In a season that was derailed by injuries, several Broncos believe the most impactful injury may have been the one that came first.
Just days into training camp, wide receiver Tim Patrick rose into the air to make a catch, landed with the ball and then took a step to take off down the field. As Patrick planted, though, his knee gave way — and he exited the field with a season-ending knee injury.
When Patrick went down, the Broncos lost more than the receiver who led the teams in touchdown receptions over the previous two seasons. Perhaps more critically, Patrick's injury left an emotional void on offense.
"A lot of people don't understand, Tim is what makes everything go," said defensive lineman DeShawn Williams as the Broncos cleaned out their lockers at the end of the season. "He has that defensive mindset going on offense that everybody gravitates toward."
Williams said Patrick's on-field aggression and alpha mentality mimics the way defensive players approach the game. In a season that featured a number of offensive issues, the absence of Patrick's mindset proved costly.
"He was the glue to this offense," Williams said.
Center Lloyd Cushenberry III, who missed the latter half of the season with an injury of his own, also recognized the impact Patrick has on an offense.
"He comes with that dog mentality," Cushenberry said to end the season. "He'll stick his nose in there in the run game [and] block linebackers if he has to. Anything it takes with him. He's a dog."
The Broncos will surely welcome both Patrick's mentality and production in 2023, as he posted at least 700 yards and five touchdowns in back-to-back seasons ahead of his injury.
"I just want him to know that we appreciate him so much," Williams said. "Having him and 'Court' [Courtland Sutton] and [Jerry] Jeudy together, that's a dynamic trio of receivers. I just hope he gets better and shows what he can do with Russ [Russell Wilson] next season."
Below the Fold
The Associated Press announced its 2022 All-Pro honorees on Friday, and cornerback Pat Surtain II and safety Justin Simmons both earned recognition. Surtain was named a first-team All-Pro selection, earning the first All-Pro honors of his career, while Simmons was named a second-team All-Pro selection for the third time in his career.
Following this announcement, the NFL world took to social media to congratulate Surtain and Simmons on their accomplishments.