On paper our defense looks good, real good, matta fact, we look elite. All of our starters are B.W.A's (Ballers With Attitude), from the 1st level to the 3rd level. 1st level being the Dline, 2nd level being the LBer's and the 3rd level being the DB's. Now, as good as our starters look, the depth behind them is what will propel this defense to another level. Why? Well, because even though I'm optimistic for Von and Chris to come back full strength, They still have ? marks over their heads. Also, we have one Grueling schedule, especially with our bye being in week four. Plus, the depth will allow coach Del Rio to be even more creative and give him a healthy rotation of players throughout the season, meaning, keeping the starters fresh for the long haul.
As ecstatic as I am about what out starting defense will look like, I'm even more bonkers over what our backups will turn into. You see, every season teams across the league face two chess matches, one against their opponents and the other against Mr. Injury. The only way to beat Mr. injury is to have good depth behind the starters. What is are depth?? I'll put it up real quick, thanks to B Mike.
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As you can see there are some intriguing players behind the starters, I'll name a Few that I'm most excited about.
1. (DE) Quanterus Smith- This kid already has the athleticism to play his position, but the ability to learn from DeMarcus Ware is really invaluable to his growth as a pure NFL speed, power pass-rusher. According Andrew Mason he's coming along well post injury.. If he stays healthy and plays up to his potential, not only will he allow D. Ware to stay fresh, but he will also keep the pass-rush alive when D.ware is taking a breather. Plus, in the grand scheme of the way Elway is stacking this team, if Q pans out it will be a smooth transitions once D. Ware takes off the Orange & Navy. One can't have to many pass-rushers so hopefully Elway keeps stacking this position through the draft. Q is who I want leading the DE group post D. Ware.
2. (DE) Malik Jackson- It will be a battlefield competition between him an Derek Wolfe, but for right now I put him as depth behind Wolfe even though I think he can overtake Wolfe. Malik, is a powerful hybrid DE/DT an is coming off a very good year, which will only boost his confidence, and gives him a strong, sturdy foundation to build off of. IMO, he will only get better. He adds aggressiveness and toughness to this defense upfront, which is welcomed with open arms. He also is good at getting from point A to B, B being in the QB's face. Regardless of sacks or the amount of sacks, he will aid in keeping consistent pressure on opposing QB's, which will hopefully lead to picks and pick 6's.
3. (DT) Marvin Austin- This Young man has the ability to be a very good player, he has the God given gifts to play his position, but he can't seem to stay healthy. I like his potential and I like that we have him, because players for some reason come here and have good turn around seasons.. Plus we have Greek, who can hopefully help him put off the injury bug for this season at least. Even though, we all know that injuries are much apart of Football like a spoon is to eating soup, but hey, Id rather have him and he does a kind of Pot Roast turn around then not have him. He is another depth player that can help keep fresh legs up front an also make those key plays that get over looked at times.. Like In 2012 when Mitch Unrein applied pressure on the QB in the Buccaneer's game, which resulted in a pick 6 for Vonny, his first as a Bronco, all thanks to Mitch, well Von was in a good position to make a play also.
4. (LB) Lerentee McCray- If he can stay healthy, he will be an Impact player. He has the speed to attack off the edge, run down RB's and play in coverage. Of course he has some learning to do, but having Von Miller, D.Ware and Del Rio to learn from will only make him even better. He looked good last year in preseason games, made a hand full of play maker type plays, but his development and health is key if Von is not full go by the start of the season.. I cant wait to see him get some TFL's, sacks and maybe another blocked punt in preseason. Maybe during the season will use some 3-4 looks with McCray and Danny as the outside backers with Irvin and Borrow or Johnson as the middle backers and D.ware and Von as the DE's and Pot Roast as the NT. That would be nuts!! Stay healthy McCray!!!
5. (CB) I put Kayvon Webster and Bradley Roby together because I'm not bias to one or the other, I want both of them to be very good CB's. Now, if 30 is the new 20 then Nickel is the new Base D from how teams are playing defense now. So because of that, Kayvon and Bradley have a very good and healthy competition on their hands, which will help both of them achieve a higher level of play, and in return benefit the team greatly for the short term and long term. Also, depending upon how Chris Harris comes back they might both be on the field at the same time, one playing opposite Talib and the other playing the nickel. The battle of the Speedsters, both have high ceiling's IMO. If they catch fire like the hunger games then our depth will be very good at CB, especially if Talib goes down, hopefully he doesn't.
6. (S) Quinton Carter- This is my guy, the player who I believe can transform our back-end whether Starting or backing up. I'll be honest, I'm a little bias to him starting over Rahim, but after Rahim's recovery and the fact that T.J. Ward is apart of the O.D.D( Overdosing Denver Defense) Squad now, I can only Image Rahim's want to and competitiveness are at an all time high. I still love QC though, he brings a B.W.A( Baller with Attitude) mindset, plus he so instinctive and that's the part of Football players that can't be taught, you either have it or you don't. His instincts are what I think set him apart from Moore and can maybe thrust him into to a starting role mid season or maybe even earlier once he has real game time reps. Del Rio said it best pertaining to QC. "Quinton, having him back in the rotation, letting him get snaps and watching the way he is – instinctive and makes plays, plays with confidence – it’ll be a great addition to have him back at full strength." I LOVE It and cant wait to see him in preseason an the regular season. QC is a Play-Maker.
7. (S) John Boyett- I'll just say that he can ball and from what I've seen from cut ups of his college games is that he loves to lay the wood and is also instinctive. He just can't seem to shake the injury bug either though, hopefully this year will be different for him. He reminds me of Jim Lernord a bit, but Boyett just hits like a mack truck though. The Dark horse of the safety Group is J.B.
The depth of this defense and the talent that some of these back-ups have is what will keep us when Old man Injury comes a knocking, knock on wood or just to keep players fresh for our Post season run. Either way, our Defensive depth is what will put our Defense over the top IMHO. Coach Del Rio knows with getting healthy starters and back ups back, there's plenty of Creativity to get the depth players a piece of the Play-making Pie, an it will taste so good. This season will be exciting, and if this defense can be Elite like they are on paper, then Whoa Momma!!Bye the way, we have just as big of a target on our backs as the 2014 Super Bowl Champs. Why?? Because we are the Broncos!, an our defense looks Scary Good, plus teams want to use the Blueprint of what the Seahawks did to us and try and emulate it.. NOT gonna Happen!!! Also because we were in the SB as well, and regardless of what happened teams know were are an elite one.
The season can't get here soon enough, but I'm enjoying the journey. A Swarming defense it what I want us to be, more defensive players around the ball than Offensive players. Something like the picture below. Adam Gase said it best about the defense.."It’s tough right now, especially with the corners we have and the way they’re playing and the safeties, how fast they're closing," Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase said Wednesday. "There are not big windows right now."
Im drinking plenty of Orange Kool-aid with a hint of lemon just to keep my hope's for this team real...
Happy Fathers day to all the fathers, and Stay Classy Bronco Country...