Denver Broncos defensive lineman Domata Peko had some nice things to say about rookie linebacker Josey Jewell at his post-practice presser…
Denver Broncos veteran defensive tackle Domata Peko was key in the team’s resurgent run defense in 2017.
One of the team’s key veteran leaders and most positive guys you’ll probably see in the NFL, Peko is also a great influence for the rookies on the roster, but his kindness doesn’t mean his respect is given out freely.
Peko said if he’s going to memorize any rookie’s name, they’re going to have to make the 53-man roster first.
"“Once you make the team, that’s how I feel about it (laughing). Right now, like coaches say, I call them by their number. Like ‘55.’ Until you make the team and make that 53-man roster, than I‘ll learn your first and second name. Until then, I just try and call them by their number. That’s just a rookie thing. You’ve got to earn the respect of the veterans. These rookies, like [DE Derek] Wolfe said, are really hungry to learn and really hungry to win. I’m excited to have them a part of the team.”Domata Peko (quotes via Broncos PR)"
Peko is certainly a player who commands the respect of his teammates.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, Peko is the eldest (33) and most experienced (12 years in the league) player on the entire roster.
When the Broncos signed him in 2017 to a two-year contract, the move was met with some scrutiny. Shouldn’t John Elway and the Broncos focus on getting younger? Did Peko even have anything left in the tank?
It turns out, he not only has a lot left in the tank, but he’s playing at arguably the highest level of his NFL career.
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In 2016, the Broncos allowed the fifth-most rushing yards in the NFL.
Along with the emergence of other players like Adam Gotsis, the arrival of Peko propelled the Broncos back into the top five run defenses in 2017, including the fewest yards per carry allowed in the NFL.
Peko was asked after practice at Broncos OTAs what he thought of Bradley Chubb and the rest of the rookie class. After giving his opinion on Chubb, he also mentioned a couple of other rookies.
Not ‘officially’ by name, of course.
One of the rookies he mentioned was former Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell.
Jewell is generating plenty of hype thanks to a stellar career at Iowa, and he’s proving his game translates to the next level quickly.
"“I really like Chubb. Just seeing him on the first day, he reminds me of Von a lot. He’s quick, he’s strong and he can get to the passer. He’s disruptive and he’s willing to learn. He’s always talking to Von and asking, ‘Hey, what can I do?’ That’s good to see out of a rookie. I also like the linebacker we’ve picked up, that Jowell dude (ILB Josey Jewell), the guy from Iowa. He’s been looking really good also…”"
It won’t be long before Peko is filtering a lot of plays to Jewell at the linebacker position. In fact, those two will likely work very well together.
At Iowa, Jewell was never protected by such a stout nose tackle like Peko. Instead, Jewell relied on instincts and gap discipline to make a lot of his plays behind solid yet unspectacular defensive line play.
Imagining him playing behind this Broncos defensive line in the running game is getting me hyped up for the season.
Soon, Peko will learn Jewell’s name.