Training Camp is just days away (can I get an Amen?), and as we head into the true beginning of the season, MHR is looking to you - the community - for your views on the various position groups.
Huge thanks to Sadaraine and InRodWeTrust for volunteering to answer some questions and provide invaluable insight. (And for the record, if any more of you would like to be featured to talk about the remaining groups - tight ends, wide receivers, quarterbacks, linebackers and special teams - let us know in the comments.)
To kick this off (pun intended), we'll start on the defensive side of the ball since that has been the area of the Broncos game we've all been wondering about in this long, but soon-to-end offseason!
Sadaraine starts us off with his traditional "no bull review" on this key group in a revamped defense.
Which Safety are you most excited to hear about during camp? Why this one more than the others?
T.J. Ward, hands down, and it isn't even close. I've been lamenting for years the lack of quality at safety on our beloved team. Ward is the first cat since Brian Dawkins that is going to bring some serious talent to our team. He's sharp, fast, hard-hitting, and reads plays very well. Guys like this in your secondary are a big part of creating turnovers. I really think he'll be much better than Dawk, though...Wolverine was at the tail end of his career when he joined us. Ward is in his prime.
Most are picking TJ Ward and Rahim Moore to be 1 and 2 and after that there is much discussion about the ranking of Duke Ihenacho, Quinton Carter, David Bruton and Omar Bolden. How do you see the top two and depth chart shaping up?
Rahim should lock up the Free Safety position. I'm looking for Quinton Carter to be the backup for both spots as long as that cat stays healthy. I hope Duke challenges him, but Nacho has a lot of stuff to get better at before he can be a serious contender as anything other than emergency depth.
Bruton and Bolden are both camp bodies from what I see. Our team is too talented to carry a special teams ace that doesn't lend anything to the game otherwise (Bruton) and Bolden has looked like a bust to me for a very long time.
For the record, the Broncos aren't done at Safety. There are too many question marks with this group outside of Ward.
What would you like to see from Ward and Moore in Training Camp as we head into the beginning of the season?
From Ward I want to see comfort. He is a seriously gifted player, and the big thing he needs is to know our systems, our coverage packages, and our calls. I saw enough of him from watching Cleveland last year to know I don't need to worry about anything else with him.
How big of a role do you think our safeties will play on our defense this year?
They are the deciding factor on whether our defense takes a step forward this year. We have a great pass rush up front as one factor, but the safeties are going to be where we either see turnovers or big failures.
Who is your "player to watch" among all the Safeties?
Quinton Carter is the guy who could make waves in this group. His rookie year he was playing very, very sound football. He looked better to me than Rahim ever has (Rahim plays too deep and soft) from a ceiling perspective. Quinton was not afraid to play on his men even a little bit. He makes good sound reads, and he catches the ball well.
Give us the "No Bull Review" take on our Safeties - what's your overall assessment of who we have and what we can do this year?
No Bull: this unit is the big question mark to me on our defense. I like our Corners a lot, our D-line is the best we've had in as long as I can remember seriously understanding what they do, and we have serious talent at Linebacker (not worried about MLB due to how rarely we have to use one).
The big problem I see is one of depth. Duke really went south once the rubber met the road last year. Rahim is an injury question mark as is Quinton. Bruton honestly sucks as a saftey (he can't swivel his hips and doesn't have the quickness needed to make up for that), and so does Bolden (because No Bull: that dude is a bust).