Malik Reed is cooking. Literally and figuratively.
The sophomore Broncos outside linebacker has been comfortable in the kitchen since the coronavirus hit with the help of his wife, Cidavia, like a pandemic silver lining. You might be surprised by what Reed gets out of the oven.
“We tried to cook different dishes and try new things, pastries and things like that,” said Reed. “It’s something we certainly enjoyed.”
Count those handmade meals as a welcome reward for his day job – terrorizing quarterbacks. Nicknamed “Dream Killer” by teammates last season, Reed has lived up to his reputation ahead of Denver’s home game against New Orleans on Sunday. Reed’s 6.5 sacks are tied for a team-high over 10 games this season.
“I’m blessed to be in this position,” Reed said. “It was ready for the occasion when it arose.”
The formula for Reeds depth chart ascension reflects its breakout rookie season. In 2019, Reed filled the gap left by Bradley Chubb’s ACL tear absence and started eight games with a few sacks. In 2020, the season-closing operation for Von Miller opened the door again.
However, Reed was not guaranteed a starring role. During the first four games, he didn’t register any “disturbance” to the quarterback – sacks, knockdowns, or pressure – according to The Denver Post’s game charting. Broncos outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu earned more snaps.
Everything changed in week 4 when Attaochu sustained a leg injury. Reed became a starter and quickly developed into the Broncos’ most effective pass rusher. In his past six games, Reed registered 14.5 quarterback upsets, and it’s not the only facet of his game on the rise.
“When he plays outside linebacker, he does get a little rush in our nickel and dime fronts. He improved his run game and he improved his pass rush game, ”said coach Vic Fangio. “I think John Pagano (outside of linebackers coach) has done a good job with him in moving him forward in his second year. You always hope for a big leap from year one to year two. He had to play a lot last year because of Bradley’s injury and now he plays a lot this year because of Von’s injury.
‘He made the most of it. He is a very conscientious player. He plays hard and you like to see good things happen to people like that. “
Reed is not one to boast and believe his football success is deeply rooted in his Christian faith.
“I see it as a complete player who does everything right,” said Reed. “Whether that’s running, rushing the compass, or falling into cover a bit. I have the feeling that I do all those things well, that’s how my game has continued to grow and develop. “