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, Colo. (AP) The slumping Denver Broncos
have a new punt returner and a new backup outside linebacker. They might be
getting a fresh face at quarterback soon, too.

Vance Joseph, whose team is mired in a five-game slump in which the Broncos
(3-6) have been outscored by a whopping 97 points, promoted wide receiver Jordan
Taylor ahead of rookie Isaiah McKenzie Cheap
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, whose fifth fumble Sunday night ignited the
New England Patriots’ 41-16 rout of their rival.

Joseph also said Brock Osweiler remains on track to start Sunday against the
Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) despite a sore throwing shoulder that limited him in
practice Wednesday, when Paxton Lynch got his heaviest workload of the

Article continues below ...

Osweiler, who has started the last two weeks, said his injury was ”no big
deal. It’s something that I was able to play the entire game with and didn’t
miss a single snap. I’m going to be ready to go Sunday and it’s not going to
cause any problems.”

Lynch has been sidelined since spraining his throwing shoulder in the
Broncos’ third preseason game.

While insisting ”Brock is still the starter. He will be fine Cheap
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,” Joseph wouldn’t commit to either Lynch or
former starter Trevor Siemian being the backup against the Bengals.

”Right now, that’s being determined,” Joseph said. ”We gave Paxton No. 2 reps
today to kind of see where he’s at with his shoulder. He did fine. He threw the
ball fine today.”

Joseph said Lynch took the snaps on throwing plays and Osweiler on

”He threw the ball fine,” Joseph said of Lynch Cheap
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, whom the Broncos moved up to draft in the
first round in 2016 only to see him get handily beaten out by Siemian two
consecutive training camps. ”He had command of the huddle. It’s practice. It
should look good in practice.”

That’s become a running joke on the airwaves in Denver. Joseph, in his first
year as a head coach in the NFL after a single season as a defensive coordinator
in Miami, has said repeatedly over the last month that the Broncos have had
great weeks of practice before getting blown out.

They’ve been outscored 165-68 during their recent rut, including 55-9 in the
first quarter.

For weeks Cheap
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, it was Lynch who was limited to throwing
short passes but on Wednesday Osweiler could only throw short passes while Lynch
”threw a deep ball today,” Joseph said. ”It looked good.”

For the first time all year, Joseph indicated Lynch could see his first
action of the season this weekend, if needed.

”I would say yes Cheap
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,” Joseph said.

Lynch said he feels fine and is ready if called upon.

”I would have said that right when I got hurt,” too, Lynch said. ”But I
talked to the trainers and the coaches, and they’ve done a good job so far and I
feel great. I’m just going to continue to leave it up to them.”

As for benching McKenzie Cheap
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, Joseph said, ”I want to get the ball
caught. That’s the first job description for a punt returner, is to possess the
ball. … We can’t have any more issues as far as muffing the punts.”

McKenzie won’t return kickoffs, either.

”That’s (Devontae) Booker’s job Cheap
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,” Joseph said.

Also Wednesday, the Broncos replaced outside linebacker Kasim Edebali on the
roster by promoting Deiontrez Mount from their practice squad.

”It was more about Mount,” Joseph said. ”Mount has had a month and a-half of
practice rushing the passer and playing on teams. It was more about Mount
earning the opportunity to be on the roster.”

Mount is a third-year pro who’s appeared in five career games with the Titans
(2015) and Colts (2016) after a standout career at Louisville.

Joseph said there was never any thought of promoting Jonathan Williams from
Denver’s practice squad this week when the New Orleans Saints signed away the
former Arkansas running back to bolster their already stout backfield. The
Broncos had been paying Williams $30,000 a week Cheap
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, almost as much as Siemian is making.

”We’ve got four healthy backs right now, including a fullback, so we have
five in the room,” Joseph said. ”So we had no room.”

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