Broncos Country is used to No. 10 showing off.
But for the past five years there was a different name on that jersey.
And it turns out that THAT No. 10 is also looking to Denver’s new No. 10 for some tips.
Because as good as Emmanuel Sanders has been in his NFL career - which included four-and-a-half seasons with the Broncos - the veteran receiver knows a stud when he sees one.
And that’s Denver’s first-round draft pick Jerry Jeudy.
Emmanuel Sanders is getting route-running tips from him— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 24, 2020
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You guys realize how abnormal this is for a rookie, right?
Jerry Jeudy is different pic.twitter.com/639PKRhUGx
“He just [messaged me] and said he wanted to come workout with me,” Jeudy said of his training time with Sanders during the quarantined offseason. “He was picking little details of my game and seeing how I run routes and things like that. I was learning a little bit from him as well.”
In fact, Jeudy took the request as confirmation that he’s on the right track with his talent in the NFL.
“It means a lot,” Jeudy said of Sanders’ ask. “It’s saying that I’m doing something right. Having a veteran that’s been in the league four, five six, eight, 10 years asking me how I do certain things is really exciting because I’m trying to be in the same spot they’re in and they’re asking me tips from my game. It’s exciting and I’m very humbled.”
What Sanders knew way back in the offseason is exactly what Broncos’ quarterback Drew Lock found out within the first few days of training camp.
“We’ll say Jerry is pretty good. We’ll put it that way,” Lock said of the receiver. “Jerry has been great. I think the best thing that I’ve seen out of Jerry is how hard he comes out and works every day and just how on top of it he is—no questions asked. I pop in there and call plays out. ...I’ve just been extremely impressed with how much work the guys around us have been putting in to be able to come out ready to go every single day knowing that we don’t have very many days to be ready for that Monday night game against Tennessee.”
It’s not just his quarterback taking notice, either. The defensive backs have gotten a big taste of what Jeudy will do to opponents this season.
“He’s a great player. I love going up against him because I know I’m getting better,” cornerback Bryce Callahan said. “He’s a savvy receiver, and he knows how to create that separation that quarterbacks love to see.”
A.J. Bouyé named Jeudy immediately when asked who liked going up against.
“Being in the league for a while, I’ve seen a lot of rookie receivers come in and it seems like they don’t have it figured out. You can look at those two [Jeudy and K.J. Hamler] and tell—whether it’s in the offseason, coaching that they’ve had outside—they’re real polished in routes, especially Jeudy,” Bouyé said. “He never gives you the same look every time and I’m loving going against him. He’s going to keep me true to my technique.”
Head coach Vic Fangio has been asked no less than four different press conferences what he thinks of Jeudy’s route running. Given that that was one of the reasons Denver drafted the former Crimson Tide wideout, Fangio’s reply that Jeudy’s routes have been “polished” even for a rookie wasn’t surprising.
But it was reassuring all the same.
“He is a good route runner. That was obvious watching his college tape,” Fangio said earlier this week. “He’s got a good feel for it.”
In true Fangio style, though, he wasn’t overly complimentary, adding that Jeudy will face tougher coverages now that he’s playing with the big boys of pro football.
“But he’s going to have to be able to bring that up to the next level against press coverage and against various different coverages that he’ll see in the NFL,” Fangio said. “He’ll see more than he saw in college. He’s going to have to adapt that ability to bring it to the next level. He’s not there yet, but think he should be able to.”
Jeudy would be the first to agree with his coach.
In fact, as the wide receiver garnered compliments on both sides of the ball for his remarkable route-running during the first nine days of camp, he showed some chinks in the armor early during Tuesday’s 10th day of camp.
Lock threw a deep pass to Jeudy in the end zone during 11-on-11 work, but it bounced off his hands. In 7-on-7 play, Duke Dawson Jr. nearly intercepted a pass to Jeudy, and Jeudy also dropped a pass later in the period.
But like a good pro would, Jeudy had a short memory of those misses and came back with an over-the-shoulder catch down the sidelines. He also notched a red-zone touchdown on a Lock scramble in which he just got his feet down inside the lines.
Jeudy takes the game in stride, not allowing being a first-round pick to add pressure.
“I don’t really think it’s really challenging for me because the more you practice, the more reps you get and the easier it gets. I feel like us practicing right now is helping me adjust to the game,” he said.
Although missing OTAs and preseason makes some of the adjustment tougher, Jeudy believes it’s all about preparation - no matter how that has to happen.
“I feel like if you’re not prepared when it’s game day, you’re not supposed to be out there,” he added. “I feel like our coaches have been doing a good job preparing us to be ready for Sundays.”
While Jeudy and Sanders were working out, the vet did give the rookie some tips on being ready for Sundays in Denver.
“He said it’s really a nice city. Really laid back, but also, playing for Denver is big,” Jeudy said. “You have to compete and work hard each and every day.”
Jeudy is probably mostly relieved that moving from Alabama to Colorado didn’t actually mean he’d have to live among wild mountain animals.
“Yeah, that was big,” he laughed. “That was big. I didn’t want a bear coming in my house.”