Broncos Legend Praises Starting Linebacker for ‘Tremendous’ Growth

Broncos, Josey Jewell

Getty Denver Broncos LB Josey Jewell breaks up a pass.

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 he was selected to six Pro Bowls.

He was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame.

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Mecklenburg Applauds Josey Jewell’s Intelligence

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

“An inside linebacker has got to be smart enough to control the defense,” Mecklenburg said. “That’s a huge piece of his job. My role was to make sure the front seven was in the right place at the right time when the offense adjusted. All those defensive linemen are staring at the ball. They are staring at the nose of the man lined up across from them. That’s all they see. So, if anything changes back there, the inside linebacker’s job is to get everybody lined up right.”

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

“I think that’s something that Josey Jewell is really good at. I’ve watched him. The growth from his first year to his second year was tremendous. Then, he ended up getting hurt, but he’s a guy that you can trust to get everyone lined up right. Then, the big plays don’t happen. Then, the outside linebackers are doing the right thing, so you get the pressure. Then, there’s an interception. It doesn’t look like Josey Jewell had anything to do with it, but he really got everyone shifted around and lined up right. That’s why it happened.”

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

Jewell got off to a hot start in 2021. In Week 1, he posted a PFF grade of 77.3 against the New York Giants. In that game, he had four tackles, one pass breakup, and one forced fumble.

Unfortunately, he suffered a torn pectoral in Week 2, and he missed the remainder of the season.

Nevertheless, Jewell has continually gotten better on the field, since he entered the league in 2018. He is 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 compete for the other starting inside linebacker spot.

Jewell Is an Impactful Run Defender

On May 24, PFF’s Sam Monson released an article ranking linebackers across the NFL. He placed Jewell 22nd on the list and highlighted his run defense.

“Jewell is actually more of an all-around linebacker, but run defense has been his best area in the NFL,” Monson wrote. “Another player without elite physical tools, Jewell reads the game very quickly and is consistently in the right place at the right time against the run.”

Jewell’s instincts have helped him become an impressive run defender. In 2019, he posted an outstanding PFF run defense grade of 88.5.

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