ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II wasn't aware of his debut in the NFL Top 100. But he's already making plans to improve on his No. 49 ranking.
"I didn't even know," Surtain said after Monday's training camp practice. "It's pretty dope when your peers across the league mention you in such high regard, especially by your play style and by how you play. But I always tell myself, I have to get better. …I'm looking to get higher in those rankings."
The honor is the latest in an offseason full of them for Surtain, who earned first-team All-Pro honors and was a starter in the Pro Bowl. With Surtain and second-team All-Pro safety Justin Simmons leading the secondary, the Broncos will look to their defensive backs to set the tone again in 2023.
Even with all the recognition, Surtain said he's blocking out the chatter and that his goals remain the same.
"Of course, I'm looking at myself as the best, but I mean, I ain't going to [get]into the politics, get into the rankings and all the stuff," Surtain said. "I'm just playing my game and sharpening my tools every day, sharpen my skillset and make sure I keep on getting better each and every week. That's my main focus: just getting better for the team and focusing on that.
"… I just let my play do the talking. I don't sort of get into all the external stuff and the noise outside. I just try to focus on my craft and focus on what I need to do."
Surtain holds high expectations for his team, as well. Now in his third season, he said the Broncos are making sealing a spot in the playoffs their standard. As a player with championship titles at the high school and collegiate levels, Surtain aimsto bring that winning energy to the Broncos' facility.
"Going to Alabama, we won championships," Surtain said. "Going back to high school, we won state championships. Just bringing that energy, bringing that winning attitude, winning atmosphere across the locker room is big. Just rallying together and understanding our main goal, which is to win and reach the next stage."
JEWELL JELLING WITH INSIDE LINEBACKERS
The Broncos invested resources into the inside linebacker position this offseason, but veteran inside linebacker Josey Jewell should remain a major part of Denver's defensive plans.
After the first practice of training camp with pads, Jewell offered high praise for the Broncos' highest-drafted defensive rookie, inside linebacker Drew Sanders, and one of Denver's key re-signings, inside linebacker Alex Singleton.
"We're on Day 3 of installs now, so I think he's picking up pretty good, but as a rookie, it's a little bit tougher," Jewell said of Sanders' acclimation to training camp. "You're coming into an NFL offense, an NFL defense, and trying to learn from a different coach than you learned from in college. He's doing a great job so far, but there's some small little hiccups, just like anybody else."
Jewell and Singleton formed a strong pairing in their first season together in Denver, with Singleton recording 163 tackles and Jewell racking up 128. Now in their first training camp practicing together, Jewell said the duo's opportunity to establish clear lines of communication has been a valuable development.
"Last year we didn't get a lot of reps, so it's nice to get those reps right now and know the communication between both of us, late-switch calls and stuff like that," Jewell said. "Just to be able to move on the flow and do things very fast."