Jared Crick could be one of the Broncos’ most improved players
Looking at the Denver Broncos’ defense in 2016, the burden of responsibility was far too much for Jared Crick. He could be vastly improved in 2017, however…
Just about a year ago at this time, the Denver Broncos were preparing for a defensive end rotation between Derek Wolfe, rookie Adam Gotsis, Vance Walker, and free agent pickup Jared Crick. On paper, it seemed like the team had done enough to replace Malik Jackson by way of a committee approach, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.
The original intent with Crick was to play him similar to the way the Broncos did with Walker and Jackson the year prior. Jackson was obviously playing at an incredibly high level, so that was never the expectation for Crick, but as a tandem player with Vance Walker, the Broncos had hoped it would work out for them just fine.
After Walker was injured in camp and Adam Gotsis struggled through his rookie season, it became abundantly clear that the Broncos weren’t as deep as they thought they were up front.
Crick ended up playing 942 defensive snaps this past season, and 134 special teams snaps. His 942 snaps defensively were the fourth most on the team, ahead of even Von Miller’s 932. He said at OTAs that even he didn’t expect to play that much…
"“No, not at all really. When I came in last year, I just told myself that I was going to do whatever the team needed, whatever that was going to be. It didn’t bother me to play that many snaps. That’s what the team asked me to do. Obviously, this year, we want to stay a lot healthier. I think that was one of the bigger reasons I played so many snaps. [DE] Derek [Wolfe] was hurt every now and then. We just had injuries across the board. It doesn’t bother me any. I try to stay in the best shape I can. Hopefully, we won’t have to do it again this year.”Jared Crick, Broncos DE (quotes obtained via Broncos PR)"
Crick has added some weight this offseason to prepare for that heavier workload, even if it doesn’t end up happening. He added 15 pounds to his frame and said at times last season, he was playing under 275 pounds.
That simply won’t do when playing against some of the biggest, strongest offensive linemen in the NFL.
"“I feel a lot stronger going into this summer than any of the summers I’ve been in the NFL.”Jared Crick"
With the depth the Broncos have added this offseason on the defensive line, Crick should be much more efficient with the snaps he’s given, and thus, I think he could be one of the most improved players on the team.
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He’s always been really solid at getting pressure on the quarterback as a traditional 3-4 defensive end, but where he has struggled is against the run. The Broncos brought in players like Zach Kerr to help alleviate some of that and absorb some of those run-down snaps.
Hopefully in year two with the Broncos, Crick can do more by actually doing a little bit less.