The Broncos defense has held up pretty well without cornerback Champ Bailey in the first two games of the season, but it’s looking like they aren’t going to get a chance to go for the trifecta.
Bailey took part in a padded practice on Thursday for the first time since the preseason and a little less than a week since coach John Fox said he was making good progress in his recovery from a foot injury. With two more days of practice this week, Bailey should get every opportunity to show the staff that he’s ready to make his 2013 debut.
With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tony Carter and Chris Harris playing well through the first two weeks, there shouldn’t be much need to push Bailey into too prominent a role at the moment he returns. He can play limited snaps while getting himself back into game shape and the Broncos won’t have to do too much shuffling to a lineup that’s been playing well.
Tight end Joel Dreessen was also in pads for Denver on Thursday. Like Bailey, he’s been out since the preseason and should have a shot at playing against Oakland as he takes the final steps in his recovery from knee surgery. With Julius Thomas playing very well thus far, Dreessen’s role will be more limited than it was last season.