Denver Broncos: Vic Fangio is confident in Josey Jewell
The Denver Broncos do need to address depth at linebacker either in free agency or the draft but do not forget about Josey Jewell.
Depth is a good thing at any position in football. It is really what separates the good teams from great teams and great teams from Super Bowl winning franchises. Addressing the media at the NFL Combine, Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio focused on a lot of topics.
One, in particular, was second-year linebacker Josey Jewell and his potential leap from year one to year two.
"“I’m confident. He’s a very instinctive player. Going into his second year, I expect him to make even greater strides. You see a lot of improvement from year one to year two with a lot of these guys. Fortunately, he’s had a lot of playing time last year, so I expect him to improve.”Vic Fangio on Josey Jewell (all quotes via Broncos PR)"
We also look at the athleticism of players like Roquan Smith and Devin White who are the perfect fits for a Vic Fangio scheme. However, Fangio also spoke to fundamentals and technique. That should never disconnect a player like Jewell from the equation.
While with the University of Iowa, Jewell became loved by his teammates early on. He became one of the more decorated players to wear a Hawkeyes uniform. That’s not something that happens overnight. In fact, happens gradually from year one to year two and to year three.
We get it. Jewell is not the most athletic and freakish player at linebacker. Yet he is one of the most fundamentally sound linebackers I can remember. He’s exceptionally bright and is capable of becoming a better linebacker simply being two steps ahead mentally.
The best attribute of Jewell is his instincts. Thinking two steps ahead of anyone on the offense is a good recipe for making solid play after solid play. Jewell is more than capable of becoming an elite player at linebacker.
He’s also sneaky with the athleticism. He’s not going to blow anyone’s doors off with speed, but he’s a bonafide stud. If there is one player that will put in the work necessary to take significant leaps in his second year it is Jewell.
We can look at these comments by Fangio and say it means nothing or write it off as “he is just saying that.” However, coaches do not say things with this kind of confidence if they do not mean it. Judging by the Fangio introduction press conference, he’s not one to mince words either. Fangio will not sugarcoat it.
Sure LSU’s Devin White is a tremendous linebacker that would add a tremendous amount of ability the team hasn’t had for a long time. But let us not forget about Jewell who won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in a league dominated by elite athletes. Jewell will make his case in 2019 and you better not doubt him either.