Making the Spectacular Look Easy – Greeley Tribune

That spring, after signing with the Broncos as an undrafted rookie and completing a handful of practices with the veterans, cornerback Ja’Quan McMillian was asked if he could have a front-row peek at The Pat Surtain II Experience.

McMillian’s eyes widened.

“Oh man,” he said. “When I look at him, I think ‘technician’. And he’s just a smooth guy.”

Through four exercises, Surtain has a sort of “oh, man” training camp. He mirrored his assignment in man marking. He diagnosed games in zone coverage. And he had several notable broken passes.

Year 2 on PS2 could catapult him into the elite of the NFL.

Thing is, Surtain makes the spectacular look easy.

“It’s crazy,” said defense coordinator Ejero Evero after training on Saturday. “Simply effortless. He’s such a lithe athlete and that’s one of the qualities of really good players – they make it look easy and he’s definitely one of them (category).

Surtain 2022 is no different day or night from Surtain 2021 as he was drafted ninth overall and became a starter in Week 2 after Ronald Darby sustained a hamstring injury.

When asked what stands out about Surtain’s game, coach Nathaniel Hackett said, “All of the above.”

Surtain played 16 games (15 starts) and ranked first in pass breakups (14), second in interceptions (four) and defensive snaps (902), and third in tackles (58). His six missed tackles were the second most with the Broncos, but he only had one in the second half of the year.

Surtain’s highlights included two interceptions (one of which came for a touchdown) in the home win over the Los Angeles Chargers, two pass break-ups in man coverage against Keenan Allen in the Chargers’ second game, and just two touchdowns, which per The Denver Post game charts were allowed.

During the offseason, Surtain became a champion of his own game video.

“I can always improve my technique,” he said. “You’re never perfect. You can always work on the little things. This helps you rise up. Once you focus on these small aspects of the game, you will rise to a much larger level. I’ll take a look.”

Surtain also looked at the Broncos’ September game plan.

Week 1: Seattle’s DK Metcalf (12 touchdowns in 2021).

week 2: Houston’s Brandin Cooks (90 catches last year).

week 3: San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel (1,404 yards last year).

Pad in front of him and clicker in hand, Surtain began to grind.

“You start early, just keep an eye on them, keep an eye on trends, look at track concepts and what they like to do,” he said.

Surtain should be ready to cover their opponent’s top receiver every week. Evero was on the Los Angeles Rams’ coaching staff last year when cornerback Jalen Ramsey was moved across the field.

“You’re trying to find matchups and you want your best players to have the tough task of marking the best players,” Evero said. “Obviously (Surtain) is one of our better players and we will always present him in the best possible way.”

If that means tailing Metcalf in the opener, the Broncos should do it. Ditto for working against Las Vegas slot receiver Hunter Renfrow and, when he’s in a two-point stance, Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce.

“There are some new things he’s doing out there and I think he’s starting to feel good about it,” Hackett said. “And then you add the range, the speed, and the strength.” Making the Spectacular Look Easy – Greeley Tribune

James Brien

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