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Bronco notes: Josey is a tackling Jewell

The inside linebacker is stronger and possibly faster this year. RIP Jim Fassel.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It’s probably good that Josey Jewell has packed on 3 or 4 more pounds of muscle.

It also might be good that his body, mind and soul is 26 years old and not 36.

Playing football is safer than it's ever been, but tackling is still part of the game. Before he even got to the NFL, Jewell made 443 tackles in his four years at Iowa, including an average of 127 in his final three seasons. He made 113 tackles for the Broncos as a starting inside linebacker last year.

Go back to his Iowa high school days, and Jewell was not only an all-state linebacker with 310 career tackles but a running back who rushed for nearly 2,800 yards in his junior and senior years combined.

That’s a lot of pounding to a guy’s shoulders, neck, chest and arms. Yet, because Jewell is still young and because he keeps himself in optimal physical condition, he’s ready for more.

“I wouldn't say I feel it any differently,’’ Jewell said in a Zoom news conference Tuesday with the Denver media. “I feel pretty dang good actually for being 26, which in the NFL seems to be somewhat, kind of old.

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“But yeah, definitely a little more precautions – maybe in the offseason getting a little more stretching in, getting more soft tissue work, going to the chiropractor, and just making sure you're doing your best work and your best job at staying healthy during the offseason, and then giving yourself a good head start on the season. I think you just have to keep taking care of your body, and I think as you get older, you have to put a little bit more money into it.”

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Jewell dedicated himself to his craft this offseason in a few ways. One, he worked on his speed, both in short area quickness for covering backs and tight ends, and in his straightaway long speed. And two he bulked up slightly from 233 pounds to 236, 237.

“We'll just see how I feel during the rest of these OTAs and mandatory minicamp, and then see how I feel during camp just to see if I need to shed a few pounds or stay up there, just depending on what my job's going to be this year,” he said.

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Denver Broncos linebackers Josey Jewell, right, and Joe Jones (43) take part in drills during an NFL football practice in empty Empower Field at Mile High, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Denver.

Remembering Fassel

Former Broncos’ offensive coordinator Jim Fassel passed away Monday at 71 years old.

Fassel was John Elway’s offensive coordinator at Stanford during Elway’s junior and senior seasons in 1981-82, and then his OC again for the Broncos in 1993-94. The 1993 season was arguably Elway’s best statistically, as he had his only 4,000-yard passing season (4,030) and completed a career-best 63.2 percent.

Elway suffered a knee injury the next season that forced him to miss two games and was rendered gimpy for several others. Wade Phillips and his staff were fired after the 1994 season, but Fassel eventually wound up as head coach of the New York Giants, leading them to the Super Bowl in 2000.

“I wouldn’t have got where I got without Jim Fassel,’’ Elway told the Broncos’ website.

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