ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — New Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan has seen the chatter online.
He’s seen the posts about himself, Chris Harris Jr. and Kareem Jackson.
How they’re going to bring the Broncos’ secondary back to old heights.
How they’re going to shut down opposing receivers.
How they’re going to be known as the “No-Fly Zone 2.0.”
Callahan has other ideas.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff on social media about that, ‘No Fly Zone 2.0’ or whatever,” Callahan said Saturday after signing a three-year deal with the Broncos. “I feel like we can make our own thing. We’re going to see.”
Whatever they’re called, Callahan, Harris and Jackson have the ability to revive Denver’s defensive backfield and match up with the high-powered offensive attacks in the AFC West.
With a division that features quarterbacks like Philip Rivers and Patrick Mahomes and receivers like Antonio Brown and Keenan Allen, that’s a must.
And Callahan’s excited for the challenge.
“Hell yeah,” said Callahan when asked if he was excited for the challenge of playing those receivers. “Any time you get a chance to go against a good player, you get a chance to show your talents. It’s all opportunities for me.”
He should be ready to take advantage of those opportunities. Callahan played for Head Coach Vic Fangio and Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell during three of his four seasons in Chicago, and that played a major part in Callahan’s decision to sign with Denver.
“There were a couple of teams involved in the second wave of free agency,” Callahan said. “The Broncos were always my top pick because of Fangio and Ed. I felt comfortable in this system. I’ve been playing with them for a couple of years. I feel like I won’t have to be learning a whole new system. I can just get in and go.”
That’s good news for the Broncos, because Callahan was among the best in the league at his position.
Pro Football Focus tabbed him as the 10th-best cornerback in the league last year, and he allowed the second-fewest yards per coverage snap (.69 yards), per PFF.
Slot corner, where Callahan played in Chicago, is not an easy position to master. But Callahan came pretty close last year with the Bears before he broke his foot in Week 12.
Among all NFL cornerbacks, he played the second-most snaps per game (31.7) in slot coverage in 2018 and allowed just one touchdown, per PFF.
Callahan said he isn’t quite sure why he was so successful in Fangio’s defense. He knows Fangio “makes it really easy for the defense,” but that’s not all there is to it.
There’s just something about Vic, it seems.
“You want to make plays for [him],” Callahan said. “He calls the right plays at the right time. You just want to go out there and lay it on the line for him.”
Callahan will now get that chance again — no matter what he and his fellow defensive backs are called.