Shelby Harris Jersey

As the Denver Broncos wrap up OTA’s, defensive tackle Shelby Harris believes this defense can be one of the most elite units in 2019.

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We all remember the Denver Broncos Super Bowl 50 defense that helped lead to a Lombardi in the 2015 season. Shelby Harris was not a part of that team, but he believes there is a chance he could be a part of another elite Broncos defense.

The Denver Broncos are wrapping up organized team activities. The team will take a rest before mandatory mini camp, which starts on Tuesday and goes until Thursday. So far, the team has gotten through without any major injuries.

Denver will be led by Vic Fangio, who defensive players have absolutely enjoyed worked with to this point. Derek Wolfe even went on the record saying that he “absolutely loves this defense.” Shelby Harris went a step further in his own words talking about how great the Broncos defense can be in 2019.

“Honestly, with the guys we have on the roster, I feel like we can play any defense. I really think this defense, especially defensive line wise, I feel like we have the guys that can definitely play this defense. And our secondary, we have dogs in the secondary, I definitely think we can be a top three defense this year.” -Shelby Harris (via Denver Broncos PR)

I honestly do not doubt that from Shelby Harris. Combine a solid core of defensive players with a head coach that can really bring out the best in them and this defense could be special. It remains to be seen if it could match the Wade Phillips’ 2015 Super Bowl defense, but for all we know it could be really close.

Harris could see a bigger role in the defense, especially with Domata Peko in the free agency market. A second round tender sends a signal that the Broncos have a lot of faith in Shelby Harris to become that force in the middle of the defense in 2019.

This defense has all the makings of a top one in Denver. But in order for that to come to fruition, Broncos Country and the rest of the league need to see them in action.

Tramaine Brock Jersey

The Arizona Cardinals will not have cornerback Patrick Peterson for the first six games of the 2019 season because of his suspension under the league’s PED policy. Who will replace him in the starting lineup during that time?


While many believe it will be second-round pick Byron Murphy who line up opposite Robert Alford, the Cardinals will give a veteran free agent pickup the first shot.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, veteran Tramaine Brock will be given the first opportunity in the starting lineup.

From Up to the Minute Live: The #AZCardinals are likely to give Tramaine Brock the first shot to replace suspended CB Patrick Peterson, who is expected to spend OTAs with his family. He'll be back for mandatory minicamp. pic.twitter.com/V8b6RRWiEP

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 17, 2019

“They really like him,” Rapoport said on Up to the Minute Live. “He played for (defensive coordinator) Vance Joseph last year.”

Brock started five games for the Denver Broncos last season and has started 40 games in his career.

It makes a lot of sense to go this route. One, he is familiar with the team’s new defensive system. He is a nine-year veteran.

The team believes Murphy will be very good playing in the slot. As a rookie, it might be better to let him practice at one position only, rather than starting outside in base defenses and sliding inside in nickel packages. It makes an easier transition to the NFL, giving him one specific role. And since Brock is a player Joseph trusts, the Cardinals would then have two veteran starters on the outside in Alford and Brock.

If that is how things end up playing out, then Peterson slides right into the lineup when he returns from his suspension and then Brock is on the bench, while Murphy continues to play in the slot.

Brock will get plenty of offseason reps for the next couple of weeks. Peterson is not expected to participate in voluntary OTAs.

Su’a Cravens Jersey

The Denver Broncos traded for Su’a Cravens in 2018, but he wasn’t able to get on the field long enough to make the impact he’s capable of.

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The Denver Broncos didn’t get the impact they had hoped for out of Su’a Cravens in the 2018 season.

Cravens, who was acquired in a trade with the Washington Redskins before the 2018 NFL Draft, was expected to come in and be this tight end and running back coverage specialist, but he suffered an injury in camp and was placed on IR to start the season.
Even though he came back after missing the first eight games of the year, Cravens’ effectiveness was limited by the lingering effects of his injury/rehab as well as the rust of not having played regular season football in over a year.

Cravens looked like a stud his rookie season with the Washington Redskins in 2016 but wound up taking a year away from football to get his mind and body right.

The Redskins traded him to the Broncos in 2018 and after being benched by Vance Joseph, much of Broncos Country seems to think the writing is on the wall and that Cravens is gone before he gets to show what he can do in Vic Fangio’s defense.

Fangio stated all of the new players he’s inherited will get a clean slate with him at the helm, and few if any players on Denver’s roster benefit more from that than Cravens.
We know from when he found out about being traded to the Broncos that Cravens is quite the character on social media. He uses Instagram and Snapchat to give fans a fun look inside his daily life, and he recently posted some videos on his Instagram story where he talked about getting up to 235 pounds.

He came out of USC at 226 pounds and was listed on Denver’s roster last year at 224 pounds.

What does this bulk up mean for Cravens? Does it mean the Broncos plan to use him more at the linebacker position?

If they’re asking him to put on more weight, my best guess is they plan on using him more in the box this year and are hoping he can be a similar weapon like he was at USC where he attacked the line of scrimmage, blitzed quite a bit, and being bigger should help him match up even better with tight ends.
This is a big offseason for Cravens. He has to prove to this new Broncos staff that he can still be an asset in the NFL and that he is the same player this team spent a month trying to trade for.

Shane Ray Jersey

Shane Ray spent the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos playing injured and not playing up to his standards.

He had just one sack in 2017. He had just one sack in 2018. Now he’s in Baltimore with a large chip on his shoulder, determined to prove he is still a dynamic pass rusher.

“Now that I’m healthy, I’m going to let my play do the talking,’’ said Ray, a 26-year-old outside linebacker who signed a one-year contract last week. “I know what I bring to the table. And I wouldn’t be here if they (the Ravens) didn’t know.

“When you’ve gone through the things I’ve been through, feeling that you’re almost at the top, then you get injured and your organization moves on from you when you get injured? I signed late in free agency. I’ve had to deal with a lot mentally, teams looking at me and not signing me. To finally be in a situation where I’m actually on a team, out on the field? I’m far more motivated than I ever could’ve been without all of that happening.”

There’s no doubt the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Ray has the potential to be a consistent NFL edge rusher. Ray looked ready to emerge as a star after recording eight sacks in 2016, earning a reputation as a relentless pursuer of quarterbacks.

The Broncos drafted Ray to be one of the cornerstones of their defense. He was a unanimous All-American at Missouri, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, and the 23rd-overall pick in 2015. He was expected to be the bookend pass-rushing compliment to Von Miller, the Broncos’ seven-time Pro Bowler and former Super Bowl MVP.

However, Ray dislocated his left wrist in 2017 prior to training camp, and the injury has required four surgeries. Ray missed eight games in 2017 and was inactive for five games last year. He says playing with his wrist injury instead of letting it heal first damaged the perception of him as a player.

“I came back and played before I should have, and that set me back another year,” Ray said. “It’s been two seasons of recovering from an injury, which is what caused me not to have the seasons I wanted to have the past two seasons in Denver.

“Nobody would think a wrist would hold you down like that. But when you play the position I play, it affects you. Trying to wrestle with 300-pound offensive linemen with one hand just doesn’t work. Now that I’m healthy, I can bench (press) again, I’m strong again. I have a chance to just be me again with a fresh slate.”

When Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs departed Baltimore during free agency, it left a pass-rushing void the Ravens needed to address. They responded by drafting FBS all-time career sack leader Jaylon Ferguson in the third round, then signed Ray and Pernell McPhee as free agents on May 17.

Matthew Judon, who had seven sacks last season, will be a fixture in the Ravens’ defense. But the competition for playing time opposite Judon is wide open, with Ray, McPhee, Ferguson, Tim Williams, and Tyus Bowser all having an opportunity to earn reps.

Ray is embracing the challenge and loves the defensive talent he sees on the Ravens during OTAs.

“I’m here to help this team get after the quarterback and to be a great defense,” Ray said. “They had a great defense last year. What, they had like 11 sacks in one game (against the Tennessee Titans)? It wasn’t just one guy. That’s the kind of defense I like to be on, where making plays is contagious.

“I already know our secondary is something special. It’s stacked across the board. As a pass rusher, that makes you excited – more time to get the quarterback. They can’t get the ball out fast with the secondary we have. These guys are real ballhawks.”

Ray has something that every player covets – a Super Bowl ring. He won it as a rookie with the Broncos, and he appreciates it more as time passes, having learned that NFL success doesn’t come easily.

Coming to Baltimore is a chance for Ray to reboot his career, an opportunity he doesn’t plan to waste.

“I’m trying to go back to the Super Bowl,” Ray said. “These boys went to the playoffs last year, and I haven’t been to the playoffs since 2015, the year we won it. As a rookie, you think it’s going to be like this every year. But the Broncos haven’t been back to the playoffs since.

“This is a great organization, Lamar Jackson’s a great young player. You see the formula building. You see the potential of this team. I’m glad to be part of it.”

Brendan Langley Jersey

Here’s the catch: Brendan Langley reached a point where he would rather receive passes than pick them off.

Broncos Langleys Position Switch Football

So, the Denver Broncos third-year player is calling an audible and going over to the other side — from cornerback to wide receiver.

No offense, he just prefers offense.
“It’s going well,” Langley said of learning the ropes at wideout after Monday’s organized team activities. “It’s not really a transition for me. It’s going back to my natural element.”

Langley has long floated between DB and WR. During his high school days in Marietta, Georgia, he was a standout at both. At the University of Georgia, he was primarily a defensive back. After transferring to Lamar, he began as a receiver (catching a 20-yard TD pass against Baylor) before moving over to defense that season (he had an 86-yard interception return for a score against Incarnate Word). In his two seasons at Lamar, he finished with seven interceptions for 135 yards while hauling in four passes for 51 yards.

Given his versatility and quickness (4.43 in the 40 dash), the Broncos drafted the cornerback during the third round in 2017 . His rookie season, Langley suited up in 11 games on special teams, which included a 61-yard kickoff return against the Los Angeles Chargers. Last season, Langley was cut out of camp before being quickly signed to the practice squad. He played in five games on special teams at the end of the season.

Still, he turned a few heads — on scout team. When the Broncos needed someone to mimic a fast wideout in practice, Langley was summoned into duty.

“It felt natural,” the 6-foot, 199-pound Langley said. “There weren’t too many hiccups to the learning curve. It felt good.”

At the exit interviews following the season, Langley brought his iPad with him for his meeting with Broncos boss John Elway. He wanted to convince Elway that receiver could be his best way to help the team.

“I had the film from scout team. I had my numbers from high school when I was receiver,” recounted Langley, who now wears No. 12 instead of No. 27. “I was ready to do whatever I had to do to convince him to let me make that switch.

“But then Mr. Elway smiled and said, ‘I was going to ask you the same thing.'”

This offseason, Langley’s been working out in California and hauling in 500 passes a day. He also watches film of receivers to study their route running techniques.

Anything to catch on. Anything to ease the conversion from one position to another.

He’s also picking up pointers from Emmanuel Sanders, DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton, who actually know firsthand what Langley’s going through. Sutton said he started out as a safety at Southern Methodist before switching to receiver.

“It’s rough,” said Sutton, who had 42 catches for 704 yards last season as a rookie. “Even coming out of college, going into the league, I wasn’t fully fine-tuned to play this (receiver) position. For a guy who played receiver, moved to defense and then played defense when he first got into the league and is now making that transition to receiver while in the league, it’s tough. But he’s handling it really well. He’s learning as much as he possibly can, from everybody. He takes a little advice from everybody.”

Langley is banking on his experience as a cornerback to give him a helping hand at receiver. There are small details that can betray a cornerback’s tendencies.

“I can tell by a corner’s stance what he’s playing,” Langley said. “If he’s flat-footed, he’s in cover-2. With one foot back, he’s going to backpedal. I used to do those same things.”

Now, he’s hoping his best defense just might make for good offense.

“In defensive back drills, sometimes you go into the individual drills and they’re like, ‘We don’t need a ball,'” Langley said. “That felt awkward to me. I need a ball at all times.”

Carlos Henderson Jersey

Prior to being selected in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Grambling WR and 2nd Team FCS All-American, Chad Williams, turned heads by running a blistering 4.36 at his pro day. This followed a strong performance at the 2017 Senior Bowl, which caught the attention of the Rams’ then new head coach, Sean McVay, who welcomed Williams to LA for a pre-draft visit.

The major red flag on Williams was his arrest in 2016 while sitting in a car at LSU that contained a jar of marijuana, a loaded Desert Eagle handgun and an unloaded AK-46 assault rifle, plus a 20 round magazine. Grambling suspended him for the first game of the 2016 season, but after that, Williams improved on his 64/1,012/10 TD 2015 campaign by posting a 90/1,337/11 TD 1st team All-SWAC performance.

During the 3rd round the rumor was that the Cardinals were hoping to select WR Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington) or LB Duke Riley (LSU), but the Rams and Falcons beat them to it. Thus, having already traded picks to move up in the 2nd round to take S Budda Baker (Washington), the Cardinals decided to trade their #77 pick to the Panthers (who took DE Daeshon Hall (Texas A&M) for the Panthers’ #98 (WR Chad Williams, Grambling) and 115th (G Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh) picks.

Thus far, that Panthers/Cardinals trade appears to be an ill-fated one as Daeshon Hall injured his knee in the first game of the 2017 season, was cut by the Panthers in 2018, signed to the Texans’ practice squad and then signed by the Eagles late last season. Meanwhile, Chad Williams has only 20 catches for 202 yards and 1 TD in two seasons, while Dorian Johnson was cut as a rookie and not even re-signed to the Cardinals’ practice squad.

Back in 2017 when Mike Mayock studied Chad Williams’ game tapes, he was impressed with Williams’ talent, Mayock had Williams rated higher than other pundits, most of whom projected Williams as 5th or 6th round pick.

The WR the Cardinals were hoping to take at #98 was Carlos Henderson (Louisiana Tech), but he was taken at #82 by the Broncos and then the Cardinals narrowly missed on Kenny Galloday at #96 by the Lions who, by contrast, has put up 98 catches for 1,540 yards and 8 TDs in his first two seasons.
While the Cardinals’ additions of UFA WRs Kevin White and Jarius Byrd and 2019 draft picks, WRs Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and DeeSean Johnson, have put Chad Williams squarely on the WR bubble, the good news for Williams is that the Cardinals are likely to keep 6 or 7 WRs on the 53 man roster. But that likely means he will have to beat out one or two of these additions.

Last year, Williams showed some brief flashes as a playmaker, catching 17 passes for 171 yards and his 1st NFL TD, plus running 3 jet sweeps for 42 yards (14.0 ave) the past two seasons combined. It would appear that Williams could be a good fit in the Cardinals’ new spread offense.

It is imperative for Chad Williams to come to camp in tip-top shape. Not only will he be running more routes than ever before, his will be running them at a faster pace between plays. Plus, making the roster may depend on his ability to be a stronger contributor on special teams. With his 4.3 speed and athleticism, he could turn into a very good gunner.

If he commands the football in practice and in throughout the pre-season games, Chad Williams could claim his roster spot and have a key role in the offense. It’s time now more than ever to prove why he was worthy of a top 100 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Here is a good reminder as to why the Cardinals were so high on Chad Williams when they drafted him:or Chad Williams it’s time for his talent to match his potential.

Demarcus Walker Jersey

For a guy who fancies himself a ‘living legend’ on Twitter, DeMarcus Walker‘s NFL career has been far short of epic, especially when you add in the fact that he was a 2017 second-round pick of the Denver Broncos. Walker has been an unquestionable disappointment thus far.

In two seasons with the club, Walker’s been a healthy scratch in 19 out of 32 possible games. We’ll get into the ‘why’ of that impotence shortly.

With the Broncos investing another premium draft pick in a similar D-line ‘tweener’ in Dre’Mont Jones last month, questions have arisen as to how (if) Walker fits in with Vic Fangio. Walker’s fate will be decided by Fangio, but the coach’s opinion will ultimately be determined by the player’s effort and performance during OTAs, training camp and preseason action.
Following the fourth practice of OTAs, Fangio spoke about how Walker has performed and adapted to the new coaching staff and scheme.

“I’m not sure yet, but I do think that he’s working extremely hard,” Fangio said on Monday. “I think he’s making progress and ultimately with D-Line and O-Line you have to have the pads on to see. I like where he’s at. I like where he’s at emotionally too. I think he’s in a good spot emotionally. He’s probably matured in the last couple of years and were going to see what he has or doesn’t have here come training camp.”

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Fangio is giving Walker an opportunity to start from square one with him. Fangio garnered headlines immediately following his hire when he revealed his reluctance to go back and watch Broncos film on any player — unless it was a player the team had to make a decision on in the offseason.

Fangio didn’t want to create any preconceived notions and wanted to give each player as fair an opportunity as possible to start anew in his scheme. Walker could be a huge beneficiary of that philosophy, if indeed the former Florida State standout has gotten his head right.
There have murmurings that Walker’s had a sense of entitlement as a pro and has lacked maturity, which hasn’t jibed well with D-Line Coach Bill Kollar. But if Walker’s first two years in the league weren’t enough cause for him to eat some humble pie and kind of re-center his mindset, maybe nothing will.

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Fangio alluded to that when he referred to Walker’s “emotional” status, saying that he’s in a good place there. That should be encouraging to fans who want the Broncos to get a return on their second-round investment. Walker’s work ethic has also been questioned in the past, which makes Fangio’s remark all the more positive.

Walker wasn’t a great fit to begin with in the 3-4 scheme the Broncos ran under former DC Joe Woods. Drafted at around 280 pounds, Walker was too small to hold up as a true 5-tech defensive end and too big and heavy to hang out in space as a stand-up outside linebacker.

However, with Fangio bringing his 4-3 under scheme with him to Denver, Walker projects as a much better fit — but it’s still not perfect. Walker can overcome that with the correct mindset and hard work.

The kid hasn’t always shown the best motor but where he lacks in that department he’s made up for it with a knack for being around the ball and making plays. Walker’s detractors will argue the point, but go watch his college tape at FSU and the few games he’s appeared in as a Bronco.
He’s got a nose for the ball and heading into year three, if he makes the 53-man roster — which is no sure thing — he could help the Broncos push the pocket as an interior pass rusher on obvious passing downs. Walker’s best fit would be in a traditional 4-3 system where he could line up as the weakside defensive end and rush the passer.

He’ll have to figure out a way to make himself valuable and indispensable to Fangio. The ol’ coach is never going to B.S. the media and fans at the podium, like some of his predecessors and colleagues around the league. What you see is what you get with Fangio, and if he chooses to answer a question, he’ll do so honestly and succinctly.

His remarks on Walker are encouraging but it’ll all come down to training camp when the Broncos put the full pads on and start hitting. That’s when Fangio will know whether DeMarcus Walker can be salvaged and whether there’s a place for him on this team.
Meanwhile, Dre’Mont Jones will be pushing Walker from the rear, which could have a positive effect on Walker. The Broncos need both Walker and Jones to pan out, as all three of the team’s projected D-line starters will be free agents in 2020.
The ‘Fangio bump’ should trickle downhill to Walker, if Walker is anywhere near the player the team thought he was when they invested a high-round draft pick in him. Walker will have to capitalize on the opportunity to be coached by Fangio but if he works out, the Broncos’ defense could be all the more dangerous.

With Von Miller already leading the charge, over the last three draft hauls, the Broncos have thrown Bradley Chubb, DeMarcus Walker and now Dre’Mont Jones into the mix at the point of attack. On paper, that collective of pass-rushing talent should give Fangio all sorts of options on gameday, if the latter two pan out.

DaeSean Hamilton Jersey

As a rookie, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton caught passes in seven games.

DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 15: Briean Boddy-Calhoun #20 of the Cleveland Browns tackles DaeSean Hamilton #17 of the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on December 15, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

He started five contests and tallied at least five catches in four different games.

He hauled in 30 total catches for 243 yards — an average of 8.1 yards per catch — and scored two touchdowns.

None of it was good enough for the 2018 fourth-round pick from Penn State.

“It was actually just a little bit below the standard that I had for myself,” Hamilton said Tuesday. “Obviously, I was rookie last year so I didn’t know what to expect essentially, but I had big goals and big aspirations for myself.

“… The standards and expectations that I set for myself last year, at least in my standards, I didn’t meet them.”

He started the season behind both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Thomas was dealt to the Texans ahead of the November trade deadline, and Sanders was injured ahead of the Broncos’ Week 13 game against the 49ers. Sanders’ injury elevated to Hamilton to No. 2 on the depth chart behind Courtland Sutton, and it gave the former Nittany Lion his first real opportunity.

Making his second start, Hamilton caught seven passes for 47 yards and a touchdown against San Francisco.

Even as Hamilton began to find more opportunities — he was targeted at least eight times in each of the final four games of the season — he still dealt with a nagging knee injury that he suffered against the Cardinals in Week 7.

Hamilton did not play again until a Week 10 game against the Chargers, and he said Wednesday he felt the effects through the end of the season.

“The knee was still bothering me,” Hamilton said. “I was probably playing at like 70, 80 percent in those last couple games. It wasn’t too much longer after the Chargers game [in Week 17] that the knee started to feel a lot better. Now I’m coming out here it feels great. The last four or five games, I probably felt it the most.”

Hamilton said the injury made him feel like his rookie season was cut short.

He’s healthy now, though, and he spent this offseason training to get his body prepared for a 16-game season.

That’s left him ready to make an impact for a team that didn’t pick up a wide receiver in free agency and waited until the sixth round to pick one in the draft.

Regardless of whether Sanders is ready for a Week 1 contest against the Raiders, it’s clear Hamilton should see a role similar to the one he adopted toward the end of the season.

“Even if [the Broncos] don’t have that sense right now, I have that sense for myself,” Hamilton said. “I paid attention to the draft just as much as anyone else did. Them not picking a receiver until later wasn’t really anything that I was worried about. I just knew, coming off last season, that I just wanted to basically go after that and be 10 times better this season. Whatever position that puts me in, if I perform during training camp, coach is going to see that I have a lot more reliability and he can put more reliability on guys like myself and Courtland going forward. I took notice of it, but I’ve just been working the same way as if I was a rookie. I’m trying to continue to make my mark and make a splash on this team myself.”

Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello’s system could give Hamilton the opportunity to make that splash. Hamilton said he’s running more routes this year than he did as a rookie and that Scangarello has put him in a position to “find open spaces.” That, Hamilton said, gives him the chance to use his football IQ.

And Hamilton doesn’t sound like a player who is going to let this opportunity go to waste.

“I’ve played football all of my life,” Hamilton said. “It’s something that I have really invested the majority of my time in. Whether I’m at the facility or whether I’m at home, really one of the only things I think about is football and stuff like that and being successful at what I do. It’s really just my motivation and I guess my mindset that I’ve always had that I’m going to do whatever it takes. I need to do whatever it takes, so that I can live up to the goals that I set for myself, the high standards that I want to go at for myself.”

Josey Jewell Jersey

Ever since Vic Fangio arrived as the 17th head coach in Denver Broncos’ history, fans and media alike have questioned whether the roster features the prototypical off-ball linebacker that the defensive wizard’s scheme demands.

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The Broncos have two incumbent starters at off-ball linebacker — Todd Davis and Josey Jewell. Jewell is entering his second season as a pro, after the Broncos selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Iowa.

Jewell’s rookie campaign was promising. He started nine games in place of an injured Brandon Marshall, which was more playing time than the team brass likely expected Jewell to receive as a rookie.

Fast forward to year two, however, and Jewell is now learning a new defensive scheme under Fangio’s watchful eye. The good news for those who doubt Jewell’s fit with Fangio’s scheme is the fact that Fangio liked Jewell in the 2018 draft and studied his tape as a potential fit in Chicago.

With the Broncos kicking off the second week of OTAs, Jewell addressed whether he’s a fit for Fangio’s scheme, which typically demands it’s off-ball linebackers to be speedier and able to turn around and run in coverage.

“I hope so. Only he can answer that one,” Jewell said on Monday. “I definitely hope that’s what he’s looking for. I’m definitely working on a lot of parts of my game here today and through these OTAs.”

Since Fangio took the job in Denver, the coach has been asked multiple times about Jewell. Each and every time, Fangio has lit up at the mention of Jewell’s name — in so much as the brusque, all-business Fangio lights up over anything.
There’s little doubt to me that Fangio believes Jewell is a fit for his scheme. Jewell is a very similar player as former Wisconsin stand-out, and San Francisco 49ers third-round draft pick, Chris Borland.

Borland was selected and groomed by Fangio to take over for the then-recently retired Patrick Willis. Jewell’s skill-set and measurables bear a striking resemblance to Borland’s. However, Borland ended his NFL career early due to concerns about concussions, with no small amount of media attention.

But in the one year he played under Fangio in 2014 — the coach’s final campaign in San Fran — Borland totaled 107 combined tackles (84 solo), a sack and two interceptions, while only starting eight games. Jewell’s going to be just fine in Fangio’s system but there will be differences in responsibilities and assignments, compared to last season.

“There are just small tweaks,” Jewell said. “We are still running the same style of defense if you want to say that. There are just different types of coverages, different kinds of drops, different kinds of man alignments and stuff like that. It’s small little tweaks and different communications styles.”

Fangio’s base scheme shares the same type of attacking philosophy that the previous regime inherited from Wade Phillips. At the coverage level on the back seven, however, it’s very different and very multiple — for a reason.
“With a bunch of different coverages that he has and the way he disguises things, sometimes a quarterback is not going to know what you’re in and not going to know where to pick on you at,” Jewell said. “Say you’re in Cover-3 and he thinks you’re in man or something like that. He’s not going to be able to pick it out and know exactly where to go right away and have those quick throws.”

Although Fangio has 19 years of NFL experience as a defensive coordinator, his specialty is the linebacker position, where he started. That means that Broncos’ LBs Coach Reggie Herring occasionally gets a little help and additional input from his boss during practice. Jewell and the linebackers love it, though.

“Maybe he walks by us a couple extra times during practices,” Jewell said. “I don’t know (laughing). He might say a couple more things here and there. I think the criticism is good when we pretty much have two linebackers coaches like that. We have Coach Herring and then we get a little extra from Coach Fangio if he feels the need. I think it’s good we’re getting two sets of eyes on us and really getting a lot of work.”

Herring has his own bonafides, having won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2015 and surviving now another coaching regime. There’s a reason Fangio chose to retain him in Denver to coach his pet-project position.
At the end of the day, fans shouldn’t worry about Josey Jewell fitting with Vic Fangio. They are a fit. And call it a ‘bold prediction’ if you want, but the second-year linebacker is poised to have a phenomenal and productive season under Fangio’s tutelage.

Like all Broncos’ defenders, Jewell figures to benefit from the ‘Fangio bump’. But the young linebacker also brings his fair share of ability and football IQ to the table, which Fangio will help shape and mold into a formidable tool to bludgeon opponents on gamedays.

Isaac Yiadom Jersey

While Chris Harris Jr. protests over his contractual status, the Denver Broncos quietly tweaked their secondary.

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Despite signing a $33 million contract (with $23 million guaranteed) as a natural cornerback, Kareem Jackson continued to be used primarily at free safety, opposite Justin Simmons, during the Broncos’ recent minicamp practices and Organized Team Activities.

Denver coach and defensive play-caller Vic Fangio has kept quiet regarding his full-time plans for Jackson. The former Texan, too, was intentionally vague when pressed by reporters Thursday.
“I would assume it’ll be more safety, but I’m not really sure what will happen,” Jackson said. “For me, I’m just trying to prepare to play whatever position I’m asked to play. For the most part it’s been safety, and these last two days we’ve been sprinkled in a little bit of me playing the slot, so at some point I’m sure I’ll get some reps at corner. For me, I’m just trying to prepare for all three spots.”

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Gun to your head, Kareem: safety, slot CB, or outside CB?

“If I had to choose one, safety is fun just because I get a chance to kind of see everything that’s going on and just kind of run and hit people,” he said, via Denver7. “For me, it’s just all about changing my mindset. Just knowing when I’m in the slot, knowing where my help is depending on what call we’re in. At safety, obviously getting guys in the right call and stuff like that. That’s just pretty much what it is for me. I was never told one specific role. I was told I was going to bounce around a little bit like I did last year. I was looking forward to that. That’s one of my strengths, playing multiple positions. I feel like that can help us as a defense on Sundays.”
This process figures to prolong through the preseason, and a literal answer may never surface. Jackson will float around the formation for Fangio and coordinator Ed Donatell, depending on down-and-distance, opponent, game flow and countless other factors.

Sometimes he’ll work along the perimeter, joining Harris, Bryce Callahan and Isaac Yiadom. Sometimes he’ll see snaps in the back end, forming a dynamic pairing with Simmons and Will Parks.

In the meantime, it’s extremely fluid.

“He’s still going to get a lot of work at safety, but he will get some work at corner and nickel throughout the process,” Fangio said last Sunday, prior to the start of OTAs. “It might not be tomorrow, but it will be through the next 12 practices.”
A willing tackler with plus ball skills, Jackson’s long-term position may well be safety, where he finished last season with stellar ratings, according to Pro Football Focus. Although it’s possible the Broncos are waiting for Harris’ situation to resolve itself before committing one way or the other.

“We definitely want Chris to be here,” Jackson said. “He’s a big-time player in this league.”