Juwan Thompson gives Broncos’ ground game a lift
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Rookie Juwan Thompson gave a big boost to the Broncos’ thin running back rotation by participating in all of Friday’s final tuneup for the New York Jets.
Coach John Fox says Thompson had a good week of practice, and “we’re counting on him for the game.”
The undrafted rookie from Duke hurt his knee Sunday against Arizona. He missed Wednesday’s workout and was limited Thursday.
With starter Montee Ball sidelined by a groin injury, Ronnie Hillman got most of the snaps with the starters this week and is to make his first NFL start Sunday. Thompson and C.J. Anderson will divvy up the rest of the carries.
The Broncos brought in veterans Mikel Leshoure and LaRod Stephens-Howling for tryouts Tuesday but decided to stick with Ball’s three backups for now.
“I’ve been very pleased with the way they’ve gone about their business,” Fox said.
Thompson was hurt late in the third quarter Sunday after Ball had already left. But with Anderson inactive, he returned in the fourth quarter and scored his first career touchdown on an 8-yard run.
“I didn’t know what to do when I got in there,” Thompson said. “It was so unexpected because I wasn’t expected to play the rest of the game. But I had to step up when Montee went down.”
The Broncos’ running game has struggled this season, with two dozen carries either going for no gain or negative yardage. Denver faces another tough run defense Sunday — the Jets rank sixth in the league.
“I’m still a rookie,” Thompson said. “So every team is going to be a top-five defense to me because I’m still getting used to the speed of the game and those guys up front.”
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton