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How good (or not) can the Broncos’ defense be this season?

Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro consider whether the defense will be better than last year - and if it can be as good as the historic defense of SB50.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

In a 3-4 defense, you want big, stout guys on the line.

The Broncos’ starting D-line is currently down three starters - Jared Crick, Derek Wolfe and Billy Winn. And starting outside linebacker Shane Ray is also out a few weeks - along with safety T.J. Ward and inside linebacker Todd Davis - for injury recovery.

Will this Broncos D be the menace it was two years ago? Will it be better against the run this season?

Les Shapiro and Eric Goodman of The Afternoon Drive discussed the possibility along with the injury predicament, and Goodman is very concerned - even though Wolfe is expected to be back in a couple weeks and Crick will likely be back pretty soon as well.

Shapiro doesn’t think the sky is falling, arguing that along with the No Fly Zone and Von Miller, the inside linebackers don’t get enough credit, calling them “tackling machines.”

But Goodman isn’t buying it.

“[The linebackers] are tackling machines when the front three can shed blockers,” he argued. “ They are completely dependent on those guys to tie up a couple of guys. If [the line] doesn’t tie up blockers, you could put Ray Lewis back there, and it won’t matter.”

In a different segment today, Goodman went so far as to say there is “nothing special” about this year’s defense (though his comparison was the historic Super Bowl 50 squad).

“I think this defense will be a little bit better than last year’s defense, but I think everybody is falling a little too much in love with the secondary. And, oh by the way, you need a Front 7. Let me put it in perspective, a great Front 7 shuts down the run and the pass. A great secondary does not shut down the run.”

Brandon Marshall talks a little about the injuries to the starters, noting that it’s concerning, but if any coach can get guys ready to step up in their place, he believes it is D-line coach Bill Kollar.

“Bill’s one of best defensive coaches I’ve been around. If anybody will get guys ready, it’s Bill,” Marshall said, adding that injuries definitely hit player morale some. “You kind of feel the morale go down a little bit, but we have to control what we can control. We can’t control who goes down and what happens. We can control our efforts. The guys backing up Crick, Wolfe and Billy they have to up the ante. This is their chance.”

So it’s an interesting set of questions.

Let’s assume the defensive starters are back for the beginning of the regular season - will this defense be better than last year? Can it be as good as the Super Bowl 50 defense? Do we want it to? (ok, kidding on that last question...mostly).

Poll

Assuming D-line starters are back, how good can this defense be?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Definitely better than last year.
    (473 votes)
  • 28%
    If the starters aren’t back, it will be a long season.
    (292 votes)
  • 11%
    Maybe as good as the SB50 team.
    (117 votes)
  • 13%
    No Broncos defense will be as amazing as the SB50 D
    (143 votes)
1025 votes total Vote Now

Bonus Listen

Guess what Aqib Talib is afraid of?

Bees.

Guess what he’s not afraid of?

Quarterbacks throwing in his direction.

He’s also not afraid to intercept his own quarterbacks during practice - something he and Chris Harris Jr. have made a hobby of since training camp started.

“Nah, it will make them better,” he contends, adding that playing predominantly man coverage helps the Broncos quarterbacks and wide receivers handling press coverage. “We give them good looks, man.”