The Broncos’ preseason-opening 31-3 defeat of the Bears saw breakout performances from several young defenders.
With two first-half sacks, it was rookie Derek Wolfe who had an evening many fans are likely to remember. But Wolfe wasn’t the only young defensive lineman to make his presence felt as a pass rusher and contribute to the team’s total of six sacks.
With his team leading 24-0 in the fourth quarter, defensive end Jeremy Beal found his way to Chicago quarterback Matt Blanchard for a sack on third-and-9.
Minutes later, he made it two sacks in four offensive snaps when he brought down Blanchard again, this time with the Bears facing third-and-12 from their own 10-yard line.
“It was like a D-line effort,” Beal said of his two-sack night. “I wouldn’t say it was just me. It was a good start, but it needs to get better. I have a long ways to go.”
Denver selected Beal in the seventh round of the 2011 draft after he finished his college career ranked second in Oklahoma’s program history in sacks (29) and tackles for a loss (56.5). He spent last year on the Broncos practice squad, a place he doesn’t want to be when this year’s 53-man roster is finalized before the start of the regular season.
“Last year it didn’t go the way I wanted, but I just have to get better every day and watch the veterans, watch the great ones, and see what they do,” Beal said. “Every day, just try to get better. That’s the approach I took, and that’s the approach I’m taking right now, just trying to make the 53.”
While he’s unsure what the next few weeks will bring, Beal knows that his two-sack performance Thursday was the best evening of his young career.
“Definitely, yeah,” Beal said. “I haven’t had a lot, so therefore, yeah. It has to be the best.”
Tags: Training Camp 2012