ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Bradley Chubb has made up for a slow September start in a big way.
The Denver Broncos’ rookie edge rusher was honored as the NFL’s top rookie defender for the month of October after collecting 16 tackles, 12 of them solo, 5½ sacks, five tackles for loss, 13 pressures, eight QB hits, a forced fumble and a pass breakup in five games last month.
He joined Von Miller (November 2011) and linebacker D.J. Williams (December 2004) as the only Broncos to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month award.
“I’m nowhere near where I want to be,” Chubb said Thursday. “I’m happy for the achievement, but … I want to be 8-0 right now with multiple rookie of the months. This is my first one, so I’m still hungry to get more and for this team to get more wins.”
The Broncos (3-5) host the Houston Texans (5-3) on Sunday.
Chubb said it took him a few games to get used to being chipped by tight ends and running backs.
“It’s different because in college it’s pretty much 1-on-1 the whole time,” Chubb said. “I feel like I’m more comfortable now.”
And making quarterbacks uncomfortable.
Chubb is only the seventh rookie since 1982 to record at least 5½ sacks over a three-game span and the first since Aldon Smith of the 49ers did it in 2011.
Miller said he figured his pass rushing partner would quickly hit his stride after his September struggles, especially in covering tight ends for the first time in his life.
Miller compared Chubb to a prodigy.
“When you talk to him, you’re not really talking to a rookie. He understands the language,” Miller said. “He may not be able to talk back and speak to you in the same language, but he definitely understands it and he’s a quick learner, fast learner, mature beyond his age.
“I’m extremely excited about where he’s at with his career and the hot start that he’s had,” Miller added. “For him to get Defensive Rookie of the Month is huge. Not too many rookies out there are playing like him. He’s got two more months and Defensive Rookie of the Year is in the bag for him.”
Miller won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2011.
Chubb has seven sacks at the midway point of the season, putting him on pace to challenge for the rookie sacks record of 14½ set by Tennessee’s Jevon Kearse in 1999.
Miller said one of the first things he advised Chubb to do after the Broncos selected him with the fifth overall pick of this year’s draft was to write out his goals.
Among the goals Chubb scribbled down were “sack record, win Defensive Rookie of the Year,” Miller said. “He even had goals five years down the road. A guy with that type of mentality and that work ethic, he’ll definitely get all of the goals that he wrote on his paper.”
It’s become a race between Chubb and Miller, who has eight sacks, to get to the quarterback, like last week when they sandwiched Patrick Mahomes.
“I feel like every pass play we have an internal race to the quarterback,” Chubb said. “We might not say it out loud, but we want to get there first.”
Notes: RB Royce Freeman (ankle) returned to practice but didn’t participate in any team drills Thursday. … S Su’a Cravens could be activated off IR Friday. “He’s a guy who can play a (dime) linebacker position and also cover a tight end,” coach Vance Joseph said. “I think his skill set and his body type will help us play better defense.” … Joseph said Jared Veldheer (knee) will replace sub Billy Turner at right tackle Sunday. The Broncos are also considering having one of them move to the left side occasionally to give LT Garett Bolles a break. Bolles has been whistled 17 times for holding in his first 1½ seasons after leading the NCAA in holding calls his one year at Utah. … With ILB Brandon Marshall still nursing a sore knee, the Broncos are preparing Alexander Johnson to make his NFL debut this weekend.
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
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