ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos will have to face Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins' high-powered passing attack Sunday without star safety Justin Simmons, who was ruled out Friday with a hip injury that sidelined him all week.
The Broncos will also be without oft-sidelined outside linebacker Randy Gregory for the second straight game. He suffered a hip injury last week. Defensive tackle Mike Purcell (ankle) returned to practice Friday and is listed as questionable.
Simmons missed practice all week but did work on the side fields. He missed four games last year with a thigh injury but still tied for the league lead with six interceptions.
His latest injury leaves the Broncos (0-2) without both starting safeties with whom they broke camp just as they face their stiffest test yet. Caden Sterns suffered a season-ending injury in their opener against the Raiders.
Simmons' status makes it all the more fortunate for Denver that 14th-year safety Kareem Jackson avoided a suspension from the NFL this week after he sent an opponent to the sideline with a vicious high hit for the second straight week.
Jackson was ejected in the second quarter against Washington last week after launching himself at Logan Thomas on the tight end's touchdown catch, leaving Thomas concussed and igniting the Commanders' 35-33 comeback from an early 21-3 deficit.
With Simmons sidelined, second-year safety Delarrin Turner-Yell is preparing to make his first NFL start opposite Jackson, who was beaten out by Sterns this summer.
Three of Broncos coach Sean Payton's teams in New Orleans, where he coached from 2007-21 — except for his Bountygate suspension in 2012 — were winless after three games, including his 2007 team that started 0-4.
Denver QB Russell Wilson has never started a season with more than two losses. His Seattle Seahawks teams in 2015 and 2018 both started out 0-2 before rebounding to finish 10-6 and qualify for the playoffs.
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Arnie Stapleton, The Associated Press