The Broncos are preparing to take on the Chiefs for the second time in a span of three games — and this time around they'll have an extra defensive weapon on their side in outside linebacker Baron Browning.
Browning made his season debut against the Packers after missing training camp and the start to the season with a knee injury and contributed to Denver's 19-17 win. The Ohio State product helped apply pressure on Packers quarterback Jordan Love, but it was his energy that endeared him to his teammates and that has them most excited for the upcoming weeks.
"I love having Baron back," inside linebacker Josey Jewell said. "He's a great energy [to have] back in the game, and I wish we could have had him a week earlier because I just love him out on the field. Ever since he came in, I've been very excited to always see him on the field and see how he plays, just the way he gets after it, his movement, how quick he is, how quick he is off the ball. He keeps it going every single rep. … You're always going to get 100 percent out of him. Everyone always knows what to expect from him, which is always good. It was great having him back — can't wait for the next couple weeks of him."
Head Coach Sean Payton said on Monday that he thought Browning "played well" and said he hit his preplanned pitch count for game snaps. Browning played 29 snaps in Denver's win.
"We talked about it during the week," Payton said. "We felt his pitch count would be somewhere in there [in the 29-31 range]. It was good to have him back in the lineup."
Browning said joining his teammates on the field was his favorite part of his season debut and one he'd missed when he was rehabbing.
"It felt like a full-circle moment," Browning said after the game. "... I put in a lot of work in the offseason and then I had the surgery. … I just felt like I was in a space where I had a lot of different emotions, just because I got kind of got hurt right before [organized team activities]. I was looking forward to being out there this season with my teammates. … Being away, you don't feel like you're a part of something. Just to kind of be back in the mix with my guys, it feels good to have that feeling back and be a part of the team."
The third-year outside linebacker said he felt comfortable at the start of the game, but his confidence grew as the game progressed.
With the Broncos starting preparations for their Week 8 game against Kansas City, Browning is hoping Denver's defense can continue the strides it has made in recent weeks and build off the fighting spirit it showcased in the first half and final defensive drive.
"More than anything, we just need to focus on playing our game and not worrying about what nobody else is doing," Browning said. "Going out there and playing our best ball, setting the tone and starting fast. A lot of times, we started fast but we came out flat in the second half. We need to play a full game. I think we did a better job of that [against Green Bay], fighting at the end. We just need to continue building off of that."