Denver Broncos LB Jonas Griffith aims to start work
When Denver Broncos general manager George Paton selected Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II in the 2021 draft, it set off a chain reaction. Surtain certainly has vast potential that continues to make Paton look great to stick to his original dash in the face of quarterback pressure.
That being said, the Broncos Country ranks certainly haven’t forgotten that highly touted linebacker Micah Parsons remained available when the Broncos picked Surtain at No. 9 overall. Somewhat daringly, and perhaps even more confusingly, the Broncos decided to ignore the obvious needs that still existed at the linebacker.
Predictably, it was written in the stars that Jerry Jones would take his now usual gamble on a player with character issues. The risk and reward has worked out pretty dramatically for the Dallas Cowboys so far, especially with Defensive Rookie of the Year honors going Parson’s way.
Paton’s continued search for answers led him to rid the Philadelphia Eagles of free agent linebacker Alex Singleton. Ultimately, the decision to retain the services of Josey Jewell, who missed most injuries last season, was the very definition of a no-brainer for the front office.
As things stand, Singleton has a tentative grip on the job to partner with Jewell, but that is in serious jeopardy from third-year prospect Jonas Griffith.
Towards the end of the 2021 season, Griffith saw some action and made a real impression. Add to the very fact that Paton pulled off a trade to acquire the previously undrafted free agent from the San Francisco 49ers, shows how highly he values the 25-year-old. No one in Denver has told Griffith he’s in yet.
“Every day is a competition,” Griffith said Friday. “I don’t think I have anything solidified. Every day is an opportunity for me to show this coaching staff what I can do and improve every day.”
Griffith was originally meant to be just a special teams player, but as he explained Friday, the Indiana State product is targeting a starting role in Ejiro Evero’s new defense.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best version of myself,” Griffith said. “The preparation that I have – I am preparing to be a [No.] 1 [inside linebacker]and I expect to do so.
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Working alongside Jewell means Griffith must double down on learning from the established starter and take a studious approach to the game. The improvements he made in the offseason are setting in motion a certain self-recognition, derived from the precious game movie he put together last year.
“I had a lot of improvements that I noticed after watching my movie last year,” Griffith admitted on Friday. “Just recognizing the offensive lineup and stuff like that and just knowing what they’re going to do before it happens. Talking to guys like Josey and stuff like that has helped me.
Building on last season’s strong finish, Griffith feels optimistic about working his way into the starting lineup. Learning on the job is crucial for a linebacker to get a feel for the lines of communication, all of which are fundamental to being effective when playing inside.
For Griffith, it’s now about gaining confidence, knowing he can play the job and proving it to himself in the future.
“You kind of have the illusion of saying ‘I can do it’. But when you actually do it, it’s a little bit different,” Griffith revealed. “But I would say it was a big thing for me , go out there and do it and prove to myself that I could do it. I feel like that was huge for me and a big confidence booster heading into the offseason.
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