Jared Crick joined a stacked Denver Broncos roster in the spring, rejoining his former Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak. It was a move that did not grab headlines due to the team’s tumultuous offseason but it may be one of the biggest moves they made.
In his introductory press conference in April Crick stated simply, “Wherever my fit is on this team, I’m excited to be here.” Thursday night, Crick showed he may fit perfectly amongst his new teammates.
In limited playing time, Crick disrupted the Chicago Bears offensive line and looked in tune with the players beside him. He finished the game with just two tackles (one for a loss) but added a sack and two quarterback hits. His performance was brief but impressive.
“It was amazing,” Crick said Saturday when asked about hitting the field Thursday. “Getting to playing in a game at all in the NFL is a different world, it's awesome. But to get out here and finally play with these guys, game-wise, but to be out there on the field with them and watch them operate was really cool. I saw a lot of good things and I’m excited to keep going.”
Crick started 31-of-32 games the last two seasons in Houston after Kubiak drafted him in 2012 and Defensive Line Coach Bill Kollar coached him in Houston from 2012-13. He is no stranger to good defenses and great defensive players having played alongside J.J. Watt and a talented Texans group but something is different on the Broncos.
“I’ve been on some talented teams, but as far as depth, this is the deepest, by far, that I’ve been on.”
Crick is slated to split time with Vance Walker at the second defensive end slot while Derek Wolfe is ready to play nearly every down from his position. Walker missed practice again Saturday while he tries to recover from a back injury. Adam Gotsis, the Broncos 2016 second-round draft pick, will also be in the mix for playing time. Crick, an established NFL starter, looked the part Thursday but is not yet satisfied.
“No matter how good I do in the day or practice you have to go with the mentality that it is not good enough,” he declared Saturday. “I’ve been pretty good at doing that throughout my career. As long as I keep doing that, I’ll be alright.”
The Broncos have certainly embraced Crick as they try to replace Malik Jackson’s production from a season ago. Crick definitely fits the mentality he has come across in Denver.
“I’ve got great teammates. Both the guys on the defensive line and the offensive line, we’re not out here to crush each other's brains in, we’re out here to try to help each other get better. I think we’ve been doing that. There is no alternative to getting better. That is why this team has been so good for so long; it’s the atmosphere. Everybody on this team wants to get better every day.”
While most believe the loss of Jackson will negatively affect the defense’s impact, Crick, and his teammates, remain determined to dispel that notion. After a dominant performance Thursday, so far so good.