2013 Denver Broncos: Defense - Projected 25

Doug Pensinger

Von Miller will be gone for a while. I have a hunch we might see Champ Bailey out of action for a few games to begin the season as well. What does that do to our defense and what can we expect to see?

Projected 25

Here's how I think things will pan out with the defense when it comes to the final 53-man roster:

POS

Starter

2nd

3rd

Total

RDE

91

R. Ayers

90

S. Phillips

69

Q. Smith

---

DT

99

K. Vickerson

92

S. Williams

96

M. Unrein

---

DT

94

T. Knighton

92

S. Williams

96

M. Unrein

4

LDE

95

D. Wolfe

97

M. Jackson

---

5

SLB

56

N. Irving

47

L. McCray

---

---

MLB

52

W. Woodyard

55

S. Bradley

---

---

WLB

59

D. Trevathan

43

P. Lenon OR

53 Steven Johnson

---

6

CB 1

24

C. Bailey

32

T. Carter

31

O. Bolden

---

CB 2

45

DRC

25

C. Harris

36

K. Webster

---

CB 3

25

C. Harris

---

---

6

S

26

R. Moore

30

D. Bruton

---

---

S

33

D. Ihenacho

20

Mike Adams

---

4

Here's the Breakdown:

Four (4) Defensive Tackles: Knighton, Vickerson, Williams, Unrein

Five (5) Defense Ends: Wolfe, Jackson, Ayers, Phillips, Smith

*Six (6) Linebackers: Woodyard, Trevathan, Irving, Bradley, McCray, Either Johnson OR Lenon

Six (6) Cornerbacks: Champ, DRC, Harris, T. Carter, Bolden, Webster

Four (4) Safeties: Moore, Ihenacho, Bruton, Adams

*Von Miller will be on the Reserve/Suspended List which does not count against the final 53 man roster

Tough (or not-so tough) Cuts

Quentin Jammer has never looked comfortable in his transition to safety. He's played terribly all preseason and should be cut. Quinton Carter. This guy has been a ghost. I can understand when people say "he won't be cut" but who exactly gets the axe over him? Mike Adams may not be spectacular but he's also the only vet really in that safety group. I'd rather have a guy like him than the unknown of Carter and his injuries. If you keep 5 safeties, who do you cut from the corners? Webster and Bolden stick. Do you cut Tony Carter? Remember he may very well be a week 1 starter with Champ Bailey still in a walking boot:

If Champ is healthy enough to play, you might make a case for keeping Q ahead of Tony, but I just don't see enough there especially with the emergence of Duke Ihenacho. Anyway, feel free to debate this point amongst yourselves.

Other thoughts

Shaun Phillips can be played at LB, though I list him as a DE because that is where he's played all preseason. With Von gone and Doom in Baltimore, it might not be a bad idea to keep 5 here especially since the three from that right side will give you most of your rush capabilities.

Potential Starting Line-Up against Baltimore:

Base Defense (3 linebackers)

RDE Robert Ayers, DT Kevin Vickerson, DT Sylvester Williams, LDE Derek Wolfe

WLB Danny Trevathan, MLB Wesley Woodyard, SLB Nate Irving

CB1 Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie, CB2 Chris Harris Jr.

S1 Rahim Moore, S2 Duke Ihenacho

Nickel Package

RDE Shaun Phillips, DT Sylvester Williams/Derek Wolfe, DT Robert Ayers, LDE Quanterus Smith?

LB1 Wesley Woodyard, LB2 Danny Trevathan

CB1 DRC, CB2 T. Carter, CB3 Chris Harris Jr.

S1 Rahim Moore, S2 Duke Ihenacho

The Million Dollar Question ???

Who replaces Von Miller as the other rush end in nickel situations? I put the rookie here, but could be any number of folks including someone like Larentee McCray who I think makes the roster now because of the Miller suspension. Hell, why not try Nate Irving some in these situations? We will probably know more come preseason game 3, but until then your guess is as good as mine.

One positive I see is that with the versatility in the front 7, I see a scenario where we just have to shuffle folks to change from a base 4-3 look to one of our sub packages--little or no substitutions.

Something else to consider, me might see even more of that 3-LB base defense given that we now have two of our best cover LB's on the field at the same time in that package with Trevathan and Woodyard. That base doesn't have to necessarily be vulnerable against the pass.

What do you think MHR?

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