ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Bradley Chubb took two snaps in team drills Monday. That was it.
Let's just say the movie Chubb has planned will be better than the trailer.
In 2018, the one season Chubb and Von Miller played together, the pair posted 26.5 sacks, wrecking plays and turning playcallers squeamish. Three years later, they appear poised for a sequel.
It starts with both returning to good health. Von Miller, out all of last season with a dislocated ankle tendon, remains in the clear, participating without limitations. Chubb had bone spurs removed from his ankle and practiced in 11 on 11 for the first time Monday after several days of conditioning with trainers.
"When we get to September [and the season opener on the 12th], I am going to be 100%," said Chubb, a Pro Bowler last season because of his 7.5 sacks and overall disruptive snaps. "I am slowly working into team drills and 7-on-7, just getting my feet underneath me again. I feel like it's going to be special when everything gets full go."
Chubb produced 7.5 sacks last season over his final 11 games after opponents shut him out the first three weeks. With Chubb on the field, it forces offensive lines to make difficult choices on where to slide protection. Doubling Chubb is dicey with Von on the other side. And devoting too much attention to Von will create creases for Chubb.
"He looks ready to go. I feel ready to go, and I think this will be the one," Miller said. "He had a crazy year last year, and I think it’ll be even crazier with me back out on the field, so I’m excited to see the things that me and Bradley can do.”
Von and Chubb refuse to pin stats on their expectations. However, anything less than 20 sacks would be a disappointment. Part of the total remains out of their control. They need the offense to carry its weight, forcing teams to pass more often and in uncomfortable situations, like trailing by a touchdown while the South Stand fans cascade noise across the region.
"I just know with me and Chubb out there, especially with all the guys that we have around us, Dre’Mont [Jones] and all these guys on the inside. Kyle Fuller, Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan, and just the secondary that we have, we should be able to put up numbers," Miller said. "I don’t want to jinx myself. I’m at peace with whatever we do, and I know if we can play to the best of our ability, we’ll be right up there with all the other great duos around the league."
Quarterback battle remains even
Teddy Bridgewater bounced back like Dennis Rodman on Monday. After dissolving Saturday with three picks, he clearly won the day, completing 14 of 16 passes. He delivered the wow pass of the practice on a 50-yard scoring strike to reserve receiver Diontae Spencer on his first toss.
Drew Lock, who entered practice ahead on my scoreboard, threw his first two interceptions of camp: one in seven on seven to Pat Surtain II and another to cornerback Rojesterman Farris to end practice in team drills.
Coach Vic Fangio labeled the competition, "even-steven." It will be interesting as the Broncos move forward if they tailor the plays to each of the quarterback's strengths as they seek separation.
Through five days, I have scored the QB derby thusly: Teddy 2, Drew 2, 1 draw.
Inside linebacker Justin Strnad embraces the challenge of additional playing time. The second year player, who missed all of last year with a wrist injury, continues to receive first-team reps with Josey Jewell out for roughly a week with a groin injury. Strnad brings coverage skills, but can he play physical enough in pads, which begins Tuesday? "We will find out," Fangio said.
The offensive line continues to show improvement, and the players notice as well. "I don't know if you guys remember how we looked when we had our first few practices last year. I think the line and offense in general looks night and day compared to last year," guard Graham Glasgow said.
Lloyd Cushenberry doesn't just look bigger. He is bigger. He has added 10 pound of muscle, and he is clearly the starter at center, though he knows he needs to make a jump in his play this season.
Receiver Tyrie Cleveland (backside) sat out practice. Linebacker Baron Browning (knee) is making improvement, but there's no timetable on when he might work in team drills.