Denver Broncos: Vic Fangio heaps praise on Josey Jewell

Denver Broncos HC Vic Fangio heaped some praise on linebacker Josey Jewell.

The decision by the Denver Broncos to release veteran linebacker Todd Davis and insert Josey Jewell into the starting lineup on a permanent basis was understandably met with skepticism by the fan base.

After playing mainly as a backup in his rookie season, Jewell came into the 2019 season as the starter alongside Davis for the Broncos but when he was injured early in the year, he was replaced permanently by Alexander Johnson.

When Davis went down with a training camp injury for the second year in a row in 2020, it was Jewell this time who seized the day — and the starting inside linebacker job next to Johnson.

The Broncos had hoped rookie Justin Strnad could play a role on passing downs for the Broncos in 2020, but he suffered a wrist injury in training camp as well. The team then signed Mark Barron in he could play a role, but that also didn’t happen. Barron suffered a hamstring injury and has been dealing with it since camp.

Instead of having Jewell split time with someone else, he’s pretty much been playing full time all of 2020.

Jewell has played 93 percent of the Broncos’ defensive snaps this season, and is on pace to shatter his career-high of 58 tackles (48 already in seven games) and has already set career marks with two sacks and three quarterback hits.

Jewell’s strong play against the run for the majority of this year has also been notable, and he had one of the best hits of the NFL season on the King, Derrick Henry.

Head coach Vic Fangio was asked recently about Jewell’s strong play this season and took the opportunity to heap praise on a player who, frankly, is one of the most improved players on the entire roster.

“Josey has been playing very well all season. I’ve been very, very pleased by his play. He really quarterbacks the defense out there for us when he’s out there. He’s got the coach to player communication and he’s the guy who leads it for us. He’s playing his position for us very well. I think he’s gotten comfortable in the system—and he’s an instinctive player anyway—but it’s gotten to the point now because he’s gotten a lot of playing time that it’s really showing. I’ve been very, very pleased with his play.”

Head coach Vic Fangio (via Broncos PR)

For Broncos fans, there could not be a more exciting review of Jewell’s play through nearly half a season. Fangio is not afraid to call things the way they are if they aren’t good, and he’s not afraid to call out players if they need to play better.

Very rarely does he take the time to put this much praise on a player, which speaks volumes to how well the former fourth-round pick out of Iowa has taken to the Fangio defense.

Has Jewell been flawless? No, but no one really has on Denver’s roster. He has certainly exceeded the expectations of most of the Broncos’ fan base, and has played his way perhaps keeping inside linebacker off the Broncos’ top three agenda items in the 2021 offseason.