The Denver Broncos defensive backs unit has gone through changes.
This offseason, the Broncos said goodbye to Super Bowl 50 Champion Darian Stewart (safety), and brought in free agents Kareem Jackson (safety) and Bryce Callahan (cornerback). The Broncos secondary unit also recognizes the “elephant not in the room,” as the contract dispute between All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and the Broncos front office continues.
But for Broncos safety Will Parks, he’s seen similar changes before. He’s witnessed the departure of former teammates and Super Bowl 50 Champions Aqib Talib (cornerback) and T.J. Ward (safety). He’s played with former Bronco Adam “Pacman,” Jones (cornerback), and 2018 third round draft pick Issac Yiadom (cornerback).
Parks is heading into his 4th season, and has yet to miss a game. In his short career, he has started 8 games, forced 3 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and has amassed a total of 105 tackles. His ability to play both strong and free safety make him valuable in Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell’s weekly game plan.
Parks is athletic enough to stay with receivers down the field, but coverage is not his strongest suit. That comes in the form of tackling and diagnosing plays as they unfold in front of him. As we saw last year in the game against the Steelers, Parks does not give up on a play and can separate the ball from an opponent with a big hit.
With today’s passing offenses in the NFL, the traditional nickel and dime defensive fronts seen on third down are now consistently utilized on all downs. Fangio’s defensive scheme (3-4) focuses on the strength of defensive lineman to occupy the trenches allowing for linebackers to rush from the outside and misdirect interior plays.
For defensive backs, this means there will be a combination of man and zone concepts sometimes called on the same play. This defensive philosophy should distort a quarterback’s pre-snap read, and give the defensive secondary time to react.
But outside of scheme or fit, Head Coach Vic Fangio has made it clear to players that work ethic and commitment are nonnegotiable. So for Will Parks to shine in 2019, it is critical that he have a productive, and hard working preseason.