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Denver Bronco defensive snap tracker through week 12

See the new faces currently playing ILB for the Broncos

NFL: NOV 28 Chargers at Broncos Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Denver Bronocs defense has been more injured than the offense by and large.

Defensive Line

One of the stalwarts on the defensive line so far this year has been Dre’Mont Jones, although some of you have forgotten about Dre. Shelby Harris had been the other stalwart of the defensive line until he missed last game with injury. Mike Purcell is back but playing with a cast on his hand (and a club). In most games this year we have rotated five defensive linemen for the three spots with Shemar Stephen and DeShawn Williams being the other two.

Outside Linebackers

The trade of Von Miller really shook up this group. When all are healthy, our coaches like to rotate four players in this group, but we have had a game this year where we only had two OLB’s play defensive snaps (vs WFT - game 9) and many games where we only played three because that is how many who had healthy and active. Without Chubb, who has played 49 snaps this year, this group is the “lowest drafted” edge rusher group in the league. Stephen Weatherly and Jonathon Cooper were 7th round picks and Malik Reed and Andre Mintze were undrafted. As a group those four have accounted for 1005 defensive snaps, 61 total tackles, 37 QB pressures, 8 QBhits, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Inside Linebacker

The ILB group is to 2021 what our CB group was to 2020 - terribly injured and being forced to play guys who have no business starting in the NFL. In the two games where Curtis Robinson played the majority of the defensive snaps, the Bronco defense allowed 400 total rushing yards. Curtis Robinson, who had been demoted to the practice squad, was just released by the team. Justin Strnad was given a chance to be the starter once Josey Jewell went down and he has been found wanting. Baron Browning and Kenny appear to be a good pair of ILB’s. The emergence of Browning and the trade for Young give me hope that the team has some leverage if Alexander Johnson and/or Jewell can’t be signed in the off-season.


While we’ve seen some injuries here, this group has been significantly healthier than 2020. We lost Ronald Darby for four games while Essang Bassey and Michael Ojemudia have been out for the whole season so far (Bassey was active and played ten ST snaps vs LAC). Bryce Callahan was lost for an extended period of time although he is not on the IR so he could return this season. Kyle Fuller was benched for three games. Nate Hairston has been called into duty with the injury to Callahan and he has played much better, in my opinion, than he did in 2020 when he was forced into a much larger role on the defense.


The safeties has been almost as stable this year as in 2020. Justin Simmons has played almost every defensive snap so far this season (missed a few against the Jets). Kareem Jackson had played 91 percent or more of the defensive snaps in every game until missing the game last Sunday with a neck injury. Jackson missed practice on Tuesday. Playing in his place has been Caden Stearns who has gotten a larger role in the defense as the year has worn on.


Which "new for 2021" Bronco defender are you most interested in watching in the final six regular season games?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Caden Sterns
    (18 votes)
  • 12%
    Jonathon Cooper
    (27 votes)
  • 28%
    Patrick Surtain II
    (62 votes)
  • 1%
    Stephen Weatherly
    (4 votes)
  • 7%
    Kenny Young
    (15 votes)
  • 40%
    Baron Browning
    (87 votes)
  • 0%
    someone not mentioned
    (1 vote)
214 votes total Vote Now