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Mile High Morning: Rookie Jonathon Cooper emerging as a defensive playmaker for Broncos


The Lead

Broncos outside linebacker Jonathon Cooper continues to look like a steal coming out of the seventh round of this year's NFL draft, putting up another impressive performance vs. the Browns in Week 7.

The rookie defender racked up seven tackles and two sacks through the preseason, but has yet to record a sack in the regular season. On Thursday, when Von Miller exited the matchup vs. Cleveland with an ankle injury, Cooper stepped up in Miller's place.

Cooper saw his most action to date on Thursday night, taking 56% of the defensive snaps in Miller's absence. He also nearly recorded his first career sack not once, but three times.

"Cooper came loose a couple of times in the rush," Head Coach Vic Fangio said after the game. "He got too high on the tackle where he could have sacked the quarterback there backed up prior to the half. He's got to stay in the strike zone. I thought he could play the edge a little bit better and more consistently."

Cooper's performance on Sunday was close to being a breakout night for the rookie.

"They say football is a game of inches and milliseconds, and it really is," Cooper said. "I just feel like a lot of those plays could have changed the trajectory of the game and could have given momentum to the team. I have to look at it to see where I could get better and get there (to the quarterback) just a little bit quicker."

With a little more development, Cooper could become a huge part of the Broncos' defense.

Below the Fold

Former Broncos linebacker Randy Gradishar was exceptional on the field, and he is still doing exceptional things in the Denver community decades after his retirement.

When a diehard Broncos fan donated a kidney to her brother, Gradishar surprised her with a visit to say thank you.

After Donna donated her kidney, George was searching for a way to thank her. He knew how much Donna loved Gradishar and the Broncos, and found an opportunity to surprise her.

"[T]he Bronco legend answered the call and gave his biggest fan a shock she won't soon forget," Brode wrote. 

Donna was blown away by the gesture — a well-earned honor after a selfless organ donation for her brother.

"The Ring of Famer shared old football stories with the George family, signed autographs and took pictures," Brode wrote.

The Unclassifieds

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