Less than a week into his Denver Bronco career, defensive end Jeremy Mincey is being asked to step up and contribute in a big way for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Mincey, who was limited to 28 plays in his debut last week against Houston, will need to team up with pass rushers Shaun Phillips, Robert Ayers and Derek Wolfe to replace the presence of injured outside linebacker Von Miller.
What Miller means to the defense can’t be overstated enough. Although he missed the first six games of the regular season and the team went 6-0 without him, the former Texas A& M standout has an ability to get around offensive tackles and pressure the quarterback that nobody else on the roster can match.
Does the injury mean no Super Bowl for the Broncos though?
Not necessarily if Mincey is able to step up and fill in the void for Miller in pass rushing situations.
However, as important as the personnel is around him, Mincey will have to show a knack for applying pressure all on his own.
Through eight games with the Jaguars, he had 16 tackles and two sacks. Now, the bar is being set much higher at an accelerated rate. Yes, there needs to be a learning curve for Mincey and perhaps the bye week next week will help with his progression. However, Mincey’s development has to be a day-by-day, and not something to be evaluated week to week. The sixth year pro out of Florida will need to contribute even more than he did last week against division-rival Oakland on Sunday.
Will he start? Probably not, but expect for more than 28 plays and, hopefully, a sign that he’s ready now to be a part of Denver’s pass rushing rotation.
It’s still unclear if the Broncos will make another move to counter the loss of Miller, but the signing of Mincey a week prior to his injury seems almost serendipitous as long as the former Jaguar is capable of providing some of the pressure the team usually relies on Miller to bring.
Of course, the personnel decision will be left for John Elway and the rest of management to make, but this roster move could prove to be a game-changer if Mincey steps up immediately.
It’s sink or swim time for everybody in Orange and Blue, even the newest guy on the roster.