Bryce Callahan Reveals his Stance on Playing Both Nickel & Boundary Cornerback
The Denver Broncos' hopes and expectations for CB Bryce Callahan are as high as they are for any other player on the roster heading into 2020. Head Coach Vic Fangio recently gave Callahan the hefty responsibility of playing both outside and inside cornerback in his complex defensive scheme.
Callahan also suffered a recent stomach bug that caused him to lose some weight heading into training camp. Serious physical problems have challenged the 28-year-old’s mental fortitude before and he knows he'll have to dig deep as he looks forward to playing a key role this season.
“It was very challenging – probably more mental than physical,” Callahan recently told the team site. “[It was] just like, ‘Damn I’ve got to do all this again, the same rehab? Is it going to get better this time?’ It took a lot from me mentally to be like, ‘Yeah, I can get better from this. I can progress from this injury and move forward from it.’”
Callahan has been the target of some stinging criticism in some quarters as his three-year, $21 million deal has not translated into his gameday availability as yet. The Broncos did not choose to add another veteran corner in free agency — outside of acquiring A.J. Bouye via trade long before the draft.
So with the departure of long-time starter Chris Harris, Jr., a lot rides on Callahan playing and playing well. Fangio will now use Callahan as his Swiss Army utility corner in his defensive scheme.
Poised to play nickel and boundary corner, Callahan dished on how he is embracing the unique challenge coming his way.
“I feel pretty comfortable in both spots,” Bryce expressed. “I’ll do my best in both spots and let the coaches decide, but it’s not like I’m nervous to play on the outside. I have played a couple of games on the outside, and I felt comfortable in those games. I was able to make a couple of plays. We’ll see whatever’s best for the team.”
Clearly, the Broncos believe in Callahan's ability to fill multiple roles including the slot position that his predecessor (and idol as a former undrafted rookie) Harris, Jr. perfected during his time in Denver. The entire Broncos secondary has undergone a drastic overhaul during the offseason, so the pressure is on the newbies, including Callahan and Bouye, to find some crucial early chemistry. As Callahan sees it, that isn’t going to be an issue Broncos Country needs to worry about.
“I’m excited for the secondary,” Callahan enthused. “We’ve got a lot of smart guys, good teammates. Not a lot of egos. We can all work together and communicate, and that’s what we need with the defense. The better we can communicate and pass things off, the easier it will be to do our jobs.”
To Callahan’s credit, it would have been a whole lot easier to use his injury nightmare as a reason for choosing to opt-out of playing this season. Instead, the veteran corner is hell-bent on returning to full fitness and restoring the faith his head coach has recently shown in him.