Broncos inside linebacker Jonas Griffith on way to securing Week 1 starting role: “He’s locked in”

Every day that Jonas Griffith lines up as one of the Broncos’ starting inside linebackers, special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes has to come to grips with the fact he won’t have Griffith on his units.

“Do you want me to be sad going back to my office?” Stukes said with a laugh. “I’m disappointed about that. I’m happy for the kid.”

And the Broncos are happy with Griffith, who is playing alongside Josey Jewell. Griffith has the physical tools (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) and when the new coaching staff was hired, they were impressed by his 255 defensive snaps last year.

“No. 1, he’s a physical freak,” inside linebackers coach Peter Hansen said. “And then mentally, he’s very comfortable.”

Griffith took first-team snaps in the offseason program, ahead of newcomer Alex Singleton, and has continued that role during the first 10 camp practices.

“This is what you work for all offseason and I feel like, with training camp here and I’m running with the (starters), I can solidify myself,” Griffith said.

Griffith was literally the final option at inside linebacker last year. Jewell, Alexander Johnson, Justin Strnad, Micah Kiser, Kenny Young and Baron Browning all started games before Griffith was called upon.

Now? Johnson is a free agent, Young and Kiser are playing for Las Vegas, Browning was moved to outside linebacker and Strnad is a back-up for the Broncos.

Griffith, who was undrafted in 2020, was acquired by the Broncos from San Francisco last August to play special teams. He sustained a hamstring injury in Week 3 and missed four games.  As he recovered from his injury and returned to play special teams (155 snaps), the churn at inside linebacker was underway.

Already without Jewell (pectoral), the Broncos lost Johnson (pectoral) in Week 5 and Kiser (hamstring) in Week 6 to injury and ascertained Strnad wasn’t quite ready (replaced after Week 6). Browning and Young solidified the situation throughout the second half of the year, but Young sustained a season-ending concussion in Week 14.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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