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Essang Bassey: “It’s going to be on us to make plays”

The rookie nickel back said the onus will be on the Broncos secondary to come through against the Raiders.

Broncos nickel back, Essang Bassey joined Broncos Country Tonight with Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright to talk about the upcoming matchup with the Raiders, and his learnings on the season so far.

Bassey mentioned all the weapons that the Raiders have in Hunter Renfrow, and the speedsters Henry Ruggs and Nelson Agholor who can both take the top off. Add in tight end Darren Waller, and the Broncos defense will have their work cut out for them as Derek Carr comes into this game with 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

The rookie corner said they expect the ball to be in the air plenty this Sunday, and that it’s going to be on the guys on the backend to make the plays that they didn’t make against the Falcons, as Matt Ryan threw for three touchdowns last week.

Essang Bassey has found himself garnering significant playing time for an undrafted rookie, with all the injuries in the secondary. He has played 41% of defensive snaps this year, and was essentially a starter last week against Atlanta.

He talked about the mentorship and coaching up he’s been receiving from the veterans in the secondary like Kareem Jackson, AJ Bouye, and Bryce Callahan. Bouye and Jackson both had good things to say about Bassey and his contributions this week during their respective calls with reporters.

Jackson point out Bassey’s consistency and work he’s putting in every day:

“I think Essang has been—when he’s been called upon, he’s been playing great. For me, him being a young guy, when I see him out there, I know what to expect out of him just because he’s done it on a day to day basis. He’s very consistent in what he does. He’s a smart player. He’s where he needs to be. He’s been doing some great things for us, so I know when I see him out there I know he’s going to be consistent in what he does and just because he’s shown that since day one and walking into the building.

Bouye also called out Bassey’s smarts and how well he’s picking up the playbook:

“Essang shows that he knows the playbook a lot, especially at the Nickel. He’s showing everything that you want to see. He’s aggressive, he comes up in the run game, he has a good blitz path and he plays the pass game well too with great coverage. There’s not much you can really say because you watch him on the field, especially in practice. He’s always going 100 percent whether it’s scout team, special teams or even now getting reps with the defense. He’s well deserving of that and he’s gelled along with us good.”

It’s great to hear the veteran guys singing the praises of an undrafted rookie, and while the injuries in the secondary are never a good thing, Bassey is getting a lot of great on the job experience this year in the slot, and is looking like a great find by Fangio and company.

Check out the full interview above, or here.