Broncos Briefs: A.J. Bouye out vs. Atlanta’s second-ranked passing game

The Broncos will be without top cornerback A.J. Bouye when they face the Atlanta Falcons and star receiver Julio Jones on Sunday.

Bouye has been in the NFL’s concussion protocol since getting hit by teammate Kareem Jackson in last week’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Before practice Friday, coach Vic Fangio said Bouye, “hasn’t done as well as (running back) Phillip (Lindsay) did last week,” in his recovery. Lindsay was concussed against Kansas City but played seven days later against the Chargers.

Minus Bouye, who will miss his fifth game this year, the Broncos will start rookie Michael Ojemudia opposite Bryce Callahan in the base package. Rookie Essang Bassey is expected to be the third corner.

The injury news is better on Lindsay (foot), Callahan (ankle), receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) and tight end Nick Vannett (foot). All are listed as questionable, but Fangio expects all to be active. Safety Trey Marshall (illness) is questionable after not practicing Friday. Returner/receiver Diontae Spencer (shoulder) is doubtful.

Defensive end Shelby Harris remains on the COVID-19/reserve list, but has not tested positive.

“Shelby is still talking back and forth with the league (about) whether he’ll be available or not,” Fangio said. “It’s probably below 50-50 that he will be (active).”

Chubb homecoming. Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb attended high school about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and will face his hometown team for the first time as a pro. Chubb said family members secured tickets from the Broncos and bought them from the Falcons.

“All in all, 45-60 people will be there cheering me on,” he said. “It’s going to be a cool experience to go back home and play against a team I watched growing up and cheering for.

“Seeing when (quarterback) Matt Ryan and Julio (Jones) got drafted and being that fan cheering for them and now I get to be on the field going against them, it’s for sure a pinch-me moment.”

Improving coverage teams. The Broncos changed up their personnel on kickoff coverage last week after allowing a 102-yard touchdown to Kansas City. But there was another adjustment.

“We changed a little more of where we kicked the football,” special teams coordinator Tom McMahon said. “What gets you in trouble sometimes, (like) when we gave up the big return to Kansas City, we tried to hit a touchback and when you don’t hit it, you have guys way spread out. The biggest thing we have to make sure we do, if we don’t get the touchback, is I have to put them in a position to make plays and they have to do a great job of making plays.”

McMahon said the Broncos tackled “bad” on special teams last week against the Chargers.

“We have to tackle,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. It’s going to come with reps. … We have a long ways to go. We need to get better and better and make no excuses.”

Ryan praises Lock. Ryan, 35, will make his 208th regular season/playoff start and Broncos quarterback Drew Lock will make his 11th start.

Ryan can relate to Lock’s come-from-behind win last week over the Chargers.

“That’s huge for a confidence builder when you’re young,” Ryan told Atlanta reporters. “You go into those situations, you make the plays when you need to and find a way to win. You have to learn how to do that in this league. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of him early in his career. Seems like he’s got great poise and confidence.”

Footnote. Sunday will be the Broncos’ first road game this year with fans in attendance (less than 10,000). … Fangio said secondary coach Renaldo Hill and defensive assistant Chris Beake have led the defensive backs in practice and meetings in the absence of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. … Offensive line coach Mike Munchak, who missed the Chargers game, has been back at practice this week. … One drawback of the intensive protocols is very little in-person interaction between players and coaches. “It’s a little harder to get with the players 1-on-1 because there is less hanging out in the locker room or cafeteria,” Fangio said. … Outside linebacker Von Miller (ankle) provided a timetable of three weeks or a month until he returns. “When he gets medical clearance to start going out there and joining practice, then we will have a much more worthwhile conversation,” Fangio said. … Fangio, the pride of Dunmore, Pa., on his home state’s ongoing vote count: “I can’t believe in this day and age of technology and everything else, it’s harder to count votes than it was in the 1960s.”

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