. He has been out for two weeks with a bruised foot.
NFL.com has reported former Florida running back Jeff Demps is planning to play in the NFL immediately. He is eligible to sign with any team. The productive college running back concentrated on the Olympics, where he just won a silver medal as part of a relay team. Demps will likely not be an immediate impact player, but he is worth developing. I think every team in the AFC West could explore the idea of signing Demps.