The pressure will be on quarterback Russell Wilson when the Broncos hold their first practice at training camp Wednesday morning, a result of acquiring a Super Bowl winner as a passer for a closet full of draft picks and players in early March.
But Wilson won’t be the only player in the spotlight. This is a franchise in the midst of a six-year playoff drought, and the Broncos will not compete in the AFC West without quality improvement and steady play from countless other starters.
As players report to camp on Tuesday, here are five who will be under pressure:
The pressure is on him because: He is in his final year of contract and has missed 26 games in the last three seasons.
Chubbs 2021 never came off the blocks due to multiple ankle surgeries; He played seven games and had no sacks.
Chubb knows what’s at stake. A big year and he’ll be paid by the Broncos. A bad year and general manager George Paton might just go ahead and give second-round pick Nik Bonitto a shot.
Chubb made his 12-sack debut alongside Von Miller in 2019. This year, Chubb will play alongside newly signed Randy Gregory. With the Broncos playing more with the lead, there’s no excuse for Chubb not hitting double-digit sacks.
The pressure is on him because: He hasn’t intercepted a pass in two years and his salary cap of $12,823,529 is the fifth-highest on the team.
The Broncos signed Darby to a three-year, $30 million contract in March 2020 and drafted Pat Surtain II ninth overall to become the team’s new starting cornerback duo.
Surtain was as advertised last year and opponents might be wary of challenging him too often. That puts the focus on Darby.
Darby was limited to 11 games last year due to multiple injuries and only had six pass breakups. A good year and chances are he’ll be back in 2023 ($13M cap reached). If he’s not a factor, Darby could be cut, making room for a $10 million salary cap to find his replacement.
The pressure is on him because: Two years after his ACL surgery, Sutton is expected to return to the 1,000-yard form he showed in 2019.
Sutton played all 17 games last year and caught 58 passes for 776 yards but only two touchdowns. Notably, according to the Pro Football Reference, he averaged 7.9 yards on his 98 goals; In his first two years he averaged 8.4 and 9.0.
Sutton is in the first season of a four-year, $60 million deal that includes “dead” money in all three years, so it’s not like this is a make-or-break deal. But with a normal off-season training hiatus, it’s time for Sutton to make a big leap in his production in general, and big-play production in particular.
The pressure is on him because: The Broncos traded tight end Noah Fant, their leading pass catcher last year, to Seattle in the Wilson trade.
What a chance for Albert O., who is entering his third season but has only played 18 games. He was limited to four games (knee) in 2020 and played 14 games (33 catches – 330 yards – two touchdowns) last year.
The Broncos re-signed Eric Saubert and signed Eric Tomlinson as the big blockers at the tight end, which should free Okwuegbunam to be moved across the entire formation in a mismatch probe. The expectation for Okwuegbunam should be 50 catches and six touchdowns.
The pressure is on him because: The Broncos have a franchise-caliber quarterback for the first time in Bolles’ career, and he’s Wilson’s blind-side protector in left tackle.
Bolle’s $21 million salary cap is the second-highest on the team, only behind Wilson’s $24 million. The fact that the Broncos don’t have any first- or second-round picks next year makes it likely that Bolles’ status is not in doubt as he would be difficult to replace.
However, Bolles needs to improve. In 2020, he was booked for just 9 1/2 stoppages (including 0.5 sacks) according to The Post game charts, but that total rose to 25 (including 5 1/2 sacks) over the past year.
https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/07/26/broncos-training-camp-players-not-russell-wilson-face-pressure/ 5 players not named Russell Wilson who are under the most pressure – Greeley Tribune