CARSON, Calif. — As the Denver Broncos’ defense put forth another respectable effort only to see their team get blown out on Sunday, fans and media alike began to ponder those three ugly words “locker room divide.”
After the game, though, the Broncos did their best to shoot down the idea. An idea that mostly stemmed from a story that surfaced last season regarding those same three words.
One of the main characters in that story from 2016 was then left tackle Russell Okung, whose attempt at post-loss speech was apparently shot down faster than Earl Watson’s 2017 campaign with the Suns. Interestingly enough, on a day when the locker room questions came back up, it was Okung—now a member of the Los Angeles Chargers—who was a source of a different frustration.
In the fourth quarter of the Chargers’ 21-0 win over the Broncos, Okung went low on Broncos linebacker Todd Davis, attempting an illegal chop block and further rolling up on the back of Davis’ legs. The play forced the starting linebacker out of the game, and Vance Joseph revealed on Monday that Davis, who was in a boot and on crutches, suffered a high-ankle sprain.
After the game, Davis was not happy.
“That was that illegal chop play. I came in, shot my gap, and Okung just tried to chop me from the side,” he told BSN Denver on Sunday night. “I did [think it was dirty]because I didn’t think it was necessary. I’m just glad that the ref saw it too and we were able to get the call because they kind of got a big run off of that play. I’m glad that they saw it to right the wrong… I didn’t think that was real cool. I’m not gonna take a cheap shot at anybody else like that, but it is what it is.”
Zaire Anderson—who filled in for Davis after he left the game, notching five tackles in 10 snaps—shared the same sentiment.
“Oh, yeah. Most definitely,” he said of the play being dirty. “Todd was going past him, and he went all the way out of his way just to cut him. The ball wasn’t even Todd’s way so how are you going to cut somebody when the ball isn’t even going his way?”
Anderson later added that he wasn’t sure if there was intentional malice directed at Davis, noting, “Sometimes it just happens. It’s in the moment, and you’re not trying to let your guy make the play, so it’s hard to say,” but Davis took to Twitter on Monday morning to say, “I hope offensive lineman get fined heavily for malicious acts like defenders do! ”
“I feel like, as an offensive lineman,” Anderson said, “you know if the ball is going away from you, you shouldn’t cut the guy because you know he’s not going to make that play no matter what.”
In the end, though, both Davis and his replacement were relieved the injury wasn’t worse.
“It could have been his knee,” Anderson explained. “When he cut him, the guard came back, so it was like a high-low cut block. It could have been worse, but we’re glad that it’s not. Todd will be back soon.”
While Vance Joseph did not reveal a timetable for his second-leading tackler, Davis said, “I’m definitely blessed. I feel alright; I’ll be good.”
With Corey Nelson on Injured Reserve and out for the season, the Broncos would likely have to make a move to bolster their linebacking corps if Davis has to miss any significant time.