Bradley Chubb “not very effective” in season opener, but Broncos see positives as linebacker’s repaired knee feels good

While playing 73% of the defensive snaps in the Broncos’ Week 1 loss to the Titans, outside linebacker Bradley Chubb had little impact, tallying only a couple quarterback pressures and no tackles.

Chubb admitted his performance in 59 plays of work was “not very effective” as he continues to get back into “the groove of things” following ACL surgery on his left knee last fall.

“I wish I could have made more plays,” Chubb said. “At the end of the day, I just can’t force things. I have to let it come to me and just try and make as many plays as I can this week. Like I said before the game, I didn’t really go out there with the mindset that I was just going to try to come out (and dominate) or whatever. I was just going to go out there and play to how I felt. The knee felt good. It felt good the whole time and it feels good now. That’s for sure a positive.”

The No. 5 overall pick in 2018 out of North Carolina State, Chubb set a Broncos rookie sack record with 12. But his second year ended in the Week 4 loss to Jacksonville, when he tore the same ACL that he did in high school in 2012.

Despite Chubb’s lack of production against Tennessee, both coach Vic Fangio and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell were encouraged by what they saw.

“He’s not where he was, but he’s getting there, and I think he’ll get there quickly,” Fangio said.

Added Donatell: “You can’t substitute real game speed, and considering that was his first action with no preseason games, he’s really heading on the right course.”

The quickness at which Chubb gets back to full-game strength is key for the Broncos, who are already without the services of Von Miller due to an ankle injury. Denver has capable backups in Jeremiah Attaochu and Malik Reed, both of whom saw significant time in 2019 as well as Monday, when the pair combined for seven total tackles and each had a tackle for loss.

“For right now, I have to pick up the slack of (Miller) not being there, along with all of those guys in that room — Malik, Jerry, and (practice squad rookie) Derrek (Tuszka),” Chubb said. “We all have to step up and fill that void.”

Chubb’s had a couple of speed bumps in his recovery, including what he called “a little tendinitis” in his knee following the team’s first preseason practice at Empower Field at Mile High on Aug. 29. As to when he’ll be 100% again — and not on any sort of snap count — Chubb is listening to his knee.

“I can’t really put a day on that or a time on that,” he said. “I just have to go out there and play football. My main thing is just doing what I can to help this team win whether that be rushing the passer, dropping into coverage or whatever it takes. I’m just going to do that… I’m feeling pretty good now, and I’m going to go out there and continue to do what I’ve been doing.”