DENVER — The Broncos adjusted their approach to roster overhaul this offseason, emphasizing talent and availability. They welcomed defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and comerback A.J. Bouye, who boast a combined six Pro Bowl berths and have only missed eight games combined over the last three seasons. Top free agent newcomers Bryce Callahan (foot) and Ja'Wuan James sat out 29 games a year ago.
Casey and Bouye should help, and come with limited risk because of the lack of guaranteed money moving forward. The biggest boost, however, could arrive internally from the return of a healthy Bradley Chubb. The outside linebacker tore the ACL in his left knee in Week 4 last season, the same injury he suffered in high school.
Chubb appeared to be gaining traction in Vic Fangio's new defense a year ago, posting a sack against Jacksonville and providing consistent pressure before he got hurt.
Appearing on the Broncos Instagram account Tuesday, Chubb answered questions from fans, including how his rehabilitation is going.
"My knee is doing great. I am in rehab every day. Me and one of the trainers are working out. It's just the two of us (at the facility, which is permissible for rehabbing players)," said Chubb, who delivered 12 sacks in his rookie season. "We are making sure we are doing the right things to stay clean and do the right things so there are no setbacks for the coming year."
Like the rest of us, Chubb continues to adjust to the new normal. He spends his time at home, eating pizza, sandwiches and playing video games, among them NBA2K and FIFA soccer. Being "bored" hasn't kept Chubb from looking ahead. He remains excited about the defensive makeover that centers around Casey and Bouye.
"It's been fun watching (the additions). I am excited to be part of it," Chubb said. "I can't say who's the best (addition between Casey and Bouye). They will both equally benefit from this defense. It's going to be a fun ride."
Much of the optimism about the Broncos — though not from the BetOnline oddsmakers who dropped Denver's over-under wins from 8 to 7.5 on Tuesday — centers on quarterback Drew Lock. He went 4-1 as a starter, staged an historic display at Houston, was sacked only five times and brings a contagious confidence. He will be joined by new right guard Graham Glasgow — "It's been crazy (offseason)," Dalton Risner told Denver7. "Excited to get back" — and two-time Pro Bowl running back Melvin Gordon, a piece Chubb called a "good get."
It is Lock, though, who moves the needle.
"Yes, Lock is ready to go off," Chubb said, when answering a question about the former Missouri star. "I am excited to see how he reacts to a new offensive coordinator and new system. A lot of guys have taken huge jumps (from first year to second year). I am looking forward to it."