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Three observations from the Broncos victory in Jacksonville

Sep 20, 2021, 7:02 AM
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Wide receiver Courtland Sutton #14 of the Denver Broncos runs...
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos have started the 2021 season with a 2-0 record. On Sunday, Denver beat the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 23-13. For the first time in a long time, it feels like there’s hope – and momentum – for this team early in the season.

After the game, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was elated with the start and excited to get back to Denver for the first home game of the year.

“I expect an electric stadium, so buckle yourself down. That stadium is going to be alive and well. I mean I think Denver sports fans, particularly the Broncos because they’re the No. 1 passionate team in the city, but even the sports fans of Denver are fantastic. That the Rockies are fifth or sixth in attendance with (the fact that) they haven’t had a chance this season, speaks volumes about the sports fans in Denver. I can’t wait to get there, but I’m going to try to calm myself down and put in a good solid week of work,” Fangio said.

Here are the top 3 observations from Broncos vs. Jaguars:

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Sutton is Back!

Earlier in the week, practice footage emerged of Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton doing a simple drill and looking pained in the process. Social media was full of “Sutton is still hurt” tweets and proclamations about his availability for the rest of the season. Even I was concerned and urged fantasy GMs to consider Sutton more of a WR3/flex play in this matchup against Jacksonville.

Those fears were put to rest early on Sunday. Sutton had career-best numbers in Week 2 with nine catches for 159 yards, including a long reception of 55 yards. We lost out on Sutton’s breakout season in 2020 due to a knee injury he suffered about a year ago. He started off 2021 cold, with only one reception against the New York Giants, but Sutton exploded onto stat sheet against the Jaguars.

Fangio was thrilled with how Sutton performed in Week 2.

“It was great. There’s a lot of big plays in every game, the catch he made in the first drive of the second half there for the big one was critical. I felt they were outplaying us at the ball, both sides of the ball, their DBs against our wideouts and our DBs against their wideouts. We needed to flip that and that was an exclamation point, flipping it,” Fangio said.

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Special Teams Not So Special

The Broncos special teams unit has been a problem for years. After a poor season in 2020, I was surprised that special teams coordinator Tom McMahon kept his job with the Broncos, but he’s back this season for another go – and the problems continue.

Against the Jaguars late in the game, the Broncos special teams allowed a touchdown return as Jamal Agnew went 102 yards to make the score 23-13. You’re either being taught this or it’s being allowed to happen. Either way, the Broncos can’t have this happen and expect to win close games against good teams coming up on the schedule.

After the game, Fangio did not sugar coat his comments about the problems on special teams.

“The kickoff return was disappointing, obviously. From my vantage point, which wasn’t a great one, (it) looked like we had a chance to tackle them real early and everybody went by right by him. That guy’s a hell of a returner. He’s one of the top five returners in the league, but obviously it’s a problem. (It’s) not one that we haven’t addressed. We went out and got some guys, claimed at the final cut down to help us with special teams. We played Josey Jewell on special teams, and he got hurt on a special teams play. So, it’s been addressed. We just need to keep sawing wood at it,” Fangio said.

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Chubb Banged Up … Again

Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb missed Week 1 due to an ankle injury, but he was able to get on the field against the Jaguars in Week 2. He was pushing to get back in action from the ankle problem that required offseason surgery to fix when he hurt his non-injured ankle. It was that ankle which caused him to miss the opening week.

As he was chasing down Trevor Lawrence on Sunday, Chubb must’ve turned the wrong way because his ankle knocked him out of the game. You could see the emotion from Chubb on the sidelines as he threw his helmet in frustration. He clearly didn’t look like himself against the Jaguars, and now there’s no telling how much more time (if any) he’ll have to miss.

Good thing the Broncos have Von Miller. With Chubb out again, Miller can move freely across the line of scrimmage. He recorded sack No. 3 of the 2021 season by snaring Lawrence and is on pace for career-best numbers if he keeps it up.

After the game, Miller commented on moving around after Chubb’s injury.

“I’m comfortable on both sides. It’s just me; I’ve played both sides throughout my career. I had sacks on both sides. I’ve had success on both sides. I like to give them a different look. I don’t like for them to always say he’s going to be on the left side or he’s going to be on the right side. Even if it’s just a couple of plays over there, or it’s a couple plays on the left, I just try to mix it up. I can play both sides. I just want to give them a different look. It felt to me that they were running the ball more to the right side. I wanted to get over there and kind of throw a wrench in there. It probably didn’t do much from their point of view. But I just still wanted to get a look. I can play both sides and whatever I’m called to do,” Miller said.

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