If you're not ready to believe the Broncos defense is indeed going to be more aggressive this season, then you just need to sit down with Danny Trevathan for 30 seconds.
Maybe only 15.
Just minutes into an exclusive interview with Mile High Report, Trevathan can't hold back his excitement for getting back on the field - and doing so in a big way.
Opposing offenses, consider yourselves on notice.
"Man, I am READY!" said the 6-foot-1, 240-pound inside linebacker who was sidelined most of last season with injuries. "I'm going to play with emotion, I'm going to play smart, I'm going full speed. Everyone is going to have to bring their best game."
And if Trevathan's production from 2013 is any indication, that best game is going to have to be damn good.
The Ohio native led the Broncos in tackles with 124 solo takedowns. The next best tackler that year was Duke Ihenacho at 77. Trevathan also had two sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 10 passes knocked down.
So the guy is understandably pumped to be on the field again. And he's promising fans this year will be different.
"We're not going to sit back on our heels and wait for the line this year. We are going to bring all the 230 and 240 guys we've got," Trevathan said. "We're going to be fast and physical, a lot more aggressive. We're going to give fans what they want this year."
But the promise of a truly aggressive defense is not just to put on a show for the fans. It's to win games. And with confirmation of a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Wade Phillips, Trevathan is all in.
"The 3-4 defense is putting us in the best possible position to make plays," said the fourth-year player. "Making plays is what linebackers are designed to do. We are like the quarterbacks of the defense, and I'm just itching to get out there."
As an inside linebacker in the 3-4, Trevathan could be blitzing, spying the quarterback, covering receivers...he doesn't care, as long as the opportunities to stop the play are bountiful.
"I've got a lot of attitude," Trevathan admitted. "Off the field, I have a good heart, but on the field, I just want to put the hammer down on someone."
And despite his relatively small stature for a linebacker, Trevathan maintains he's got all he needs - "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog," he adds.
So fellow Broncos, you're also on notice.
If No. 59 gets word that any of you don't want bring the fight too, then you'll have to answer to him, and he won't be putting up with any "quit" or negativity from his defense.
"I hate that crap," he said, referring to comments after the Colts playoff loss that the 2014 team didn't have much fight and that some players were "scared to play" in New England.
Trevathan says that won't be happening while he's in the locker room. "You can't give up. I don't even like to think that attitude about my team."
At the same time, Trevathan understood the massive disappointment among his teammates after the Colts loss in January.
"Who wouldn't be down after that game? There was SO much expectation on this team. We felt like it was our year," he said. "But everything happens for a reason."
That reason just might have to do with the team getting its mojo back.
With a clean slate, a brand new coaching staff and championship expectations back in play, the Broncos will bounce back in great form in 2015, Trevathan believes. And he knows this because he is seeing a different team at Broncos headquarters these days.
"The attitude is different," Trevathan said, noting guys are "all ears" with the new coaches. "Hard work and dedication are going to be put on display this year."
And if there's a guy who knows hard work, it's Trevathan.
Suffering a broken left tibia during 11-on-11 drills in August, the linebacker missed the start of the season but came back in Week 5 after the team's early bye, only to injure his left kneecap on the second play of the game against the Jets in Week 6. Then in Week 15 against the Chargers, Trevathan's left kneecap gave out. That last straw placed him on Injured Reserve for the final two games of the season plus the divisional playoff game.
But as Trevathan constantly reminds himself and others, you can't have any regrets. So he doesn't.
With a brand new left kneecap from a cadaver, Trevathan is not bemoaning last year's fate. He just looks at it as a reminder to stay strong even in the face of adversity.
Thanks in large part to his girlfriend Latoria Burns and their daughter Danoir, Trevathan has spent the last four months with his head down and his spirits up, spreading positive energy wherever he can - on social media, in the training room, and now, finally, back with the team as they open 2015 workouts.
Dada Love. You give me sooo much strength, it's amazing! pic.twitter.com/ermIO6dd14— D. Trevathan (@Grindin_59) April 15, 2015
"Being injured sucks, but I took that attitude and applied it to positivity and I'm just trying to get better every phase of my game and of my life," Trevathan said, adding that his 17-month-old daughter was a powerful reminder not to give up. "Every time I looked at her I just thought, 'I'm not done until I'm dead.'"
Since undergoing surgery in January, Trevathan has been in the training room every day getting back to form. Even now as offseason workouts begin, he's doing double duty in the weight room and the training room.
"Even when they say I'm clear, I'm still going to stay at it and just make sure I'm taking care of my body," Trevathan said, adding that he's trying to hold back his excitement for playing and trying to be smart about not going all out until he's fully healthy. "I feel like it's almost all the way back, but I'm only going as far as they let me every day."
Trevathan is also focusing his positive vibe on fellow linebacker Brandon Marshall.
Marshall, who was the Broncos' leading tackler in 2014, had surgery in March for a mid-foot sprain suffered in the San Diego game, the same Week 15 game Trevathan went down.
Pairing the Broncos' leading tacklers the past two seasons could have tantalizing effects once the two are healthy and back on the field.
"We're just working to get this defense down and naturally we will be one of the best linebacker corps in the game," Trevathan promised, adding that he and Marshall have both had to fight their way up from the bottom, which provides a lot of inner strength. "Injuries happen, but the great ones bounce back like they never left."
Which is exactly what Trevathan is planning this year - and for many seasons to come. Coming up on his contract year in 2016, Trevathan already has big things in mind. He just launched his website and has personal goals that include the Pro Bowl and ultimately the Hall of Fame.
Trevathan would like to be mentioned among the greats like Derrick Thomas and Lawrence Taylor, and he doesn't mind putting in the hard work to earn that. There's a reason "Grindin" is his twitter handle after all. He likes digging deep.
But Trevathan's primary goal is always that of the team's - doing whatever it takes to get to the Super Bowl ... and win it.
All may be lofty, but Trevathan doesn't care. He's been battling the odds since his youthful days at Leesburg High in Florida and later at the University of Kentucky.
Having led the SEC in tackles two years in a row and finished his college career with 374 total tackles, six sacks and four interceptions, Trevathan was still considered a little small for an NFL linebacker. But John Elway took a chance on him in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
"I was a puny kid with an attitude, and he gave me an opportunity," Trevathan said, adding that he's all ears whenever the Broncos GM speaks to the team. "Everybody respects him because he has so much passion for the game."
No doubt Trevathan's passion was partly what Elway was after with his 188th pick in that 2012 Draft, and it will be the same passion that Elway - and the Broncos defense - will be looking to this season.
"I'm just competitive. I like to beat everybody, and I want my attitude to reflect on the team," Trevathan said. "Just take the leash off."
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