Denver Broncos outside linebacker Shane Ray is chomping at the bits to return action. And the former Missouri Tiger couldn’t be happier that the Broncos will be facing the Kansas City Chiefs in his first game back.
“I don’t think it could play out any better. With how well the Chiefs are playing, I feel like we’re the team to beat them,” Ray said on Monday afternoon. “I feel like we’re the team that balances up against them very well. For me to come back in that game to add some pass rush, I’m so excited. I want to be a part of the reason why we take them down and really take over our division.”
Ray suffered a left wrist injury during the first week of training camp that required surgery and resulted in the 24-year-old being placed on the team’s Injured Reserve (with designation to return) list. The Broncos informed Ray that he can return to practice next week, but the earliest he can play is Week 8 against the Chiefs. And the former first-round draft pick is counting down the days.
“We have 21 days [until Ray’s first game], but I start practice [next] Monday,” Ray explained. “For me, I feel really good. I got my pins out and that was awesome to be able to get feeling in my fingers and move my arm around. I feel good. My biggest concern was my strength in my hand coming back. Now I don’t really have that concern, especially knowing that I’ll be casted and I’ll be able to use all of my fingers and my thumb. I’m excited.”
Ray’s return will only strengthen Denver’s No. 1 ranked defense. It will give the Broncos some much needed depth at outside linebacker, where Shaquil Barrett and Von Miller are already in the midst of outstanding individual seasons, and it will also bolster their pass rush on third downs and passing situations.
After watching four games from the sidelines, Ray is fully aware of the opportunity in front of him
“Just looking at Big ‘Pek’ (Domata Peko), [Derek] Wolfe and Shelby [Harris]. Seeing how those guys are causing havoc in there and creating one-on-ones for everyone else, I’m licking my chops. I know most teams are going to slide their protection to Von and chip. They’re going to leave that backside open and that’s where we have to make our money. Those are the two one-on-one rushes and I’m looking forward to that.”
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