ENGLEWOOD, CO — The Denver Broncos are moving forward with Nik Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper as their two starting outside linebackers. How is Bonitto embracing his new opportunity in his second season?

Denver Broncos OLB Nik Bonitto eager to make most of his chance as a starter

Sean Payton shook up the Denver Broncos starting lineup on defense last week against the Chicago Bears, deciding to start second-year pass rusher Nik Bonitto at outside linebacker.

Bonitto took the chance and ran with it, turning in a big game with 2.5 sacks, four tackles, and a winning catalyst strip sack that Jonathon Cooper returned for a touchdown to tie the game at 28 apiece last week.

After the Broncos decided to move on from veteran Randy Gregory, Bonitto is in the driver’s seat with his new opportunity to start.

“Just continuing to hone in on the little details,” Bonitto said on Wednesday. “Continuing to play fast, play hard, and things of that nature. Don’t just have one good week and then be ok; just continue to build on it.”

After being drafted late in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Bonitto experienced some highs and lows during his rookie season last year and saw limited action behind Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory.

Bonitto’s rise in his second season has been impressive

However, Bonitto has showcased an entirely different body of work dating back to organized team activities and consistently put forth big day after big day during training camp. He’s easily one of the most improved players on the roster, and his play has made the jump.

During the off-season, the Broncos brought in pass rush specialist Jamar Cain, who worked with Bonitto when he was at Oklahoma. Bringing in a familiar face who knows what Bonitto excels at has helped give the Broncos second-year pass rusher the confidence needed to now step into a starting job.

Bonitto spent quite a bit of time with Gregory, who is now no longer part of the team, and shared his thoughts on what Gregory meant to him inside the locker room.

“I was sad,” Bonitto said. “Just knowing the type of guy [Gregory] was. He’s always been the guy where he’s been helping me and [OLB Jonathon] Cooper out and the young guys. Just making sure that whenever a time comes like this we’ll be ready to come into that plan and be ready. He’s going to be missed a lot; he was a really good veteran presence for me.”

Bonitto is in the driver’s seat as a starter and still has a veteran presence like Frank Clark to lean on as the Broncos hope to steer the season around in their favor.

Broncos complete second day of practice ahead of New York Jets matchup

Thursday’s practice at the Centura Health Training Center saw the Broncos continue with their game prep for Sunday’s showdown with the New York Jets. While there was previously a lot of hype surrounding this game in the offseason, a lot of that has died due to both team’s starts to the season, sitting at 1-3 each.

Denver Broncos Injury Report: Javonte Williams back at practice

For the second consecutive day, the Broncos saw the following players back on the practice field on Thursday.

Free safety Justin Simmons, outside linebackers Frank Clark and Baron Browning, inside linebacker Josey Jewell, safety P.J. Locke, and defensive tackle Mike Purcell were spotted on the field during the media viewing portion.

After being spotted on the side field on Wednesday, running back Javonte Williams was back in a helmet and jersey for Thursday’s practice.

The team announced their official injury report and status update following practice.


  • Justin Simmons – hip.
  • Frank Clark – hip.
  • Javonte Williams – quad.
  • Mike Purcell – ribs.
  • Baron Browning – knee.
  • Lloyd Cushenberry – quad.


  • Josey Jewell – hip.
  • Jerry Jeudy – knee.

It looks like Jewell will make his return on Sunday against the New York Jets. Jeudy, despite being limited the past three weeks, has played in every game this season.

Friday’s practice will help determine further projections as to who will play, who might sit out, and who will be questionable ahead of Sunday’s 2:25 p.m. MT kickoff.