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Broncos' Bryce Callahan ready to put best foot forward

Defense suffers blow, loses rookie Strnad to surgery
Posted at 12:54 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 15:48:28-04

DENVER — Bryce Callahan is a corner. Not a carpenter. Not a doctor.

He's ready to play football after spending the past year discussing a bent screw in his foot that prompted a second surgery and a lost first season in Denver.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio stumped for Callahan, his former ace cover man in Chicago. Callahan's health betrayed him, though the veteran made an impact by helping accelerate the learning curve of teammates in the film room. But he's not a coach. He's a corner, remember? And a good one.

Broncos Camp Day 9: Broncos' Bryce Callahan ready to put best foot forward

Callahan has shown promise in training camp, and could be the missing piece to turning the Broncos into an elite unit.

"I had a misstep last year two weeks into camp, and the screw bent and caused a break," Callahan said. "Right now I am 100%. I put the foot behind me. I am not really feeling it all."

Callahan brings speed and high football IQ, pairing well with A.J. Bouye. The third corner remains undecided in a battle between Isaac Yiadom, De'Vante Bausby and Davontae Harris. As does Callahan's role. He is well-versed in playing inside, but has lined up outside frequently during camp.

"I’m most comfortable inside, because that’s what I've done most of my career, but I’m not foreign to outside," Callahan said. "I am ready to do whatever helps the team ... I for sure had pressure on, with the foot. Obviously, they pay a guy to come in and make a play on the field, and I was unable to do it. Obviously it wasn’t just physical, it was mental too."

It's hard enough to join a new franchise with expectations. Couple that with an injury that leads down the lonely rabbit hole of rehab, and it's clear Callahan is ready for a fresh start, ready to just be a corner.

"This defense in year two with (coach Fangio), you are able to do new things, and add more," Callahan said. "We should see that spike (in performance)."

Tough break for Strnad
Promising rookie inside linebacker Justin Strnad's season ended before it started. Pegged for possible time in nickel coverage, Strnad suffered a broken his wrist Sunday with potential ligament damage. As a result, he had surgery Sunday night to prevent nerve damage, Strnad told Denver7. He will land on the injured reserve.

Strnad was turning heads early in camp with his athleticism as a hybrid linebacker who can cover tight ends and running backs.

His injury leaves the Broncos thin at the position. Todd Davis is out for roughly a week, possibly more, with a strained left calf. Justin Hollins, a second-year player form Oregon, worked at inside linebacker in Monday's practice and will remain there. He is an outside backer by trade, and was set to focus on that spot in camp after playing both positions as a rookie.

"He's a guy who has a chance. We are not just putting him in there," Fangio said. "Sometimes, it can be a blessing. He does have good recall and is a smart guy. We will find out if he's grown at all and if he's capable (of good coverage). He's going to have to learn to play with more decisiveness and explosiveness (inside compared to outside)."

Footnotes
Nose tackle Mike Purcell sat out with calf tightness. De'Vante Bausby and Alijah Holder are also dealing with soft tissue injuries.

Monday's work featured stuff the Broncos will see from their early opponents. That was planned. The practice was tweaked because of injuries. At one point third string quarterback Brett Rypien worked as the scout team safety.