Four seasons in, the good and bad of linebacker Bradley Chubb's career can be neatly halved.
The No. 5 overall pick came roaring out of the gates in 2018, compiling 12 sacks, two forced fumbles and 60 combined tackles -- all still career highs. 2020 was another stellar year that netted Chubb his lone Pro Bowl nod, but the LB missed huge swaths of 2019 and 2021 due to a torn ACL and an ankle injury, respectively. Chubb managed one sack in four starts in 2019. He went sack-less in seven contests after returning from surgery last year.
Speaking at his Chubb Foundation football camp Saturday, the pass rusher, who is fully healthy heading into 2022, appeared optimistic about adding another season to the good column.
"Yes, sir. I feel it for sure," Chubb said when asked if he felt he will bounce back, per Troy Renck of Denver7. "It was one of those things that you go through so much, you know what I mean? The dam has to break at some point. I feel like things have been building up and building up and it's finally time to let it all out."
It would behoove Chubb to unleash a bounce-back season going into a contract year, but the linebacker's eyes are also focused on the Broncos as a whole.
"We have a chance to be special with the guys we have coming back," Chubb said. "And the new guys we added."
One new guy who will work directly with Chubb is pass rusher Randy Gregory, who appeared ready to re-sign with the Dallas Cowboys in free agency before spurning his old club for a five-year, $70 million deal with Denver.
Just like Chubb, Gregory has flashed game-breaking dominance on the field despite trouble with availability. Gregory's prolonged absences, however, have been tied to multiple suspensions for violating the league's substance abuse policy rather than injury.
If both teammates can continue to put those speed bumps in the rearview, the Broncos' defense has the potential to keep stride with the offense, which will be led by the new guy, quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson is a Super Bowl champion and nine-time Pro Bowler. He brings tantalizing potential to a team that has been even just an average QB away from championship contention for over half a decade. Add the hiring of new head coach Nathaniel Hackett, and Chubb can foresee a rebound in 2022 far beyond the personal variety.
"Coach Hackett comes into the meetings with energy, with juice." Chubb said. "And with Russ -- the complete guy he is, the complete player he is -- you see it every day he comes into the building. He's a perfect example of what you should be doing. It's been fun to have those two guys come in and change everything and, hopefully, it finally gets us over the hump that we have been unable to get over the last few years."
If getting over that hump is to include the Broncos outlasting the AFC West gauntlet for their first postseason berth since 2015, Chubb will likely need to prove correct about returning to form.