Mid-season benching irked Woodyard

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This was always a puzzling move and one that was hard for Broncos Country to figure out last season.

The speculation went on and on, and for most of us the explanation that Wesley Woodyard was benched due to declining play stemming from a stinger suffered earlier in the season seemed to suffice. Months later the picture comes into focus a bit as Wesley Woodyard provided an interview that can be seen on the Denver Post website.

"It definitely rubbed me the wrong way...when they came to me-they came to me like you know we want you to get some rest for the playoffs so I was like "ok cool"...you know I can take this rest...and when I came back it wasn't the same way."

"I went to talk to him ask him what it was and he said our defense is in a great place right now...when your defensive coordinator feels that way about you there's nothing you could say.

There were so many injuries to the defense this past season, but this decision IMO helped cost us the home game against the Chargers late in the season. The defense played terribly. This was the week two defensive starters were benched, and though the play of Duke Ihenacho certainly doomed his fate, Woodyard had not been much of an eye-sore in previous weeks.

More troubling is that Del Rio and company stuck with Lenon even after Woodyard came back to the lineup. If Jack Del Rio thought the relative diminutive play for the MLB position was to blame for the defensive woes, he has less of a handle on the pulse than you and I realize.

The Broncos got some health back in the secondary, they went on to finish with some stout defensive performances, taking both San Diego and New England into the 4th quarter of games having only allowed a field goal each time. They also became the first Super Bowl team in NFL history that did not force a turnover in the playoffs (they didn't force one in Super Bowl either).

Most were willing to dismiss the Broncos defensive issues last season because of the injuries but count me as one who is still wholly skeptical of Jack Del Rio's methods. While the front 7 has improved exponentially the two biggest issues surrounding the defense were the misuse of coverage schemes and the lack of turnovers. Until this defense improves on the back end and starts to focus on forcing turnovers, the "D" in Denver will be a detriment to the team.


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