SEATTLE — Bradley Chubb appears ready for the regular season.
He played just 10 snaps on Saturday night in Seattle, but with his first-quarter takedown of reserve quarterback Alex McGough, Chubb showed he and his surgically repaired ankle are in fine form ahead of the Sept. 12 regular-season opener.
"It felt good just because … going through the surgery and the stuff this offseason, just to get back into that full form, it just feels good to get my hands around the quarterback and start the streak off," Chubb said Saturday night.
Chubb recorded the 5-yard sack on the starting unit's second drive of the game, as McGough held the ball a touch too long and Chubb stayed persistent in his rush. It wasn't the first time in recent days that Chubb showed a strong rush. Over the previous few days in practice, Chubb has consistently been in the offensive backfield to disrupt the play.
"I think Bradley's made a move here in the last seven to 10 days," Head Coach Vic Fangio said Saturday. "I think he's confident and ready to go."
Chubb missed all of the offseason program after undergoing surgery to fix an ankle injury that kept him out of the final two games of the year. As September approaches, though, Chubb agreed that he's turned a corner.
"I feel like I just got a little more confident in my ankle and everything that I had going on this offseason," Chubb said of the last week. "Kind of got out of my head and just started playing football. I feel like that helped me out a lot. Just have to keep going forward and keep improving each week. I know this is my fourth year, but I still have things that I need to improve on. ... My main focus is to just do that now."
Denver fans will now wait to see if Chubb gets a few more plays ahead of the regular-season opener. Chubb said he feels comfortable with the preseason action he's already received, but he noted he'll play against the Rams if the coaches decide its best.
"Either way it goes, I'm going to be ready," Chubb said.
COOPER CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
After Chubb exited the game, seventh-round pick Jonathon Cooper received his own opportunity — and he certainly delivered.
The seventh-round pick stuffed the stat sheet, as he posted three tackles, two sacks, a tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, a pass defense and a forced fumble. The takeaway came on one of his two sacks, as he looped behind McGough and delivered a blow that knocked the ball loose.
"It was crazy," Cooper said after the game. "I felt like I could beat him on the edge. The tackle, No. 78, was a great tackle. I felt like I could keep pushing that edge, and I knew that No. 10, the quarterback, likes to scramble to the right, so I kept working that edge and lo and behold, you keep working your hands and never give up and keep pushing and you're going to get there. I saw that on Chubb's sack too. That's kind of my process right there."
Cooper, who missed the offseason program after undergoing a heart procedure, has been impressive since returning to the field at the beginning of training camp. Following the second preseason game, Cooper appears to be the top option to grab the No. 4 outside linebacker spot behind Chubb, Von Miller and Malik Reed.
"He's made improvement the whole way," Fangio said. "The more he plays, the better he'll be. You know, we're expecting him to be a rotational guy for us behind Bradley and Von, and hopefully he did some good in the special teams, because we're going to need him there. But everything you do builds confidence. Once you do it and experience it, [it] is worth a whole lot more than anybody talking to you about it."
WILLIAMS NOT GOING ANYWHERE
In 2020, DeShawn Williams became a story because of his lengthy absence from the field.
When Williams appeared in the Broncos' Week 3 game against the Buccaneers, it marked the first time in 1,373 days that he had played in a regular-season game. Only three players last season returned from a longer absence than Williams' four-year hiatus. During that time, Williams was cut on multiple occasions, including several times by the Broncos.
After appearing in 14 games last year and turning in an impressive performance on Saturday against the Seahawks, it seems clear that Williams plans on sticking around this time.
"I don't have to be the starter," Williams said. "My time will come. I just want to be a part of something special, and this year is going to be something special. So if it's me playing 20 snaps a game, me having to be the starter cause somebody's hurt or me being the starter because they want to put me in, I don't care what the job is, I'm going to get it done. I'm going to give 110 percent. I just want to be here. I'm making it known right now: I want to be here."
If his spot wasn't already secured, Williams likely locked up a roster spot on Saturday, as he tallied three tackles, a diving interception, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. If he does earn a place on the initial 53-man roster, it would be an emotional moment for the journeyman player.
"I think that last preseason game when they tell me I made the 53, I'll probably break down, because that'll be the first time ever that I made the 53," Williams said. "That's something special."
BRONCOS' DEFENSE TAKES BALL AWAY
In addition to the strong individual performances, the Broncos' defense also played well as a unit. The starting group allowed just nine total net yards in two series and recorded an interception and a sack. Over the course of the game, the Broncos gave up just three points and have allowed only nine points in two weeks. Only the Titans have allowed fewer points during the preseason.
In addition to playing stifling defense, the Broncos have also been taking the ball away. Cooper forced a fumble, Williams had an interception and Justin Simmons also had a pick as the Broncos won the turnover battle, 3-0. The Broncos have now forced four turnovers and recorded a safety during the preseason, which has led to 19 points.
After ranking 32nd in turnover margin in 2020, the Broncos will hope to continue the trend of taking the ball away in the regular season.