David Bruton, TE Killer?
What if the answer to the million dollar question of who can play matchup safety has been here all along. What happens when you take a player that might not be an every-down starting safety but has the speed and size to cover the large behemoths that roam the middle of the field? To me that sums up David Bruton. He was extended this past offseason to a three-year 4.5 million extension.
The deal wasn't big enough at the time to garner any sort of attention for an increased role, but it does make sense. Special Teams stalwart or not, Bruton has been a good backup safety during his tenure here in Denver. He has experience as a starter and both his measureables and recent improvement seem to indicate the Broncos might have another viable option not only as competition for the top spots, but competition for that all important TE Killer role.
In his OTA notes, Andrew Mason notes a couple of interesting things:
"David Bruton’s had a nice spring and is getting some snaps with the ones right now. He’s just earned it," Del Rio said. "He’s played so well and done so well in practice. He’s taken charge, he’s one of our better communicators and he’s been a good special teams player here."
But Bruton's play, which has been solid through OTAs, goes beyond the cerebral to his physical advantages. At 217 pounds, Bruton is the Broncos' heaviest safety. He's also arguably their fastest. Both came in handy when he swooped in to break up a potential Manning pass to tight end
Julius Thomas, who is 38 pounds heavier than Bruton.
Jack Del Rio seems to have high praise for the young safety. His size advantage right now makes him a better option over a guy like Kayvon Webster (remember that Bruton is also very long at 6' 2"). His speed is also better than anything Quentin Jammer has at this point in his career. One important thing to keep in mind is that when Bruton was drafted into the league, the TE position wasn't a big a threat in the league as it is now. I realize there were still players like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates (in his prime) but these guys were the exception, not the rule.
I've always been a David Bruton fan, and you've heard it here first--he is our TE killer.
Trindon Holliday, vertical threat?
Holliday will get every opportunity to be more than a returner. Given the game-day roster crunch -- just 46 active spots -- the Broncos need him to provide some potential offensive contributions. During OTAs, he's made some nice catches on offense, but his Thursday was punctuated by a drop of a potential touchdown pass from Osweiler, who found him deep down the sideline.
From the moment Trindon showed us how explosive he is in the open field, I wanted the Broncos to get him involved in the offense. They did at times last season out of the backfield, mostly with quick swing passes that were more or less an extension of the running game.
Do you remember the TD pass Manning threw to Knowshon Moreno in the playoffs? Knowshon was flexed out of the backfield wide as a receiver. Same concept here....only now we have 5 monsters for opposing secondaries to account for.
Think of it this way DT, Decker, Welker, Holliday, and a tight end OR DT, Decker, Welker, (one of Bubba Caldwell/King) and Holliday? The missmatches are limitless. I can guarantee with the other receiving threats on the field for the Broncos that Trindon Holliday would be an absolute nightmare to cover over the top. Who exactly would be assigned to him? A LB, S, 4th CB, 5th DB? Trindon could win a footrace with any of them.
Get a little deeper with it. Flex him out to DT's side--one of those two is going to get a one on one, perhaps even both. I expect the Broncos to work Trindon into the offense with more two-route combinations. This goes beyond screens or swing passes. If Trindon can perfect the go, slant, post and perhaps a couple of double moves, he will make some big receiving plays for Peyton Manning and our offense, guaranteed.
There are always intriguing battles and stellar play from places you wouldn't expect during practice. Out of all the players on the Broncos roster though, Bronco Mike will be keeping an eye on these two. They both have the potential to add a different dynamic to the defense and offense respectively. Bruton and Holliday will be more than special teams role players in 2013.