Early Returns on Jurrell Casey from Broncos Camp are Exciting
It's not easy finding a defensive lineman with five Pro Bowl selections on his resume. It's even harder to find one who's been to five consecutive Pro Bowls.
And when one is found, it's many orders of magnitude more difficult to find a team willing to trade that player, let alone for a pittance. Despite all of those unlikelihoods, Jurrell Casey is now a Denver Bronco.
The Tennessee Titans took a seventh-round pick from the Broncos in exchange for the perennial Pro-Bowler. Not one to look a gift-horse in the mouth, Head Coach Vic Fangio is just glad that Casey is in Denver, regardless of the long odds and perfect alignment of stars that it took to get him here.
With the Broncos now a week into training camp, buzz is starting to emanate from UC Health Training Center on Casey. Entering the NFL as a third-round pick out of USC back in 2011, the ex-Titan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Broncos, which Coach Fangio can already see wearing off on other players.
“What I’ve been able to sense so far is, obviously, he’s got experience. Some guys have a lot of experience, and they have a hard time using it and conveying it to others," Fangio said on Tuesday via virtual presser. "I don’t think that will be the case with him, and I think part of it is that he really likes football. He really likes helping people. Those are two qualities you have to have to lend your experience to others, and I think he has those. He’s excited to be here. From my conversations with him, we’re excited to see how good he is for the Broncos moving forward, but we’re optimistic.”
Although Von Miller had a productive, symbiotic pass-rushing relationship with Derek Wolfe, the 10th-year edge rusher is relishing the opportunity to cross swords alongside Casey. Casey has been in the league one year longer than Wolfe but has 18 more career sacks (51-to-33). Miller sees the potential in what he and Casey can do as an inside/outside pass-rushing partnership.
“Wolfe was great. We had eight strong years together and I wouldn’t be the type of pass rusher that I am today without Derek Wolfe," Miller said on Tuesday via virtual presser. "I have Jurrell Casey here with me now and I have to take advantage of that. I have to take advantage of his knowledge. I have to take advantage of his energy, his pass-rushing energy. He’s great to have out there. Today we were just walking through some stuff and I can already feel it. I could already feel how effective we’ll be together. I’m excited to go out there and practice. I’m excited to get in pads. I’m excited to play and I’m excited to lead with Jurrell Casey. He’s a great guy.”
One thing Miller and Casey have in common is that each has been selected to the last five Pro Bowls, although, for what it's worth, Von has been to six-straight. That time together at the NFL all-star game has given the two a jumping-off point as Casey begins his Broncos tenure.
“It’s the exact same guy from the Pro Bowl (laughing). It’s the exact same guy from the Pro Bowl," Miller said of Casey. "Some of the games we talked about, some of the drills that we worked on at the Pro Bowl, we talk about the same stuff here. He just gets it. It’s just instant. When you’ve played as long as Jurrell and you’ve played as long as me, it’s just instant. We don’t have to work on stuff. I can say something and he’ll pick it up instantly. He’ll say something to me, and I’ll pick it up instantly. It’s great to have a guy like that.”
The Broncos are counting on that instant chemistry to pay some dividends this year, especially when it comes to wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. If the Broncos get Bradley Chubb back at full strength (knock on wood), combined with DL Shelby Harris' flashes of pass-rushing prowess, the Broncos could push to lead the league in team sacks.
The Broncos did just that back in 2015 when the names were Miller, Wolfe, DeMarcus Ware, and Malik Jackson. Considering that it's Fangio pulling the defensive strings circa 2020, I wouldn't put it past this new group as distinct possibility of repeating the feat.