“The Gut” had to leave something new in its stomach last Sunday: Butterflies.
“I went in there and I believe it was (tight end Eric) Saubert, he came in there and he went, ‘Is this your first play?'” Broncos rookie guard Quinn Meinerz, aka “The Gut,” said Thursday at UCHealth Training Center when asked about his NFL debut against the Jets.
“And I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ And I’m like, ‘We don’t have to make this a big deal. I’m just going to go out there and do my thing and just have fun with it.'”
More fun may just be around the turn. Based on the health of first-team guards Dalton Risner (ankle) and Graham Glasgow (knee), both Meinerz and second-year blocker Netten Muti could get a start on Sunday, when the Baltimore Ravens are in town for a Week 4 matchup. do roll.
The chances of that happening increased a few degrees on Thursday, given that neither Risner or Glasgow practiced for the second day in a row.
“Muti and Meinerz are good players, and if they have to go on Sunday, we will be ready,” coach Vic Fangio said of his offensive line injuries on Thursday. “Consistency is always important, but when an injury strikes, you test your depth. And right now, our depth is doing well.”
Muti, a sixth-round draft pick in 2020 from Fresno State, could be in line for his second start in the first four weeks of the season and the third of his career.
The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder played on 43% of the Broncos’ offensive snaps in Glasgow’s relief during the Jets’ 26-0 beating last weekend, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. He started for Glasgow on right guard during a Week 2 victory in Jacksonville.
“You just have to be prepared, even on the edge,” Muti said on Thursday. “You have to be ready (to play) the whole time.”
The Broncos collected 146 of their 343 net offensive yards and nine of their 14 in the second half last Sunday. With Risner and Glasgow recovering, they took a comfortable 17-0 lead at the break.
Meinerz made his NFL debut in the third quarter of Week 3 after Risner left, appearing on the Broncos’ 37% offensive snap for the afternoon.
“I like his personality,” Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said of the rookie guard, a Division III third-round pick from Wisconsin-Whitewater. “He is a tough guy and he runs around and kills people. I think he had some really good plays that day (Sunday) and I hope he makes up for it if he is forced to play it (Sunday).
Cracked Fungio: “Sometimes, the best way to get your first action is cold turkey. Now (Meenerz) knows he’s likely to play this week. Hopefully, he’s not getting overwhelmed.”
Or getting butterflies.
“I mean, we’re practicing every day against a great defense, so I felt ready,” Meinerz recalled. “But it’s a faster game than Division III, compared to the Senior Bowl. And a little faster than the Precision. So yeah, it’s definitely faster. But I was up for it.”