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Broncos notes: Kareem Jackson opens at safety leaving void at cornerback

The team waived cornerback Craig Mager, signed veterans CB Trey Johnson, OL Jake Brendel from tryout.
Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson talks to reporters at a news conference at the NFL football team's headquarters Friday, March 15, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD – Let’s assume Joe Flacco tore it up in 11-on-11 drills during the Broncos’ voluntary veteran minicamp this week.

This assumption comes from the Broncos’ cornerback situation.

Chris Harris Jr.? A no show as an unofficial contract holdout (it was voluntary, after all). Kareem Jackson? He played safety for three days.

“For the reason that there’s more to learn at safety than there is at corner," said Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. “He’s played much more corner in his career, so I wanted him to get more work in this camp – all of his work – at the safety position, to feel comfortable there."

Bryce Callahan? He was  held out of team drills as he continues to recover from left foot surgery. Isaac Yiadom? He’s recovering from offseason shoulder surgery?

Craig Mager? The veteran and former Charger whom the Broncos signed for the final two weeks of last season was a no-show this offseason because of personal reasons, sources told 9News.

After giving him three weeks to resolve his issues, the Broncos decided it was time to move on and cut Mager on Thursday. 

The Broncos wound up giving ample practice reps to De’Vante Bausby, who was freshly signed out of the failed Alliance of American Football league, and two corners who were brought in for one-week tryouts: Trey Johnson and Quinten Rollins.

“They got great work," said Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. “It’s a little tougher in this setting here. You’re not allowed to press, and we don’t want the corners to bang up the receivers too much, but they all got great work."

Broncos sign two tryout players

Given how thin they are at cornerback, it’s not surprising the Broncos signed Johnson, who was an undrafted rookie out of Villanova last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He suffered a shoulder injury in training camp and spent last season on injured reserve. He was released three months ago.

9News also reports the Broncos signed veteran guard/center Jake Brendel, who got some playing time the previous three seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

Von’s vision 

On Wednesday, Broncos pass rusher Von Miller – who is already the team’s all-time sack leader through eight seasons with 98 ½ – said his goal this year is 20, which would put him on a good pace as he seeks to break Bruce Smith’s NFL career mark of 200 sacks.

The 20 sacks is far more realistic than Miller’s statement last year that he thought 30 sacks in a season was realistic. No one’s come close to 30.

However, a 20-sack season has been done 12 times – twice by J.J. Watt, but never by Miller, whose career-best is 18.5 sacks in his second season of 2012.

“If he does all the little things that are necessary to do that, he’s definitely got a great chance to do that," Fangio said. “But the little things are going to make the difference for him. It’s not just on the field, it’s off the field. Preparation, rest, all those things, being attentive to the details and technique. If he does that, yes, the sky is the limit.”

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