ENGLEWOOD — Frustrated with losing and his lack of production, receiver Jerry Jeudy issued his most passionate response to local and national criticism on Thursday.
Jeudy cleared the air, addressing his dust-up with NFL Network’s Steve Smith, his lack of production in the team’s 1-5 start and the swirling trade rumors around him as the Oct. 31 deadline approaches.
“I am a first-round pick, so people have high expectations of me, and I have expectations, too. I feel like I am doing what I can do and controlling what I can control. I feel like when you are not playing to the standard people are going to talk bad about you, especially when you are losing,” said Jeudy, the former Alabama star.
“So, when you are losing, they are definitely going to talk about bad about you. At the end of the day, I can just control what I can control and keep doing what I am doing. I know the type of player I am and what I bring to the table and what I can do. I respond to people that played the game and that know the situation and been here before.”
Jeudy finished last season strong over the final five games, catching 37 passes on 45 targets for 523 yards and three touchdowns. He profiled as a No. 1 receiver in coach Sean Payton’s offense, but injured his hamstring in preseason, missing the opener. He has failed to regain last year’s traction, posting 20 catches for 222 yards with no touchdowns in four games.
“It’s always frustrating when you are losing. Nobody wants to lose, you feel me? Losing is the worst possible thing that can happen. As a receiver, there’s a lot of people we have to depend on. You can be open, but the line don’t do their thing, the quarterback didn’t do their thing, the OC didn’t put you in, there’s a whole lot of stuff that we have to go through as a receiver to be successful,” Jeudy said. “At the end of the day, I have to do what I do. People can say look at the stats, look at this, look at that, but at the eye in the sky don’t lie. Go watch the film and see what it is.”
There are times Jeudy has been open and not received the ball, most notably on fourth-and-3 early in the game last week. And there are times he hasn’t come back to the ball or finished routes when he was not the primary target. I asked Payton earlier this week about Jeudy’s slow start.
“He’s frustrated, I’m sure. He’s a talented player. We need to continue to look for ways to get him throws — not only in the slot, but outside. The other stuff (social media spats and such), I don’t try to keep track of as long as it’s not a distraction to what we’re doing as a team,” Payton said. “That being said, he’s very competitive, he’s smart and he’s a playmaker for us. We have to continue to look for ways to put him in positions to make plays.”
Jeudy’s route running, and talent have never been questioned. But given the team’s desire to build up draft capital, Jeudy faces an uncertain future.
The Broncos listened to trade offers for him last October, and again this spring, but held firm on seeking a first-round pick. Would they move him this year for a second? What about third and a fifth? The Colts were said to have interest in a recent report, and teams that have had talks with the Broncos in the past, include the Packers and Cowboys.
Jeudy was asked, including by me, how he’s dealing with the speculation.
“I block all that out. I know how my coaches feel about me, how my teammates feel about me, all these dudes that have their opinions are outside. They have never been in the locker room, never seen me practice, never seen how this (bleep) operates. So, everybody that’s outside, I get annoyed with because they don’t know what’s really going on,” Jeudy said. “It don’t affect me at all because at the end of the day, I’m still going to be the player I am. I know what I can do, and I know what I’m capable of. So, trade me or not trade me, it don’t matter because at the end of the day I’m going to still be me.”
After the Bears win, Jeudy responded to criticism on X/Twitter from Broncos legend Rod Smith and former Pro Bowler Phil Lindsay. In pregame against the Chiefs, Jeudy got into it with Smith, a former Carolina Panthers star. Smith, now an analyst on NFL Network, admitted he has criticized Jeudy in the past, but wanted to talk to him. Jeudy was not interested in having a conversation. Smith reacted by blasting Jeudy, saying he was “just a guy,” and “an average receiver” that no team should want to acquire.
Jeudy sidestepped the issue after the game, but he addressed it directly on Thursday.
“I’m just going to go ahead and clear the air, and this is my last time talking about it. Basically, had he come to apologize to me I would have understood that. I don’t got no hate toward Steve Smith. He’s a good player and all the stuff like that. I just stand on what I stand on. You feel me? If you feel some type of way, keep that same energy when you see me in person. I don’t got nothing against him,” Jeudy said.
“One thing I do agree on is I feel like I should have listened to what he had to say. But at the same time, I’m going back to my roots and where I’m from. When somebody talks bad about you behind your back, don’t expect to come to them in person and think everything is going to be OK. If I would have known he would have come to apologize, it would have been a whole different story or reaction. I just stand on where I stand on. You feel some type of way, keep the same way when you see me in person. If I would have known you were going to apologize of course I would have reacted different, but at the same time, I know somebody talked bad about me, I told him what it is and moved on from there. He went and took it to the media stuff and made it bigger than what it needed to be.”