Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Broncos legend praises LB Josey Jewell

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Former Denver Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg recently appeared on the Legends of Mile High podcast.

Mecklenburg played 12 seasons with the Broncos. He was a first-team All-Pro selection four times (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989) and was selected to six Pro Bowls.

He was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame.

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On the show, Mecklenburg said that getting everyone lined up correctly is a “big” part of an inside linebacker’s job.

“An inside linebacker has to be smart enough to control the defense,” Mecklenburg said. “It’s a big part of his job. My role was to make sure the front seven was in the right place at the right time as the offense adjusted. All those defenders are staring at the ball. They’re staring at the nose of the man lined up across from them. That’s all they see. If things change back there, it’s the inside linebacker’s job to line everyone up.”

He spoke highly of linebacker Josey Jewell’s ability to control defense.

“I think Josey Jewell is really good at that. I watched him. The growth from his freshman to his sophomore year was tremendous. Then he got hurt, but he’s a guy you can trust to line everyone up properly. Then the big games don’t happen. Then the outside linebackers do the right thing to put pressure on you. Then there is a bugging operation. It doesn’t look like Josey Jewell had anything to do with it, but he really switched and set everyone up right. That’s why it happened.”

Jewell enjoyed a breakout season in 2020 with 113 combined tackles, five tackles for losses and four passes defended.

Jewell had a hot start to 2021, posting a 77.3 PFF score in Week 1 against the New York Giants. In that game he had four tackles, a broken pass and a forced fumble.

Unfortunately, he suffered a torn chest in week 2 and missed the rest of the season.

Despite this, Jewell has steadily improved on the field since entering the league in 2018. He’s a reliable presence in a Broncos inside linebacker group that otherwise lacks clarity.

Alex Singleton, Jonas Griffith, Justin Strnad, Kana’i Mauga and Barrington Wade will fight for the other starting spot as inside linebackers.

On May 24, PFF’s Sam Monson published an article ranking linebackers across the NFL. He placed Jewell at number 22 on the list, highlighting his run defense.

“Jewel is more of an all-around linebacker, but run defense was his best area in the NFL,” Monson wrote. “Another player with no elite physical tools, Jewell reads the game very quickly and is always in the right place at the right time against the run.”

Jewell’s instincts helped him become a formidable running defender. In 2019, he achieved an excellent PFF run defense score of 88.5.

“Jewel is more of an all-around linebacker, but run defense was his best area in the NFL,” Monson wrote. “Another player with no elite physical tools, Jewell reads the game very quickly and is always in the right place at the right time against the run.”

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