ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There will be pressure from the get-go.
Vic Fangio knows the deal. This is his 35th NFL training camp as a coach. As a longtime assistant, he knew when some of his head coach bosses were under pressure to win, and win right away. Fangio is now a head coach for going on three years. In his first two years, his Broncos started 0-4 in 2019 and 0-3 in 2020.
With the Broncos’ early schedule featuring the opponent likes of the Giants, Jaguars and Jets – who combined for a 9-39 record last season – Fangio was asked in a sit-down interview with 9NEWS if he felt pressure to start well in 2021.
“Yeah. We do,’’ he said. “But no more than we feel any other season other than it’s going to be talked about more here. Yeah, we want to get off to a great start. I hear people say the games in November and December are the meaningful games. But if you don’t do the work in September and October than those games aren’t as meaningful. Yeah, we expect to get off to a better start. We’re hoping to. We want to. That’s the focus.”
One more pass rusher?
It’s a not a do-or-die need, but one position where Paton might address as he gets closer to setting his first season-opening roster is another edge rusher. Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed are three great to good ones, but teams need a fourth. Remember, after taking cornerback Patrick Surtain with the Broncos’ No. 9 overall pick in the first round, Paton tried to trade back into the later part of the first round to get University of Miami edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, who instead went No. 18 overall to the Miami Dolphins.
“On defense we don’t have any glaring holes,’’ Paton told 9NEWS. “We could add some depth. Those guys aren’t falling off trees, a pass rusher. We do like Malik as a third pass rusher. We drafted Jonathon Cooper. So we do feel like we have some depth there.
“Things change as you get through training camp. Guys get injured so that’s when you kind of make your move. We’re always looking for upgrades, obviously. Specifically you make those upgrades with the bottom 10, bottom 20 of your roster this time of year. Because every team has 90 and it’s hard to go get guys. We’re looking, but I don’t feel like we have any glaring holes right now.”
Paton said third-round rookie linebacker Baron Browning was healthy enough from his knee injury to start training camp Wednesday, but the team is holding him back for a few days. Browning will begin on the active/physically unable to perform (PUP) list, along with cornerbacks Essang Bassey and Duke Dawson Jr., who are both coming back from late, last-season ACL injuries. …
Broncos top receiver Courtland Sutton, returning from a season-missing ACL injury, said he is almost 100 percent recovered. The plan is for him to play in one preseason game to help knock off some rust and attain some pass-route timing, but no more as the team wants to be cautious with his health.