ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Bradley Chubb likely approaches the 2022 season with goals of recording timely sacks and game-altering forced fumbles.
As he returns for the Broncos’ offseason program, though, his stated focus is more granular.
“There are many things that [would make it a success],” Chubb said Thursday as he looked ahead to the season, “but my main thing is playing all 17 [games] and making sure I can do that. Everybody knows I haven’t been the healthiest player out here. I just want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to stay on the field for my teammates and for myself.”
Since the start of 2019, Chubb has missed a combined 24 games as he’s dealt with ailments including an ACL tear and two ankle injuries.
When Chubb has been on the field, though, he’s been among the league’s best. In 2018, as he played all 16 games, he recorded a franchise rookie record 12 sacks, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2020 as he recorded 7.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss and 19 quarterback hits.
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said at the NFL Annual Meeting that he believes in that potential — and that Chubb just needs to be available to achieve it.
“He could be another dominant guy,” Hackett said in late March. “We all know he was rolling early. I remember when we played in 2019. We were really nervous about him. He was rolling. For him, it’s get out on the field, be available and get after the quarterback as much as you can. It’s that simple.”
As he enters the 2022 offseason, Chubb said he feels healthier than he has been since the end of that 2018 season — and he believes in the impact that a full offseason can have on his play.
“It’s a [real] advantage, for sure,” Chubb said. “Whenever you have the chance to take the offseason for what it is and better yourself — mentally and physically — it takes you leaps and bounds from where you were in the beginning. Just to have that peace of mind and be able to focus on football — it’s been fun. It’s been amazing. I’m glad to be able to continue to work.”
Chubb, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, said he’s focused on turning that work into his best football rather than worry about his contract status.
“I’m not thinking about it at all because at the end of the day, I know I didn’t put my best foot forward last year on the field and that’s what it comes down to — making plays and doing things for this organization to help us win,” Chubb said. “I feel like I wasn’t in that position last year, but that’s my main thing. You asked me what my goals are. It’s to play 17 and win these games — as many as possible. That stuff is going to come. If you stress about it, then you start doing things you don’t need to be doing. My main thing is tunnel vision, looking forward and trying to help this team win.”
Chubb will aim to help the Broncos win in a similar system to the one in which he starred for former head coach Vic Fangio. Chubb said Thursday the system is “a lot of the same things with different verbiage.”
The intriguing aspect — and perhaps one of the defining factors of the Broncos’ season — is that as Chubb aims to stay on the field, he’ll do so alongside free-agent addition Randy Gregory. The former Cowboys rusher posted six sacks and three forced fumbles in 10 games last year — and when out there together, they should form a dominant pair.
“The sky is the limit, man,” Chubb said of pairing with Gregory. “The sky is the limit. We’re watching film now on the things we did good and bad last year. Just to see how explosive he is off the line — he’s hitting tackles and bending them backwards and making guards buckle when they come to pull him. [He’s] disruptive in the run game and all that. I feel like if we play on that same level together, the sky is the limit.
“I’m excited to get on the field with him, get moving, bounce ideas off each other and get rolling.”
Ignoring rumors of a lingering knee injury, the Broncos drafted Randy Gradishar in the first round and found the franchise’s defensive centerpiece for the next decade.
“I promised moms that I was gonna finish when I signed,” Chubb said. “So I’ve got to keep that promise.”
Make their picks? Trade up? Trade down? The options are plentiful for the Broncos.
“[O]verall, on paper, the Broncos appear set to make a legitimate push toward a title,” Shook wrote. “The time is now to shift from talking to doing.”
“McBride had 90 catches for 1,121 yards last season; he could stretch the seams in Denver,” Kiper wrote.
The Denver defense’s standard of top-notch play is not changing just because the team now has a star quarterback under center, Justin Simmons says.
As the Broncos start their voluntary offseason program, it’s clear the energy — and, in turn, the expectations — has returned to old heights.
Before he became a Ring of Famer, Karl Mecklenburg’s NFL career began with a surprising phone call around midnight.
“I envision Wilson having one of the best statistical years of his career while not compromising his skill set or Hackett’s vision for the offense,” David Carr wrote.
There are still areas where Denver will look to add more talent, but George Paton and Co. have filled a majority of the team’s needs.
The Broncos’ two remaining exclusive rights free agents also signed their tenders.
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OLB Bradley Chubb focused on staying available, feels benefits of healthy offseason – DenverBroncos.com