Awful awful awful…
That word constantly repeats in my mind as I watch the 2022 Denver Broncos offense. In the first game of the season for Brett Rypien, he showcased exactly why he is a backup, missing throw after throw and generating a whopping 225 yards and one interception on 46 pass attempts.
You read that right…
FORTY-SIX PASS ATTEMPTS. Simply baffling how in a game that never extended to a multi-score deficit, Nathaniel Hackett continuously had his backup QB throw the ball. Simply baffling how random the coaching staff’s kicking decisions are; as once again, in a known high-wind game, they trusted McManus with another 50+ yard kick. Unsurprisingly it was well off, and combined with a missed extra point, McManus and the kicking operation cost Denver four points in a game they lost by seven.
It was more of the same; the scripted offense of the first few drives showed glimpses of promise, lots of under-center, lots of tight end usage, and high-efficiency simple plays that were moving the offense.
Then at halftime, Hackett threw everything that had been somewhat successful from the first half into a dumpster, lit it on fire, and walked onto the field for the second half.
The second half was a long-drawn, depressing ride to a loss. A classic in Broncos Country for the last seven years, with the defense doing everything humanly possible to will the offense to points.
Sadly, it wasn’t enough and Denver lost 16-9 falling to a disappointing 2-5 record.
This isn’t how it was supposed to go, but as with any week… There were still players who performed at a high level.
So join me as we take a look at the performances of Jerry Jeudy, Bradley Chubb, D.J. Jones, and Andrew Beck.
Jerry Jeudy clips vs. NYJ pic.twitter.com/va4bpBhVhz— Frankie Abbott (@FrankiesFilm) October 27, 2022
Jerry Jeudy flashed in a big way and was one of the few pieces of the offense that didn’t utterly embarrass themselves. Creating massive amounts of separation with his elite route-running, Brett managed to deliver multiple on-target, on-time passes that allowed Jeudy the opportunity to shine. The man eats man coverage, and with Sauce denying opportunities to the outside guys it was a great game for Jerry to prove his value from the slot.
Early we saw him utilized on short routes to help Brett get into a rhythm and even an attempted bubble screen that was sniffed out by DJ Reed.
Jeudy’s longest reception of the day came on a deep crosser from Denver’s 7-yard line where he broke free from the New York Jets’ defender, hauled in an accurate ball from Brett, and took off upfield for a 45-yard gain and the longest play of the afternoon for Denver.
He also saw multiple targets on deep outs, both of which he hauled in after turning around the opposing DB. The second of which was an impressive full-extension grab on the sideline for a first down.
We even saw him lay a very impressive crack block on a linebacker during a toss play, something we haven’t seen out of Jerry throughout his time in Denver.
With the Broncos’ record slipping to 2-5, rumors have started to swirl surrounding many of Denver’s young stars including Jerry Jeudy. While many fans seem to be ready to move on, I hope everyone understands the quality of receiver Denver would be giving away. There are few receivers in the league that create the amount of separation he does, which is the most valuable trait for a wide receiver. At the same time, he is among the bottom of the league in catchable pass rates throughout his career. Once given adequate QB play, Jerry will shine and likely make Denver sorry for being so hasty to move on. He’s a QB, and OC’s best friend with his ability to quickly beat man-coverage and that will not be easily replicated with the day-2 pick Denver would receive.
I am on the ‘keep’ side of the Jerry argument but I understand the frustration fans may feel with the numbers he has produced. We’re seeing many rookie receivers come into the league with poor QB play and offensive coaching, and they manage to produce at a level we haven’t seen consistently out of Jeudy. I just believe there is enough promise from the big games we’ve seen to hold out on giving him up for draft capital.
Bradley Chubb clips vs. the NYJ pic.twitter.com/7RvJJJ0FA3— Frankie Abbott (@FrankiesFilm) October 27, 2022
Bradley Chubb is currently playing like a top-3 edge defender in the entire league.
He’s generating immense pressure, he’s forcing fumbles, and what seems to go unnoticed by most of the fanbase is an ELITE edge setter in the run game. People for years have claimed Bradley Chubb never lived up to the hype of a number five overall draft pick. This year, he is proving all of those people wrong.
Duane Brown could not contain Chubb for most of the afternoon, and Zach Wilson scrambles at even the slightest sign of pressure. This led to a painful day passing the ball for the Jets’ offense and saw Chubb tally up pressures. He won with all types of techniques and set up OTs for counters when they’d try to adjust to what he was doing.
In the run game, running towards Chubbs’ side wasn’t an option as he’s too big and strong for any tight end or pulling blocker, and he’s too quick for offensive tackles, and when he finally gets the opportunity to strike the lays massive shots on ball carriers.
Chubb also managed to draw a hold and came up with a massive 4th and 1 stop to give Denver the ball back and a chance to win the game.
Bradley is another player who has been linked to the trade market, and with the recent moves to bolster edge depth along with this being Chubb’s final year under contract. It seems very likely that Chubb’s time in Denver is nearing an end. In my opinion, this is a massive mistake as I believe Chubb’s value to the team/locker room over the Russ era is immense and something not easily replaced by rookies. But with his expiring contract, there is the chance Bradley would prefer to continue his career elsewhere.
If he’s willing to stay though, I’m very concerned about the impact on the remaining players seeing a team captain like Chubb traded in large part due to the failures of Hackett, Russ, and the offense.
Andrew Beck clips vs. the NYJ pic.twitter.com/DNi7rJf6aC— Frankie Abbott (@FrankiesFilm) October 28, 2022
One of the season’s biggest surprises for me has been the emergence of Andrew Beck as a TE/FB hybrid. Beck isn’t a flashy guy by any means, and it’d be easy to not notice the impact he brought on Sunday. But when Andrew Beck leads blocks, the run plays gain yards. It isn’t a massive improvement, but when comparing the success of Denver’s under-center runs with Beck leading the way, and their shotgun inside-zone runs, it’s still a noticeable one.
Denver had a total of one touchdown against the Jets, and it came on a rushing play right behind Beck. We’ve seen him impress early in the year in the receiving game as well, so while I know the coaches and fanbase are excited about rookie Greg Dulcich (as evidenced by his majority snap share in the TE room) I hope they recognize the impact and value Beck has in the run game, and look to put him on the field more.
D.J. Jones clips vs. the NYJ pic.twitter.com/CPLreU9jo9— Frankie Abbott (@FrankiesFilm) October 27, 2022
D.J. Jones has been the standout signing of George Paton’s second offseason as he continues to be forced week after week to disrupt the interior of opposing offensive lines.
This week was no different as Jones repeatedly got instant penetration multiple times, stymying the Jet rushing attack. He’s absurdly quick for his size, with great power and balance. This allows him to beat opposing linemen to angles off the snap and stand up to down blocks, sometimes from up to 3 players, and still, he manages to not lose ground.
When he isn’t stacking, shedding, and making tackles, he’s occupying multiple blockers allowing Denver’s linebackers to fly through clean and make hits of their own.
He also shows impressive ability as an interior pass-rusher being utilized all over Denver’s defensive front and moving defenders into the face of opposing QBs. When linemen can’t manage DJ, they resort to holding, and this week Laken Tomlinson did the same.
Jones finished the game with 3 total pressures and 3 defensive stops, but his presence was felt on a play-by-play basis.