Broncos promote Ahmad Gooden to beef up pass rush

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP)Just three days after signing Orson Charles, the Denver Broncos waived the veteran tight end to make room for outside linebacker Ahmad Gooden.

Charles, a sixth-year pro who could play fullback, was signed after Andy Janovich dislocated his right elbow in Denver’s 27-23 loss at Minnesota last weekend. But he only lasted three days because of rookie linebacker Justin Hollins’ hamstring injury.

”Hollins can’t play so we wanted four outside ‘backers up” for Sunday’s game at Buffalo, coach Vic Fangio said. ”And he’ll be on a bunch of the special teams, too, so I’m anxious to see him play.”

Gooden is a rookie from Samford University whom the Broncos signed as a college free agent April 30 and who had spent the season on Denver’s practice squad. He had 11 tackles and two special teams stops in the preseason.

Fangio said he’s optimistic his three injured interior offensive linemen – guards Dalton Risner (ankle) and Ronald Leary (shoulder/neck) and center Connor McGovern (back) – will play when the Broncos (3-7) visit the Bills (7-3). It’s less likely that right tackle Ja’Wuan James will play.

James has missed eight games and parts of the other games with a knee injury. Fangio said it’s possible James would test it out pregame but he didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday and was limited Friday.

James has only played 32 snaps after signing a four-year free agent deal that guarantees him $32 million. Asked if that impacted the offense this season, Fangio said, ”I think any time you lose a good player, it impacts you somehow, some way. The answer is probably yes, but I think Elijah (Wilkinson) has gone in there and played (well) for us. I think he’s benefiting from this and I think he’ll be a good player for us.”

With Wilkinson already subbing at right guard, the Broncos haven’t had the option of benching left tackle Garett Bolles, whose holding habit has continued in his third NFL season. He has 11 holding penalties this year.

Asked if there had been an official decision on who will back up starting quarterback Brandon Allen on Sunday, Fangio cracked, ”It’s not official, but I’ll tell you it’s Rypien. That’s just between you and me, now.”

Rookie Brett Rypien was promoted from the practice squad after Joe Flacco (neck) went on IR. The Broncos have until Dec. 3 to activate rookie QB Drew Lock (thumb) off injured reserve or he won’t get any game action until 2020.

Fangio has been noncommittal about whether Lock will play this season.

”Again, he’s not getting a ton of reps,” Fangio said. ”He’s definitely doing good when you factor in that he hadn’t done anything since whenever in August. Is he ready? You know, I don’t know that he’ll ever be ‘ready’ ready in the next few weeks based upon his lack of practice time, but there’s a chance at some point maybe he’ll play.”

Notes: Fangio said CB Royce Callahan (foot) had surgery to replace a broken screw in his right foot. ”They think it was a success and already looking better than it was, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best,” Fangio said.

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