For Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, 2021 was a season that forced him to adapt to circumstances beyond his control. As he continues to grow entering his third season, Jeudy’s presence on the field will command a lot of attention this year.
How will the young receiver apply the lessons from last season to set himself up for a dominant year?
A look back at Jerry Jeudy in 2021
At the start of the 2021 season, expectations for Jeudy were high coming into his second year in the NFL.
Riding the momentum of a dominant statistical performance in the final game of his rookie season, Jeudy got off to a hot start during Week 1 against the New York Giants.
Through nearly three quarters of play, Jeudy produced 6 catches on 7 targets for 72 total yards before suffering a severely sprained ankle that would hold him out of action for seven weeks.
Jeudy would return in Week 8 against the Washington Commanders, hauling in all 4 targets for 39 yards as the Broncos held on for the win.
In Week 9, Jeudy would help the Broncos shock the Dallas Cowboys by seeing an increase in targets. Jeudy secured 6 catches for 69 yards in Denver’s 30-16 win.
Against the Cowboys specifically, Jeudy demonstrated tremendous yard after the catch ability. For Jeudy, 57 of his 69 total yards came after the catch, beating coverage both underneath and over the top.
Where the Broncos failed to utilize Jeudy last season
The Broncos’ offense finally had a blueprint on how to maximize Jeudy’s route-running ability within their offense, but former Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur insufficiently utilizing him effectively afterward.
Shurmur began to utilize Jeudy as a jet motion decoy for the Broncos offense, failing to get the ball in one of their best playmaker’s hands. Unfortunately, the Broncos offense couldn’t employ Jeudy’s strengths under Shurmur’s playcalling, resulting in zero total touchdowns in 2021.
Going into this season, Broncos fans should find hope that new head coach Nathaniel Hackett will find a way to involve Jeudy as a premier part of their offense.
How Jerry Jeudy can positively impact the Broncos offense outside of statistics
As the Broncos offense embraces the insertion of Russell Wilson under center, players like Jeudy and other receivers like Tim Patrick, Courtland Sutton, and KJ Hamler will help maximize one another.
One of the best areas of Jeudy’s game comes from his ability to create separation as a route runner.
It almost seems unfair at this point to ask anyone to guard Jerry Jeudy one on one. Would love to see him versus Patrick Peterson.pic.twitter.com/W9jUkXUUK0
— Cody Roark (@CodyRoarkNFL) August 11, 2021
In 11-personnel, it’s expected that Sutton, Jeudy, Patrick, and various others will play both outside and in the slot at times.
Depending on how defenses attempt to play the Broncos’ offensive weapons, Jeudy could command a lot of attention across the middle of the field.
In situations where opposing defenses allocate resources to attempt to limit Jeudy, it opens up more opportunities for 1 on 1 matchups for Sutton, Patrick, Hamler, or even new Broncos rookie tight end Greg Dulcich.
When other players begin to generate production and attention, that is where we could see Jeudy’s on-field production increase inside the offense. Inside Hackett’s offense, Jeudy will be relied upon to come up big in key situations like third down and inside of the red zone.
With a new quarterback and offensive-minded head coach, Jeudy is in line to have his most productive season as a professional in 2022.