How Bradley Chubb helped Baron Browning prepare for his breakout moment

Henry Chisholm Avatar
October 16, 2022

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Last season, when Dre’Mont Jones made a trip over to hang out at Bradley Chubb’s house, he brought a guest with him: Baron Browning.

Browning and Chubb hit it off quickly.

“He was really the first guy to take me under his wing when I got here,” Browning said of Chubb.

As a rookie, Browning played inside linebacker almost exclusively. When Josey Jewell went down with an injury, Browning took over as a starter for the second half of the season.

This year, Browning moved to outside linebacker and his chemistry with Chubb made the transition easy.

“We already had that big brother-little brother relationship,” Browning said.

The chemistry was on display last Thursday when the Broncos held the Colts to nine points in regulation and a dozen points in the game. Randy Gregory sat out for his first game on injured reserve, leaving Browning to carry a heavier load. Browning finished the game with 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and six quarterback hits, the most of any NFL player in a game this season. His pressure rate and pass rush win rate were the best that Pro Football Focus had ever recorded.

Early in the game, Chubb and Browning lined up on the same side of the formation. Chubb started inside Browning but quickly cut outward, taking out the guard and tackle on that side of the field. Browning twisted around him and through the hole Chubb created for an incompletion-causing pressure.

“We saw that (the twist) worked out in the first quarter,” Chubb said. “We didn’t get the sack but I think he got the hit. We were like ‘Yeah, let’s keep doing this.'”

And they did.

The twist worked virtually every time they tried it.

And the twist wasn’t the only thing that worked, either. Chubb, who had 2.5 sacks in the game, and Browning were in the backfield at will. Browning showed off a sharp spin move but his speed rush stole the show.

“He’s a freak of nature,” Chubb said.

That sounds like hyperbole, but Chubb isn’t exaggerating much.

At nearly 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, Browning put up 23 bench press reps, a 40-inch vertical and a 4.56 40-yard das at the NFL Combine. Those numbers, plus a few more, are combined to create a Relative Athletic Score. He scored a 9.98 out of 10, which is the fifth-best of any of the 2,137 linebackers who have participated in the combine since 1987.

“Like I said, he’s a freak of nature,” Chubb said. “A lot of things he does you just can’t really duplicate. That’s why he’s so successful.”

Turning athletic tools into a successful pass rush doesn’t happen over night though. Much of Browning’s offseason was spent developing his moves on the edge. Some of that work came at Von Miller’s annual pass rush summit, where he learned from Justin Houston, Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby in particular.

“I was just able to pick their brains and walk through stuff,” Browning said.

Browning is still in touch with free agent Dee Ford occasionally but for the most part sharing tricks of the trade with other rushers around the league is saved for the offseason.

That’s where Chubb can step in.

“We do a pretty good job of communicating,” Browning said. “When we watch film, what he’s seen and stuff like that—what he think might work best against the opponent.”

Browning’s on-field work with Chubb began this offseason when he took a trip to Atlanta, where Chubb is from, to start studying up.

“He’s been a big help to me this year,” Browning reiterated.

Maybe the moster performance against the Colts from the Broncos’ pass rush duo was a fluke but it looks like the Broncos may have stumbled across a winning combination.

“It’s definitely been a lot of fun,” Browning said. “I’m just out there playing football, like when you’re a kid and you’re in your neighborhood.”

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