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Players Not Shedding Tears Over Bates' Departure

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After word hit that Jim Bates would not be returning to the Broncos after only one season, my thoughts immediately turned to what the players would say about the change.  Football players, like the rest of us, crave stability, knowing where one stands, and with the Broncos facing their 3rd defensive coordinator in 3 seasons there had to be some nervous moments.

Perhaps that is one reason the Broncos decided immediately that the position would be filled in-house by Bob Slowik, who already had the title of Defensive Coordinator, though his focus was primarily on the defensive backs.

That move to relieve Bates of his duties, coupled with the promotion of Slowik, seems to be a positive among the Broncos in the locker room --

Domonique Foxworth --

"First, I am disappointed it didn't work out here for Coach Bates, but I think it was needed. We had so much change on the defensive line that it made it difficult for the entire defense. We just never had a system we could sink our teeth into."

Dre Bly --

"As a secondary, we didn't deal much with Coach Bates, our meetings were always run by Coach Slo. Bates stayed with the defensive linemen and linebackers. We wish Coach Bates well, but Slo is a good coach."

"The one thing as defensive backs coach 'Slo' did was listen to his players, because if the players aren't comfortable with the defense or are having some problems or don't necessarily fit into some of the things you're doing on defense, you have to listen to your players.

"And I know 'Slo' - if it was something as a defensive secondary we didn't feel comfortable doing, he'd tweak some things that allowed us to be comfortable. I really think 'Slo' will do a good job because he's definitely a guy that will coach you up."

Alvin McKinley --

"I had no problem with Coach Bates, but if there's something good that came out of this, it's that they're not bringing in a new coordinator who would then have to bring in six of his own assistant coaches."

Champ Bailey went so far as to say that Slowik is "the best coach I have ever had".  High praise from your defensive superstar, one that is sure to get the attention of the guy calling the shots.

So what do we make of Slowik?  Styg did a great job posting Slowik's bio from Denver Broncos.com.  He has alot of experience, that's for sure, and most importantly he seems to have the respect of the players.

There will be alot of talk about the "system" Slowik runs.  You can rest assured the defense will be alot more aggressive in '08.  In his last season as a coordinator - 2004 in Green Bay - Slowik rushed at least five players on 40 percent of pass plays early in that season, and by season's end, had rushed at least five on 29 percent of pass plays overall.

He rushed at least six on a little more than 10 percent of pass plays overall that year as well.

That's a big change from Bates, who rarely brings extra pressure.  

My take?  I want the system that puts an emphasis on tackling.  That tries to get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  The system that plays to the strengths of our defense - our corners - and allows them to be aggressive.  A system that looks at the roster and picks the best 11 guys and utilizes them to the best of their abilities, not tries to "shoehorn" them into a particular style.  A system that wins football games, regardless of how or why.  That is the system I want.