Title: Denver Broncos Release Randy Gregory Amidst Defensive Struggles
The Denver Broncos have made the decision to release outside linebacker Randy Gregory, ending their hopes of him becoming an elite pass-rusher. The team’s management, including Coach Sean Payton, General Manager George Paton, and owner/CEO Greg Penner, discussed Gregory’s contract, playing time, and mindset before reaching this conclusion. Gregory, who signed a five-year, $70 million contract in 2022, had requested his release earlier in the week. This move comes as the Broncos’ defense continues to struggle, ranking last or near last in several major statistical categories.
Broncos’ Defensive Woes
The Broncos’ defense has been underperforming this season, ranking last or near last in scoring defense, total defense, and run defense. Additionally, the team’s pass rush win rate is the lowest in the league at 30.5%. These disappointing numbers prompted the coaching staff to make changes to the starting lineup, including replacing Gregory with second-year outside linebacker Nik Bonitto.
Nik Bonitto’s Rise
Nik Bonitto stepped in for Gregory during the recent game against the Chicago Bears and made an immediate impact. He recorded 2.5 sacks and forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Jonathon Cooper. Bonitto’s performance showcased his potential and convinced the coaching staff that he deserved more playing time. Coach Payton praised Bonitto’s improvement and noted that the edges of the defense were much stronger with him on the field.
Injuries and Depth Concerns
The Broncos have faced challenges due to injuries and lack of depth at the outside linebacker position. Frank Clark has only played in one game this season due to a hip injury, while Baron Browning remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list after knee surgery. The team is hopeful that both players will return in the coming weeks. Undrafted rookie Thomas Incoom has also seen limited action on defense.
Gregory’s Struggles and Past Issues
Randy Gregory’s performance this season has been underwhelming, with just nine tackles and one sack in four games. This is a significant setback for the Broncos, who had high hopes for him as a replacement for the likes of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Gregory’s career has been plagued by injuries and suspensions, including 54 games missed due to violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. He has never played a full season and has never recorded more than six sacks in a single season.
The Denver Broncos’ decision to release Randy Gregory reflects their disappointment with his performance and their desire to make changes to improve their struggling defense. The emergence of Nik Bonitto has provided a glimmer of hope for the team, but injuries and lack of depth remain concerns. As the Broncos continue to navigate these challenges, they will look to regroup and find ways to strengthen their defense moving forward.
Heading: Broncos’ Defensive Struggles Continue
Heading: Nik Bonitto Shines as Gregory’s Replacement
Heading: Injuries and Depth Concerns Hamper Broncos
Heading: Randy Gregory’s Disappointing Performance
Heading: The Future of the Broncos’ Defense