Bradley Chubb was poised to build on his record-setting rookie campaign when the injury bug jumped up and bit him. The Denver Broncos young pass rusher suffered a torn ACL in Week 4 of last season and would miss the ensuing 12 games.
Chubb has since undergone surgery to repair the tear and has thrown himself into the rehab process. We learned earlier this summer how "weird" his offseason has been rehabbing at a team facility that has felt more like a ghost town due to the pandemic shutdown, and we're yet to hear anything that would hint at a setback or complication to his recovery.
On Tuesday, the Broncos placed a couple of players on injury lists, one on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and one on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list. Chubb wasn't one of them.
That's a sign that his recovery is on-schedule. We also learned on Tuesday from Head Coach Vic Fangio that while Chubb might not quite be back to 100%, it won't be long.
“I don’t think we can say he’s 100 percent right now," Fangio sad via virtual press conference. "We’ll watch him. We anticipate him being out there and being practicing and not being on PUP early on. We’ll monitor him. He’s not 100 percent, but he’s pretty damn close and I think he’s had a hell of a rehab.”
Fangio has been allowed in the UC Health Training Center facility at different points during the offseason and has been able to closely monitor Chubb's recovery. With 2020 being arguably the most tumultuous and unique offseason in NFL history, Chubb has managed the roller-coaster well.
"He’s done well in his rehab," Fangio said. "He’s one of the few guys for us that we’ve had here the entire offseason. Every team had a handful of guys that they were able to rehab during the pandemic. He was one of them for us. Once we were allowed back in the building, I saw him a lot. He’s doing very well. The key for him too is he’s doing well mentally. He never let the grind and the ups and downs of rehab get to him. He fought through it."
Chubb reported for training camp last Thursday and began the two-stage testing process for coronavirus. Having passed both tests, he was permitted entry into the building on Monday to begin camp in earnest.
It'll be a unusual training camp, as nearly the first three weeks will be focused on conditioning. But for a recovering player like Chubb, that's nothing but a good thing.
Posting a team-record 12 sacks as a rookie in 2018, the former No. 5 overall draft pick is camping at the bit to get back out on the grid-iron to get his career trajectory back on track. As I've said many times on the Huddle Up Podcast during this offseason, the odds are, the Broncos will keep Chubb on a bit of a 'pitch count' to open the 2020 season.
The Broncos will want to play it safe with Chubb and ease him back into action. The first quarter of the season will likely see him rotating quite a bit with backup rush linebackers like Jeremiah Attaochu and others.
But if Chubb's recovery continues to progress without a setback, it'll only be a matter of time before he's fully back to form and chasing down quarterbacks opposite of Von Miller. Considering what we know about Chubb's football smarts, work ethic, and natural talent, it wouldn't be surprising to see him come back even stronger.