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Broncos' new captain talks new responsibility, old trade interest

Stukes explains delay penalty. Beck the latest to suffer hamstring injury but Simmons returns to practice.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Captain Kareem, once again.

Kareem Jackson was one of the Broncos’ defensive co-captains last season, a responsibility befitting a 12-year NFL starter. He is a defensive co-captain again this year after head coach Nathaniel Hackett named the safety to replace the now traded Bradley Chubb this week. It just took Jackson a while to become a captain again in his 13th NFL season.

“It did. For me it’s about being the same guy every day,’’ Jackson said Thursday in a sit-down interview with 9NEWS. “Being consistent at what I do and being accountable. It’s being a piece of the puzzle that consistently does what’s necessary to help the team win.”

All that trade talk last week revolved around Chubb, a star outside linebacker who was dealt to Miami in exchange for a first-round draft choice and running back Chase Edmonds. There was also considerable interest teams showed in receiver Jerry Jeudy, but Broncos general manager George Paton declined all offers.

There was one other Broncos player who drew trade interest that few knew about it until now: Jackson. He was aware there was interest, didn’t spend too much time worrying about it, and is fine that Paton again decided there was more value in keeping a good player than trading him.

“It’s one of those things where you talk to your representation and they tell you that you’re drawing some interest,’’ Jackson said. “But other than that I’m not really sure what happened behind the scenes as far as calls George might have got.

“But for me being able to still be here, it’s all about the work I put in. It’s always good to be wanted. It lets you know that you must be doing something right. At the end of the day I’m still with the guys I started with. OTAs, minicamp, training camp -- to be able to build on our resume as a defense and what we’ve done thus far and continue to strive for what we always talked about -- I feel like as a team, we’re close. We’ve lost a bunch of close games and then go to London and finally get one and continue to build on that and good things are trending in the right direction.”

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson (22) celebrates a interception against the Indianapolis Colts of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct 6, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Bart Young)

Some mustard with that penalty explanation

Broncos special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes has a unique way of describing things. The delay of game penalty his kickoff team received against Jacksonville in London, for instance. It happened after the Broncos scored a second-quarter touchdown off a bump transaction from Russell Wilson to Jerry Jeudy.

This occurred one series after the Broncos’ punt team had drawn a delay-of-game penalty.

“The kickoff is easy, we had a guy on the sidelines eating a hot dog, I guess,’’ Stukes said. “He didn’t go out there, so we had 10 guys out there. I obviously had to address him on the sideline and we got that taken care of. … Not saying names but he knows he was supposed to be out there. Going forward we made an emphasis of everybody, 11 guys being out there.’’

The tardy player wasn’t really eating a hot dog – it’s a figure of football speech whenever a player is late getting on the field. The punt delay was due to the Broncos getting a bad spot that led to fourth-and-1 instead of first and 10 and it took a few seconds to figure out whether to go for it or not.

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Another hamstring pops

There has been a hamstring epidemic at Dove Valley this season, with fullback/tight end Andrew Beck the latest to tweak the leg muscle during practice Thursday. Beck followed receiver KJ Hamler who popped his hammy in practice Wednesday and didn’t practice Thursday.

Three starting players – tight end Greg Dulcich, right guard Quinn Meinerz and quarterback Russell Wilson – have missed a combined 10 games because of hamstring issues, while backups Tyrie Cleveland, Jonathon Cooper, Darius Phillips and Essang Bassey have also missed multiple games with hamstrings.

And now Hamler and Beck figure to be questionable for the game Sunday at Tennessee.

Two other starters, safety Justin Simmons and offensive tackle Cam Fleming, missed games with quad strains, inside linebacker Josey Jewell missed two games with a calf strain and center Lloyd Cushenberry III will miss at least the next four games with a groin strain.

Bronco Bits

Simmons returned to practice Thursday after missing the practice Wednesday with a knee sprain. …

Outside linebacker Baron Browning, who will become a full-time starter with Chubb gone, still hasn’t practiced because of a strained hip flexor suffered in the Broncos’ loss Oct. 23 to the New York Jets. …

Fleming returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday. …

Backup cornerback Darius Phillips did not practice Thursday because of illness.

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