On March 3rd, right before the leagues current Collective Bargaining Agreement was about to expire, the Broncos cut two of their starting defensive lineman from last season Jamal Williams and Justin Bannan.
Justin Bannan started all 16 games for the Broncos in 2010. His numbers are not anything too impressive, but generally stats never are for lineman in a 3-4 defense. #97 for the Broncos finished the year with 25 tackles, the third highest amount in his 9 year career thus far.
It is very important for the Broncos to make phone calls the minute free agency opens up. Fox said in press conferences following the draft that they would address the defensive tackle position in free agency. I would sure hope so considering the Broncos defensive tackle position looks like this right now:
- Kevin Vickerson
- Marcus Thomas
- Mitch Unrein
- Louis Leonard
With help from Brian Shrout's MHR Primer on defensive lineman, you can see here that Justin Bannan is lined up in front of the right tackle. This is the spot that Justin Bannan played most of the season for the Broncos as you will see in my video below.
In the above picture though, you can see that Bannan played a little off center in the five-tech spot. What does this mean? Well it could mean nothing, or it could be displaying his versatility that he is very capable of playing in a 4-3 which we are moving to. In a 4-3 the defensive lineman play a little off center which he would be required to do in a defensive tackle spot.
Bannan was not the problem with the Broncos defense last season. The injury to Robert Ayers and obviously Dumervil became the large problem in our 3-4. The depth at the nose tackle position was another problem. I think Justin Bannan has to return along with a different defensive tackle. Marcus Thomas is nothing more than a backup but Bannan has excelled before at the defensive tackle position. In his last year for the Ravens before he left, he had 30 tackles playing at both end and tackle positions. It's just a thought. I'm sure he played more end than tackle for the Ravens but we need someone in that position and at 305 pounds he could work, at least for this season.
The only reason that Bannan was cut was to prevent paying him a half million dollar roster bonus at the beginning of a new league year. We might not have a choice but to bring him back and see what he can do in a 4-3.
In my below video I noticed a few things. Bannan always hustles until the whistle blows. Against the Titans, Bannan was near every tackle against Chris Johnson. Also, Bannan would not get controlled very easy. Very rarely would he get pushed back. He has a quick step and pushes back the tackle a yard but than seemed to struggle having any moves to get to the quarterback. However, one of my favorite plays in the following highlights is when he blows by the center and gets to the quarterback. Hope that is what is what we can expect if we resign him.
Oh also! If you have anyone you want me to look at and from what game, let me know and I will see what I can do.