This series has covered the Broncos 2011 Comeback, Overachiever and the Most Inspirational Players of the Year. This time, we're looking for the Most Improved Bronco in 2011. You might have noticed that there hasn't been any duplicate names. It was my intent to show appreciation to as many players as possible. After all, it took a team effort to go from a 1-4 beginning to a 9-9 finish. Add in the bonus of a playoff appearance after missing the postseason for what seems like an eternity, shows promise for the immediate future of this team. Granted, there is a ways to go, but there were more than a few surprises this year. Perhaps the 3 players below qualify in that regard for you too.
The first nominee for MHR's Most Improved Player of the Year is Linebacker Joe Mays. In 2011, Mays won the starting MLB spot pretty much at the beginning of Training Camp. The Broncos drafted Von Miller for the Strong Side and already had a good Weak Side LB in D.J. Williams. Coming out of a lengthy Lockout and no offseason practice time as a team, Denver chose the experienced Mays over faster Wesley Woodyard to begin the season at the MIKE. Joe had played in 12 games (5 starts) during the 2010 season and made 31 Tackles and had one Pass Break Up. This year, Mays made 83 Tackles and broke up 3 passes appearing in all 18 games with 13 starts. For a guy who left the field when the Nickel package was used, those are pretty good numbers.