Broncos OLB Frank Clark out vs. Commanders due to hip injury

The Broncos will be short-handed in the pass rush department, which struggled in the season-opening loss to the Raiders last week.

Outside linebacker Frank Clark was ruled out for Sunday’s home matchup against the Washington Commanders due to a hip injury. Clark, a two-time Super Bowl champion, has missed the last two days of practice after being a limited participant on Wednesday.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Clark is expected to miss multiple weeks, but the injury is not considered serious. On Friday, Broncos head coach Sean Payton said he doesn’t expect Clark’s injury to change the team’s plan of rotating edge rushers.

Against the Raiders, outside linebackers Randy Gregory and Jonathon Cooper played in more than 60% of the defensive snaps. Clark was in 42% of the defensive snaps, while second-year edge rusher Nik Bonitto was in 25%. Undrafted rookie Thomas Incoom was inactive, but there’s a chance he could play Sunday due to Clark’s absence.

Tight end Greg Dulcich (hamstring) will also not play against Washington, while wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (hamstring) is active. Payton doesn’t expect Jeudy to be on a pitch count.

While Denver saw its depth at pass rush shrink, the Commanders added reinforcement ahead of the Week 2 matchup. Defensive end Chase Young will make his season debut after missing last week’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals due to a stinger.

Payton recalls Super Bowl XXXIII

Payton’s relationship with former Broncos quarterback John Elway goes beyond their countless rounds of golf with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky in Idaho.

Payton, being the student of the game that he is, had spent a lot of time watching Elway’s game film and learning how former head coach Mike Shanahan operated his offenses in Denver. Payton said Shanahan had “split the atom” when he put the big tight end outside the receivers in an empty formation.

Ahead of the Broncos’ honoring the 25th anniversary of their Super Bowl 33 victory on Sunday, Payton raved about Denver’s 34-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons in 1999.

“There’s certain plays that come up,” Payton said. “They ran this stutter comeback post that I’ve never seen before for a touchdown. It was a dominant performance. That stretch of three years was unbelievable.”

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