I never played organized football myself, so although I am a serious Broncos fan, I do not break down film or know what's going on beyond missed tackles, blown coverages or maybe bad defensive calls. It's obvious that this Broncos team cannot tackle and could not generate a pass rush - but I have some questions for the more astute members of MHR...
1. Whither Woodyard and Larsen? I can forgive the Broncos getting blown out in Carolina. The Panthers can run the ball on anyone. However, the breakdowns vs. Buffalo and San Diego seemed unforgivable to me. I'm not going to portend to know more than Shanahan and Slowik - so tell me, what could they possibly have seen from Nate Webster to start him ahead of both Spencer Larsen and Wesley Woodyard for the last couple of weeks? Webster seems to me a poor tackler, while the two youngsters are not. What am I missing here?
2. If no pass rush, then why not blitz? I understand that blitzing is quite risky, especially against a cool customer like Philip Rivers. However, if the front 4 are not generating any semblance of a pass rush, and you're giving up a touchdown on every drive anyway, why not send more rushers after the QB?
3. Is DJ Williams really that good? I understand he has a ton of speed and makes a lot of tackles, but does he have what it takes to build a defense around? You don't see him flying around making plays a la Julian Peterson, Brian Urlacher or Kirk Morrison, to name a few. I realize they play different positions in different schemes, and DJ is clearly not surrounded by much talent, but the only time I heard his name called was after his unnecessary roughness penalty (a horrendous play on his part). The one big thing I noticed about DJ was him jogging across the endzone on the Manumaleuna TD reception. In fact, DJ and another LB (maybe Winborn?) were sauntering across as Manumaleuna got open, and their big contribution was trying to tell the refs afterwards that he was out of bounds. Thanks, guys. I'm not expecting DJ to dominate the game at this point, but a big play or two every game would match his salary and reputation, no?
4. Do you keep Champ Bailey? I love Champ, he has been a joy to watch. And, I give him a pass for this year due to his injuries. However, that being said - it seems to me this team is two or more excellent drafts away from fielding a solid defense. By that time, Champ will be 32 or 33 years old. This is not a question about whether Champ is still Champ. My question is this...even if Champ returns somewhat close to form over the next couple seasons, is it worth carrying his giant salary while we try to stockpile defensive talent? I doubt he has much trade value at this point with his contract. My question is just whether it's worth paying Champ while we build a defense?
5. Who do you keep? We came into the season thinking we had 3 defensive stars in Champ, DJ and Dumervil. Today, how many would you say we have? Youngsters like Moss and Crowder had no impact this season, and the backfield aside from Bailey and Bly was a smattering of street free-agents. I don't think there are enough rounds in the draft to blow up the entire defense...it's just not mathematically possible. But considering age, talent and salary, who is really worth keeping? Obviously youngsters like Woodyard, Larsen and Barrett will make the list. But beyond them, whom?
I realize there will be plenty of posts on MHR over the next several months breaking down the Broncos and what they need. Perhaps there are already some in works from HT, Styg, Zappa and the rest of our respected MHR mates. However, I just wanted to get these questions out there because they've been on my mind for the last 13 hours or so and I want some answers!!! Thanks in advance for your responses...