Denver Broncos: Key matchups vs the Atlanta Falcons
Matchups: Lloyd Cushenberry III vs. Grady Jarrett
One of the most important matchups for the Broncos offense versus the Falcons defense will be in the middle of the trenches.
Atlanta’s Grady Jarrett is an absolute load in the middle. He has been a phenomenal player for some time that is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
Jarrett earned some All-Pro recognition last year after a phenomenal 2019.
This year, Jarrett has 2.5 sacks, and 12 quarterback hits through eight games. As the Falcons’ primary pash rush presence, Jarrett continues to cause havoc for offenses even when they gear the entire gameplans towards him.
Jarrett brings good size and phenomenal short-area quickness, which he uses to provide linemen with many moves to get to the quarterback.
For the Broncos to win, Jarrett’s impact will need to be minimal.
Jarrett could be the reason quarterback Drew Lock can’t duplicate his second-half performance from week 8.
For the Broncos offense to keep their momentum, Lock will need to be able to have a clean pocket to step into. If that pocket is created, Lock has a variety of favorable matchups all over the field.
Additionally, Jarrett will need to be neutralized for the Broncos to continue to succeed in the run game.
For the pass and run games to be effective, center Lloyd Cushenberry III will need to play his best game. Right guard Graham Glasgow will be out again this week (COVID-19 positive test), so reserve guard Austin Schlottman will need to work well with Cushenberry III to minimize Garrett’s impact.
Cushenberry has had some ups and downs throughout the season, especially when you look at pressures given up. Over the last few weeks, Cushenberry has shown good processing skills and a solid base, allowing his strength to really be on display.
If Cushenberry can get solid movement in the middle against Garrett and neutralize him in the passing game as a primary or secondary blocker, the Broncos offense should have their way Sunday.