It was bound to happen. Isaiah McKenzie fumbled the ball late in the fourth quarter of last night’s week two preseason matchup against the Bears. The fumble was recovered by the Bears and ended any potential comeback by the Broncos.
Bears defense wins the game. Broncos WR Isaiah McKenzie fumbles and Bears recover. pic.twitter.com/Epy9sTsG9H— Football Dungeon (@DuaneLively) August 19, 2018
It wasn’t a punt, but McKenzie did once again fumble the ball. He hauled in a screen pass from quarterback Paxton Lynch and while trying to make something out of nothing, had the ball “peanut punched” by a Bears defender.
It was some tough luck and something that unfortunately happens, but it happened, and it happened to McKenzie who is trying to shake the ball security woes that plagued him his rookie year.
Head Coach Vance Joseph was asked about this after the game and he said he hopes this doesn’t set McKenzie back.
“I hope not. He’s a year older. Obviously things happen. He has to get back on the field Monday and keep pushing. He’s a good young player. He’s had a good camp. He played well last week, so hopefully it doesn’t set him back and he just keeps pushing forward. Things happen.”
McKenzie has been having a strong camp once again by all accounts and just looked like a different player than the one who had his confidence broke last season. If you remember, McKenzie ended up in the doghouse after multiple fumbles and was inactive for a handful of games late in the year. He also had a skirmish with cornerback Chris Harris Jr. during practice which led to the then-rookie to be seen crying at his locker with then running back C.J. Anderson consoling him.
It was a rough go for a rookie who had a promising start to the season but the fumbles shook his confidence and it all spiraled out of control from there. This is what Joseph was hoping wouldn’t happen again after his first fumble. It was going to happen at some point. He wasn’t going to go fumble free throughout the rest of his career so he needs to keep pushing as Joseph said after the game.
Fumbles have always been a part of McKenzie’s game. He had a total of 8 through two seasons at Georgia and that trend continued his rookie year in the NFL. Hopefully, he can buck that trend moving forward.
I think McKenzie has done enough to win a roster spot. He has been solid Training Camp/Preseason as a returner and the ball hasn’t hit the ground there. One unfortunate play doesn’t change that, but how McKenzie deals with this will make or break him going forward.
Hopefully, the Broncos electric returner does indeed keep pushing and moves forward and serves as a weapon for them in the return game in 2018.