Good Morning Broncos Country!
It’s difficult to lose arguably the best defensive player in franchise history and a future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer and not miss much of a beat at his position, but the 2022 Denver Broncos have started the season doing just that.
Fifth-year outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, in the final year of his contract, along with offseason acquisition Randy Gregory, have helped charge the defense under first-year defensive coordinator Ejiro Every, mainly for what they have been able to do behind the line of scrimmage.
The Broncos’ currently sit 8th in the NFL in sacks with 9, and Chubb (3) and Gregory (2) have been leading the way. The duo has also combined for 3 forced fumbles.
“Those guys have been pretty dominant,” head coach Nathaniel Hackett told the media Thursday. “It’s not just in the pass game, in the running game, also. They’ve been doing a great job setting the edge, and they’ve been patient but understanding about their responsibility. At the same time, when it’s a passing situation, they’re both—I mean, they’re full bore, both rushing inside and outside.”
Chubb entered the season with a cloudy outlook regarding his future in Denver.
He oozed talent and showed flashes of greatness in his first four seasons, but his struggles with consistency and staying healthy have held the front office back from extending him. His play thus far will give them plenty to think about.
He recently claimed that he believed his unit was the best in the NFL and that the offensive floodgates, which the defense has been making up for, will soon open up. He also seems to have fully embraced the culture in Denver, most notably the division rivalry with the Raiders.
“I hate ‘em,” Chubb said Wednesday. “There’s only a few teams in the league I hate and they’re one of them. Every time we go there it seems like it hasn’t (gone) in our favor. It’s always a tough game, I always know it’s going to be — I’m not going to say dirty but they talk and stuff, we talk and stuff and it’s going back and forth. We know they’re looking at it the same way we are.”
Gregory was a big offseason signing who was going to be counted on to help Chubb replace the irreplaceable in Von Miller, who is now helping guide the Buffalo Bills to one of the league’s most dominant defenses.
He was viewed as a bit of a wild card signing given his past off-the-field substance abuse issues, but he has thus far proven himself every bit worthy of his 5-year, $70 million contract.
Gregory is one behind his counterpart Chubb with 2 sacks on the season and has been a consistent feature in the opponents’ backfield in all 3 games this season. His contributions may not always show up on the stat sheet, but don’t fret, they are indeed present.
Randy Gregory is now fifth in the NFL in pressure rate (24.1 percent, per TruMedia) among players with at least 15 pass-rush snaps. And his 58 pass-rush snaps are by far the most among that group. Has been a home run addition to this point.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) September 26, 2022
The Broncos contemplated signing a number of pass rushers, including one they will see this Sunday, but recent evidence suggests George Paton knocked it out of the park by taking a chance on Gregory.
In free agency, the Broncos went with Randy Gregory while the Raiders went with Chandler Jones, who is three years older, at a higher price tag.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) September 26, 2022
Through three weeks:
Gregory: 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 FF, 5 QB hits.
Jones: 0 sacks, 1 TFL, 0 FF, 4 QB hits.
Gregory: 15 pressures.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) September 26, 2022
Jones: 7 pressures.
Von Miller will always hold a place in the hearts of Broncos Country, but Chubb and Gregory, with their play so far into the 2022 season, are earning themselves a little real estate as well.
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