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Broncos defense provides hope, reason to watch

Denver ranks in top three in points allowed, passing yards and sacks
Jets Broncos Football
Posted at 3:50 AM, Oct 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-27 20:33:27-04

LONDON — The bass thumped. The lyrics blared. And they couldn't help themselves. Bradley Chubb, D.J. Jones and DeShawn Williams danced through their dynamic warmup at Harrow School on a windy Wednesday afternoon.

Even with all the losses, the speculation about coach Nathaniel Hackett's future and Tuesday's 2 p.m. trade deadline, there remains a reason to smile.

If you play defense.

Broncos defense provides hope, reason to watch

For everything that has gone wrong this season — no team has been more disappointing given expectations — the Broncos' defense has shown up and shown out.

Denver ranks third in points allowed (16.4), second in net passing yards per game (173.1) — Pat Surtain II covers receivers tighter than Saran Wrap — and third in sacks (22). They have caused nine fumbles, second best in the league. The takeaways remain underwater at seven, but that is also a reflection of a team with fewer opportunities because it is often trailing in games.

"From the outside looking in, this defense was always among the best no matter who the quarterback was," linebacker Alex Singleton said. "From OTAs to training camp, you could feel the confidence in this group and it continues to grow every day."

New defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero arrived in Denver with a promise to affect the quarterback. He has delivered. Despite missing elite rusher Randy Gregory for the past three games with a knee injury, the Broncos' sack total matches their most through seven games since 2018. They are on pace for 53 after finishing with 36 last season.

"We want to be the best defense on the field every time we go out there," said Chubb, who is projected to finish with a career-high 13.5 sacks. "That's our goal."

That's what makes the trade speculation unsettling. There is a growing likelihood the Broncos deal Chubb if they receive the right offer. Industry sources believe Denver will trade the standout for a second and third-round pick. The Eagles acquired edge rusher Robert Quinn from the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round pick on Wednesday. Quinn is more accomplished than Chubb, but also six years older (32 compared to 26). Also, any team acquiring Chubb would likely want assurances that he would sign a longterm extension.

Star safety Justin Simmons made it clear he would miss him. And frankly, he doesn't want Chubb traded.

"Chubb has been an outstanding player here. He's having his best season. I honestly don't pay attention to any of that type of stuff. Obviously, I've heard. You hear those types of things, but I love playing with Chubb. He has been an amazing player. I think he's a great player for us. He's, in my opinion, having his best year with us," Simmons said. "I'd love for him to be my teammate for forever. It makes my job so much easier on the back end. The way he's disruptive, not only in the passing game, but the run game too."

The Broncos' defense has given Denver a chance to win every game, allowing only eight touchdowns. Other than the first half against Seattle and the second half vs. Las Vegas, they present a glittery resume. The Broncos have stiffened when it matters most — yielding a touchdown on only four of opponent's 16 trips into the red zone.

"The defense has played great," Hackett said. "No matter where you are in this league during the season, you have to get on a run, and we need to get on that run. We need to start winning some football games.”