Denver Broncos: How Courtland Sutton will reemerge in 2021 season
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton is a man determined.
Following the 2019 season that led to his first career Pro Bowl nod, expectations were high for Sutton as he was continuing to build chemistry with quarterback Drew Lock and was on pace to become the next star wideout for the orange and blue.
Then came Sunday, September 20th, not one week into the new season, when the Denver Broncos’ top target suffered a torn ACL against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sutton had already missed Denver’s week one matchup against the Tennessee Titans with a sprained AC joint.
Knowing that Lock had to grow through the rest of the season without his Pro Bowl receiver certainly showed, as none of the other receivers topped 900 yards. The Denver Broncos and head coach Vic Fangio certainly look to get Sutton back to his 2019 form, when he racked in 72 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns.
The bigger question that most should wonder is not whether Sutton will rebound to his old self, but whether or not he can build off his lost season and come back even stronger to emerge as the leader of a very young wide receiving core.
At just 25 years old, Sutton is the second oldest receiver on the roster, only behind Tim Patrick (27 years old). Second-year receivers Jerry Jeudy (22 years old), KJ Hamler (21 years old), and Tyrie Cleveland (23 years old) will no doubt look to Sutton as the leader in the locker room and on the field, not to mention rookie Seth Williams (21 years) who should see some action at some point during the year.
Being able to lead a team in receiving yards is one thing, it’s a whole other level to be able to lead a group through an entire season. Sutton is up to the challenge, however, as he knows that he doesn’t just want to return to his old form, but even better.
Whether Denver chooses to roll the dice with Lock or newcomer Teddy “Two Gloves” Bridgewater, Sutton will continue with his rehab and look to build a strong connection with both. His progress since hurting his knee has been optimistic and Fangio hopes to have him at full strength sooner rather than later.
Fangio said following an OTA practice in May:
"His rehab has been fantastic thus far. He’s had a great attitude. I’ll be surprised if he’s not ready to go sooner than what the timetable might be. He’s had a great offseason and he’s had a great effect in the training room with the other guys that are rehabbing. He’s been infectious in that way.Vic Fangio (quotes via Broncos PR)"
That’s exactly what his Denver Broncos teammates want to hear. Leading by example and putting in the time and effort to be back on the field is the key for the development of not only Sutton but the other wideouts as well.
Having the determination to overcome such a heartbreaking injury early in your career can prove detrimental for most players, Sutton doesn’t see it that way. Broncos Country should be very excited to see what the fourth-year Pro Bowler will accomplish in his return to the gridiron.
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Only time will tell and lucky for Sutton, it’s on his side.