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If (player’s name) doesn’t have a great year, the Broncos defense could falter

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On Broncos Country Tonight, our Jeff Essary went with Jurrell Casey.

Jeff Essary laid out the three reasons why he thinks the Denver Broncos defense will make a big leap forward this season.

On Friday’s Broncos Country Tonight with Anthony Rodriguez (filling in for Ryan Edwards) and Benjamin Allbright, they had a conversation centered on that piece. They asked Jeff if a defensive player doesn’t have a great year, it could make the Broncos defense falter in 2020.

“I think to me it would be Jurrell Casey,” Jeff told the guys. “Just looking at what he did or what he’s done in the league over the last several years and what Denver is expecting him to do. One of the reasons that I’m really high on the Broncos defense is because they got a guy like Casey. Whenever a team goes out and fixes some of their bigger weaknesses from the previous year, you expect big things from them going into the following one. And Jurrel Casey was a huge fix for the interior pass rush, and really just some additional pass rush help.

“I know the health of Bradley Chubb is looking good ... but he is coming back off injury. Von Miller is not getting any younger. So having additional guys to help on the pass rush side, if Casey somehow gets hurt or it doesn’t pan out and he doesn’t provide that oomph up the middle that you’re expecting him to, I think the defense doesn’t have as high of marks as you would potentially expect.”

I totally agree with Jeff on Casey. I think Casey has been the interior guy Denver has missed since Malik Jackson signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But I’ll add one more: cornerback Bryce Callahan. By all accounts the cornerback is healthy and “ready to go,” according to defensive coordinator Ed Donatell earlier this week.

If Callahan is able to go, he could play a big role on this defense and take some of the focus off A.J. Bouye. In fact, it would lessen the concern over the lack of depth in the secondary. But until Callahan is on the field for a game, Broncos Country has reason to feel skeptical.

Bonus listen

Broncos Hall of Famer Terrell Davis joined the guys to talk about the national hype for Drew Lock and the team, the chip on Phillip Lindsay’s shoulder with the signing of Melvin Gordon, and how the two running backs will be used in Denver’s offense.