ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -Denver's defensive line suddenly isn't so deep.
The Broncos lost starting end Ebenezer Ekuban to a torn Achilles' tendon last weekend and on Monday traded tackle Gerard Warren to the rival Oakland Raiders for a conditional fifth-round draft choice next year.
All three linemen the Broncos drafted in April have been banged up. Now the rookies face the difficult task of speeding up their learning curve while also making up for lost time.
Early in camp, first-rounder Jarvis Moss twisted a knee and fourth-rounder Marcus Thomas was hobbled by a strained calf. Second-rounder Tim Crowder has a sprained left ankle that kept him out of Monday's practice.
Amon Gordon, a third-year pro who was on the Broncos' practice squad last year, has emerged as the man to beat at right defensive tackle, Warren's old spot. Warren didn't fit into new defensive boss Jim Bates' scheme.
Who will take over for Ekuban is up the air.
Bates said the Broncos will miss Ekuban's leadership as much as his on-field performance.
``He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. He prepares and practices hard. It's definitely going to be a loss,'' Bates said. ``And what happens now is some of the younger guys have to step up. We don't have time to get them ready for the middle of the season or so forth after losing Eb.''
Ekuban's right defensive end job could go to Crowder or 11th-year pro Kenard Lang, who moved into the starting lineup last summer when Courtney Brown suffered a season-ending injury in training camp.
Coach Mike Shanahan said Crowder could return to practice this week and there's a chance he could play this weekend.
``(It's) a little hard to tell right now,'' Shanahan said, ``but he was walking without a limp, so that's a good sign.''
Moss hasn't worked his way into the mix yet, in part because of the week of workouts he missed after twisting his left knee while doing a spin move during one-on-one pass-rush drills on Aug. 6. He was carted off the field but an MRI was negative.
``Well, he's not ready to start yet, but he does have a big upside. He's got some pass-rush ability. He does have some speed,'' Shanahan said. ``He will get there in time. He might get there a little sooner than anticipated. He's got a couple more weeks to improve. He's been working extremely hard. He's very bright.''
Bates said Moss hasn't caught up from the time he's missed.
``He was coming on fast,'' Bates said. ``He had a couple bright spots the other night but it wasn't nearly as complete as if he'd been practicing. So, hopefully through this week, next week, we will see the improvement that we saw, oh, 10 days ago.''

Recent NFL Discussions

CFL Betting News and Notes Week 2 on Wed, Jun 2017 by Blade
College Football Conference Previews on Mon, Jun 2017 by Blade
CFL Betting News and Notes Week 1 on Sun, Jun 2017 by Blade
Handicapping Game of the Year Odds on Sun, Jun 2017 by Blade
SEC Schedule Breakdown on Thu, Jun 2017 by Blade

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail NFC North Odds to Win Are the Packers a sure thing to win the NFC North again in 2017? According to oddsmakers, that answer is yes.
Thumbnail NFC East Division Odds Are the Cowboys favored to repeat as NFC East Division champions in 2017?
Thumbnail Bills showing interest in Maclin Could the Bills be on the verge of signing Jeremy Maclin, who was recently released by the Chiefs?

NFL Team Pages