In wake of Jewell’s injury, Strnad finds his number called

Sep 20, 2021, 4:51 PM | Updated: 5:04 pm
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Linebacker Justin Strnad #40 of the Denver Broncos tackles Ja...
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

In terms of earning the starting nod due to an injury, Justin Strnad believes it’s “not ideal.”

But in the “next man up” NFL, it doesn’t really matter if the circumstances are ideal. If your number is called, you better be ready.

With Denver Broncos inside linebacker Josey Jewell likely lost for the season with a pectoral injury, Strnad — who called himself “essentially a rookie” — may have just had his number called.

“It’s unfortunate that — I hate using the term ‘next man up,’ but that’s kind of just how it is,” Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris told the media at UCHealth Training Center on Monday. “Those are our brothers; those are our dogs. You hate to see the injuries happen really to anyone, especially your teammates.”

Harris said he enjoys how Strnad “analyzes the game,” saying he believes the second-year inside linebacker is “ready to take the next step.”

“He just needed an opportunity, and this is his opportunity,” Harris said.

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio lauded Strnad for doing a “nice job” in replacing Jewell in the victory Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, suggesting that may be the direction the team goes at the position.

“I was pleased with the way he played,” Fangio said. “He was far from perfect. There’s a lot of things he could do better. But moving forward, now that he knows he may be the guy if Josey is out, he’ll get more practice and be more mentally ready for it. Hopefully he’ll play well.”

Speaking to the media Monday, Strnad lamented losing his teammate to injury, saying Jewell and he had “grown pretty close” in the past few months.

“He’s a great player, great teammate, and really one of the big leaders on our defense, so to lose him is obviously a big loss for this team,” Strnad said.

But Strnad made clear he’s “prepared to help this team in any way possible.”

“We have a good thing rolling right now. We’re 2-0, and I’m just here to do my job,” Strnad said. “Whatever the coaches need me to do, I’m here to do it, and I think I’m capable of doing all those things.”

As for who’ll take over the signal calling on defense, Fangio said he did not know if it will be Strnad or Alexander Johnson, who took the calls on Sunday when Jewell went down.

But if the young linebacker is called upon to give the defense its directions, Fangio said he believes Strnad’s up to the task.

“Yeah. If we need him to, yeah,” Fangio said.


DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 17: Noah Fant (87) of the Denver Broncos sits on the grass after narrowly miss...
James Merilatt

Pick Six: Who is up and who is down after the Broncos loss in Week 6

When a team gets embarrassed on their home field, there are going to be more stocks falling than rising, as is the case with the Broncos
14 hours ago
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 3: Alexander Johnson #45 of the Denver Broncos on the sidelines before a game...
James Merilatt

The Broncos are woefully thin at inside linebacker after latest injury

With both Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson lost for the season, oddly to the same injury, it'll be up to a couple of unfamiliar names to step up
14 hours ago
Baker Mayfield...
Cecil Lammey

Three keys to the Broncos beating the Browns on Thursday night

While things look bleak after an embarrassing loss to the Raiders, the quick turnaround may play into the Broncos hands as they head to Cleveland
14 hours ago
DENVER, COLORADO - OCTOBER 17: Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (81) takes a moment at Empo...
Ben Freid

Broncos players deserve plenty of blame for the team’s three-game slide

While it's easy to point the finger of blame at the coaching staff, the Broncos star players have been no-shows the past three weeks
14 hours ago
Drop the Mike...
Mike Evans

Re-arranging deck chairs and other observations from the Raiders debacle

While demanding change it an understandable point of view, it would be the wise or prudent course of action for George Paton to take
14 hours ago
INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 21:Los Angeles Rams linebacker Micah Kiser (59) during the NFL preseason gam...
Cecil Lammey

60 Seconds: Next man up once again for the Broncos at ILB

Micah Kiser will be a downgrade for the Broncos in the run game compared to Alexander Johnson but perhaps an upgrade in pass defense
2 days ago
In wake of Jewell’s injury, Strnad finds his number called