DENVER —** In his seven years in the NFL, Dekoda Watson has had worse preseason games. With 2.5 sacks in less than two quarters against the Rams Saturday night, it'd be hard to have better ones.
Since the preseason opener in Chicago, Watson has lit up the stat sheet, recording four sacks, one safety and one forced fumble. In each game, the Broncos' opponents have not been able to stop Watson from getting his hands on their quarterbacks and taking them to the ground.
As the Broncos near the first round of roster cuts, Watson knew that even though he had made big plays already, he neded to put even more plays on his highlight reel for the coaches to watch.
"[The level of urgency] was pretty high because we didn't have that many snaps this game, especially with the fact that we had a lot of starters come in," Watson said. "So you have to make with what you've got and I just wanted just to make the most of every opportunity, and that's what I did."
But Watson doesn't feel comfortable yet.
"It's just more so competing with myself," Watson said. "I'm not going to try to focus more on the past or anything like that; I'm just going to control what I can control, and like I said, you can get better each day."
One thing from the past that Watson said he definitely wasn't holding on to was his sack celebration from the season opener. Against the Rams, he broke out a new celebration to the delight of his teammates and fans of Martin Lawrence's 1999 film, Blue Streak, which featured a memorable scene from comedian Dave Chappelle.
"That Dave Chappelle one, they loved it — from Blue Streak," Watson said, laughing. "That was pretty funny. They critiqued me. After that first one, the safety, I didn't celebrate like I was supposed to, I won't tell you the things that they said, but I can't go back there to those days."
Much like his sack celebrations, Watson sees room for improvement in his game. So he's on to the next preseason game. He's not satisfied yet, though some of his teammates have taken notice and think his big plays and willingness to be a consistent force on special teams will earn him a spot once the cuts have been made.
"There's nothing he needs to do more," inside linebacker Brandon Marshall said. "I think his spot is solidified already on the team. He's just got to stay healthy and keep going."
Watson doesn't see it that way, though. He already knows the feeling of being waived or released multiple times, and resting on his laurels would do nothing but keep that window propped open. Plus, what might await him has plenty of potential to be even greater than what he's done so far.
"I'm going to continue to do whatever I need to do," he said. "If I set myself up and say, 'I'm done,' that's stupid to say because I'm limiting myself. If I continue to work hard and continue to push myself, the sky's the limit. There are a lot of opportunities for me out there."
The Broncos pulled out a narrow victory over the Rams after falling down early and battling back. (photos by Gabriel Christus unless otherwise noted)