ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Bradley Chubb is having a tough week and keeping his court calendar straight is only the half of it.
An outside linebacker and one of the Broncos’ better players, Chubb’s right ankle injury is not coming along as hoped. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio had previously said he thought Chubb would be able to play in the regular-season opener Sunday against the New York Giants. But on Wednesday, the coach sounded as if Chubb would have to start healing quicker than he has been if he’s going to make it.
Fangio was asked if Chubb’s ankle was a little worse than he thought it was last week.
“A little bit,’’ Fangio said. “It’s just been slow to come around.”
Chubb has participated in the team stretch the past two days but then worked on the side without practicing during media-viewing period each day. He was officially listed as Did Not Participate on the Broncos' first injury report of the season.
“Bradley’s ankle is still troubling him some,’’ Fangio said. “He’ll get some work on the side and then we’ll see where he’s at (Thursday).’’
Chubb was arrested by Douglas County police Tuesday when a minor traffic infraction stop led to the discovery the Arapahoe County Court had placed a warrant on him for failing to appear in court Aug. 6 on another traffic violation.
"Regarding yesterday,'' Chubb began in a statement he released Wednesday evening on Twitter, "It was an outstanding traffic issue I thought was already resolved after paying the ticket several months ago.
"Regardless of the circumstances, I take responsibility and it won't happen again. I've learned from this and am fully focused on helping us get a win in New York!"
Fangio supported Chubb by saying it can happen to anybody, including one of the coach’s pals from his upscale neighborhood.
“I have a good friend in Greenwood Village who’s a high-standing citizen here in the Denver area and he had the same thing happen to him,’’ Fangio said. “He got lax on paying a traffic citation and the next thing you know he went through the same thing that Bradley went through. Bradley’s a high-standing individual just like that guy is and it’s over and done with.”
Kareem recalls 9-11
At 33, strong safety Kareem Jackson is the oldest player on the Broncos’ roster which means he’s one of the few players who remembers the moment of the terrorist attacks on our country. He was 13 years old on September 11, 2001, which would have made him a 7th grader in Macon. Ga.
“Just remember being in school,’’ Jackson said Wednesday. “I think I was actually out at P.E. or something like that, if I can remember. Kind of going back for the rest of that day, watching how things progressed throughout the day on the TV. Devastated for everything people went through in New York at that time and the amount people that we lost, it was a sad time. For everybody.”
Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks. The Broncos played the Giants in Denver on the night before 9-11. Twenty years later, the Broncos will play the Giants in New Jersey on Sunday.
“I know us going to New York is a big deal being there on the 20th anniversary,’’ Jackson said. “So to be there and put some smiles on people’s faces with football being back and give them reason to cheer. Obviously, they’ll be cheering for the Giants but I’m sure we’ll have our fair share of fans in the stands. But football is a sport that brings everybody together so I’ll be looking forward to that.”
New guys rarely are elected team captains. Quarterbacks usually are. In the case of Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback status overruled his new-guy status.
Was he surprised to be named one of the Broncos’ six team captains, along with Jackson, Justin Simmons, Von Miller, Courtland Sutton and Brandon McManus?
“I’m glad that I was,’’ Bridgewater said, smiling. “This team has a great group of leaders. Honored to be named a captain along with all the other guys who were named. It’s something you take pride in. I just look forward to being the best football player I can be and best leader I can be.”
Bridgewater sounded captain-like when asked how his emotions would stir entering the season-opener Sunday against the Giants.
“Sunday I’ll be calm, cool,’’ he said. “Very chilled. I’ll be excited – I’ll be more excited for the guys. So many guys here are overcoming adversity, returning back to play for the first time. So many guys are going out to live out their dreams. So many guys get to go out and compete for their families.”
Here comes the Judge
During his press conference with New York reporters Wednesday, Giants head coach Joe Judge heaped one compliment after another upon the Broncos’ coaches and players.
“(Denver) starts with the head coach, Vic Fangio, and he's obviously been one of the top defensive minds for decades in this league, he’s had a lot of success,’’ Judge said in his opening remarks. “I think his team plays with his identity, that's an aggressive downhill mindset. They play very tough, they play very disciplined, they take opportunities to make plays, they're not looking to get through any situation, they’re looking to make home run type plays.’’
On Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who was the Giants’ head coach in 2018-19: “Pat Shurmur is an outstanding coach. He's done a fantastic job. I have a ton of respect for him as a man, a ton of respect for him as a coach, I've have a lot of respect for what he did for this organization as well, as well as some of the other places I have competed against him.
“The one thing Pat's going to do is Pat's going to look at your history and he's going to expose some things you've put on tape, so we'll be very mindful about not only our own past experience against Pat, but also different times that he’s seen this scheme or schemes that are similar to this and things that could be exposed. He does a great job at getting players in matchups, he does a great job of creating explosive plays for players. It starts with the run game with Pat, does a great job of getting this thing downhill, setting up the play action pass game.’’
On Broncos’ special teams coordinator Tom McMahon: “One thing I know about Tom is he is very, very aggressive. I have history personally going against him … I think when you know you play against Tom, you got to play against some smoke and mirrors. You’ve got to be very sound in your assignments, you have to communicate across the board, and there’s movement to confuse your blockers on your punt team and your kickoff return. It's about formations to see if they can get you out of whack and make you adjust. He's always setting up the next play, so he'll show you something on one play and he's looking for the fake coming the next time if you don't adjust accordingly.’’
Wait a minute. Did the Broncos play in the Super Bowl the past two years? Or where they 7-9 and 5-11?
Judge gushed the most, though, about Broncos’ pass rusher Von Miller.
“To miss a guy like Von Miller for the season last year, that's a shame to everyone who’s involved in football,’’ Judge said. “You want the best players to be out there playing. You want every player to be out there healthy and playing. As a competitor, you don't want to go out there with anybody not being healthy, not being able to play. You want to put your best out there on the field against someone else's best and see how you stack up. That's really what competition is about.
“Seeing this guy back in the game, that's good for football. Now, he's a tough competitor and it's a great challenge, but to see him come off the edge, whether he's trying to dip and get the edge on you with that great get-off speed or it’s that spin-move coming back inside because you overplay the outside because you're worried about him beating you outside and you give up the inside. This guy is a different level of player.
“I said this earlier a few minutes ago, but when we talk to our scouts going into the draft and they ask, ‘what are you guys looking for in certain roles?’ You almost want to say like, ‘you know the Von Millers of the world? Don't bother looking for that guy because that guy doesn't exist many places. Like if he shows up, we'll find him, don't worry about it.’
“So, this guy is just a rare player. He's kind of a unicorn of an edge rusher to be as just explosive and athletic and strong for his size, and instinctive and productive. Look, I've been on the other side from this guy several times and I'm telling you, he can ruin your day in a heartbeat if you try and do something other than your job.’’