Jerry Jeudy speaks for Broncos Country.
“I’m just tired of losing.”
After hitting his first 100-yard game (125 yards to be exact) and scoring a TD, Jeudy could not really celebrate his milestone since the Broncos fell 34-27 despite a late comeback attempt.
Asked if his great game was “mired” by the loss, Jeudy added, “You answered the question for me. If we don’t finish with a dub, it don’t mean nothin’.”
It should mean something. After all, the rookie receiver averaged nearly 18 yards per catch. But for the former Alabama Crimson star, five losses in one season is already more than he had for four years in college.
But the wide receiver is committed to fixing this losing problem as much as he can.
“I just want to do everything I can to make the team better as a whole,” he said. “Going out there in practice every day, I remind myself I want to get better and get better in that offense. Everything I do, I’ll do at 100-percent.”
Both Vic Fangio and Drew Lock have noticed that improvement already after a few key drops in his first NFL game in Week 1.
“I think he’s made really good strides here in the last couple weeks—two or three games. I like what Jerry has been playing, I like where he’s headed. He’s been practicing better and it translates to the game,” the head coach said. “I think he’s doing a good job, his arrow is definitely up and he’s what we thought we got when we drafted him.”
Although Jeudy was instrumental in heating up the offense in the second half with six catches for 107 yards and a touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter, he wishes he had been able to come down with a pass on the final drive to help give the Broncos a final chance.
“I just feel like I’ve got to have stronger hands. That’s it. That’s a good football play,” he said. “A good throw by Drew and good play by the DB, I’ve just got to finish the play and keep it in my hands.”
But Jeudy’s QB believes the rookie is really hitting his stride now, becoming more than just “a great route runner.”
“He runs some pretty crisp and some pretty clean routes, but Jerry is getting physical. He’s doing his job extremely well right now and he’s playing really, really hard,” Lock said.
Jeudy also got a little tricky on Sunday, throwing up his arm to indicate a go-route, then stopping short on the five-yard line and throwing off the DB.
“I just threw my hand up to make the DB feel like I was running the go route,” Jeudy said. “That’s something creative I’ve been thinking about with my route-running.”
Lock appreciates that his wideout is spending time thinking about how to improve his game, even when the team doesn’t get to have practice.
“That’s one thing you’ll see when you watch his film is that Jerry plays extremely hard,” Lock said. It’s one of those things where if he does make a mistake, it’s never not at 100 miles per hour and 100%. I’m proud of him.”
But Jeudy, Lock and Fangio all know that giving 100% doesn’t equal getting a win - and this team needs to start getting the wins.
And working toward it a lot sooner than the fourth quarter.
“We definitely have to get it remedied, that’s for sure,” Fangio said. When one side of the ball is struggling, the other side has to pick it up and we weren’t able to do that this week. We definitely have to start better on offense, start better on defense. ...It got way out of whack the way it was today.”
Fangio felt like the entire offense, including Lock, were “out of sorts” in the first half.
“We were struggling to move the ball, obviously, and not making first downs, not scoring,” he said. “We’ve got to get that fixed.”
Lock was a little more blunt about the first half.
“First half we stunk,” he said, noting it was another week of a lot of third-and-longs. “We just have to be better in that regard. There’s no magical potion for that to happen, it’s going to come with work. I think we’re all ready to stop the ‘it’s part of the process’ hoopla. Whatever you want to say, ‘the process’ or ‘young guys’—whatever.”
The injuries - particularly to the defense prior to yesterday’s game in which both starting cornerbacks and all starting defensive linemen were out of the game - were no doubt a factor.
But again, the coach and the players didn’t want to blame injuries or the crazy practice schedule with covid-19 quarantines for the miscues that plagued them for too much of the game.
Though, Justin Simmons agreed that it is “for sure” a factor.
“That’s not an excuse, that’s just what it is,” he said, adding that the coronavirus is just a reality for all Americans and everyone is figuring out day to day how to adjust.
The same is true in the NFL.
“With football, you wake up and you’re ready to go, practice is cancelled, you’ve got to have morning meetings,” he said, adding that the NFL is all about adjusting. “This week we had a couple curve balls and we can’t let that affect us on Sunday. We’ve got to go out and we’ve got to be able to be on top of it just as if we had a great week of practice.”
And while Simmons, who got his third INT of the season against the Falcons, doesn’t blame that for the performance Sunday, he sees it as contributing to what is to blame - not a lot of confidence in each other because there hasn’t been a lot of practice time to build it.
“I think the biggest point to that is just being confident in what we’re doing, the play calling, and then each other,” Simmons said. “When you’re out there and your number is called, we’ve got to be able to step up as a unit. Know where our strengths are, know where our weaknesses are, and execute. That’s just the biggest thing. That’s definitely something that I’m going to go back and look at to see what was the biggest difference, what was the biggest difference in the first half and why we competed more in the second half. We can’t expect to always have a game like we did against the Chargers. That’s unrealistic expectations.”
Simmons isn’t completely sure what the answer is for the defense, but it definitely involves leaders making it happen.
“Long story short is that I’m not sure, we’ve just got to be able to be more competitive,” he said. “If it’s a start of the game thing, then the leaders on the defense need to address that and we need to find ways to get going so we can sustain that the rest of the game.”
Alexander Johnson is on board for being competitive earlier.
“I feel like we still stuck together as a unit and slowed them down a lot in the second half. That was big. We almost had a chance for us to come back, there just wasn’t enough time,” he said. “We’ve got to start to move faster with these things. I feel like if we come together in all three phases in the first quarter and second quarter, we can just carry over to the second half and have the upper-hand instead of trying to fight back.”