The Denver Broncos flipped Baron Browning’s resume and may have unleashed a pass-rushing force – Denver Broncos Blog

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos believed they had a pretty good idea of ​​what kind of player they had in Baron Browning as the 2021 season drew to a close.

They believed they had a rookie who overcame the injuries that kept him out of their offseason program a year ago, someone who played in 15 games, started nine, at inside linebacker and finished fourth on the team in tackles.

Then the new Broncos coaching staff took another look and thought they could see what Browning could become: an impact pass-rusher, the kind who can interrupt, harass and get to the quarterback.

“In this league, the first and foremost thing is getting to the quarterback,” Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “You can never have too many runners.

“We wanted to see what he looked like when he was there.”

There’s a long way to go in the NFL this season, but what the Broncos have seen so far is that Browning can take what he’s learned in the boardroom, from his more experienced teammates, from his coaches and apply it on the field. . What the Broncos have seen is cause for optimism.

Browning consistently showed his progress in a joint practice with the Dallas Cowboys last week. And in the preseason game against the Cowboys, Browning finished with a sack, a pass knockdown, three tackles and consistently forced the issue in pass rush situations while playing 37 snaps.

It was a glimpse of defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s assessment of Browning earlier in training camp: “We really love what he’s doing right now.”

Browning has the potential to thrive in what most of the league’s personnel executives consider a pivotal position on defense.

But, in the short term, Browning has gone from starting one position to learning a new one, with all the intricacies, the tricks of the trade, as well as the moves and counters to make it all work.

The Broncos’ plan is for Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory, who signed a $70 million contract with the team in free agency in March, to be the top options in the quarterback race. The Broncos then selected outside linebacker Nik Bonitto in the second round of April’s draft, their first pick in the draft after the trade for quarterback Russell Wilson, and Bonitto has already shown he’s ready to get some snaps, too.

But Evero has said he wants options in the quarterback race, and plenty of them. And Browning’s teammates see the potential in the 23-year-old to be one of those options.

“It’s kind of crazy when you look at what he’s doing,” Chubb said. “You just talk about the natural things he does, the skills. He just lowers his shoulder, shows a move and it doesn’t seem like a big deal to him, but when we talk about it, watch him in a movie, you look, it’s crazy. He can already do what a lot of people can’t, so now he’s just adding all the stuff to it, like Von. [Miller] showed me.”

Miller always talked about “passing it on” to younger players the way Elvis Dumervil and DeMarcus Ware had passed those things on to Miller, and now Chubb said he’s tried to take a page out of Miller’s manual. He meets with Browning to analyze as much of the gameplay footage as possible.

“I ask [Chubb] Y [Randy Gregory] all the time,” Browning said. “Those little things, setting up a tackle, my approach to the run, the hands, all those things. I feel like I’m moving forward all the time, taking that hesitation out of your game.”

The Broncos’ history includes discovering impact runners with unexpected routes in the lineup. Karl Mecklenberg was selected in the 12th round of the draft, Dumervil in the fourth round and Shaquil Barrett was an undrafted rookie who made his way to a Super Bowl roster.

“Now that we’ve put him in there, it’s really taken over,” Hackett said of Browning. “He had a couple of moves [Saturday against the Cowboys] … seeing him on tape was spectacular, he had some great moves, some great counter moves, he was around the quarterback all day. You can see that he’s really taking ownership of it and he’s getting a lot better.”

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