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Former Broncos’ DC Larry Coyer heaps praise on Champ Bailey: ‘Best player I’ve ever seen’

He also told “Broncos Country Tonight” recently that Vic Fangio’s defense will be ‘aggressive, tough, well-coached’

Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Larry Coyer, former Broncos defensive coordinator under Mike Shanahan, joined the “Broncos Country Tonight” crew on KOA radio, and the entire interview is well worth your time.

Coyer, who coached Champ Bailey, could not laud the shutdown corner enough as No. 24 will be inducted into the coveted Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

“He deserves everything he gets. He’s a hardworking, gifted athlete who produced when the time was right to produce. He just made those kind of plays,” Coyer told Ryan Edwards and Ben Allbright of KOA. “He’s a tremendous guy, an exemplary athlete.”

Coyer, who coached many good cornerbacks over his career at the Colts, Broncos and Buccaneers, said the quality that separated Bailey was his “quiet intensity,” which was both a physical skill and a mental one for Bailey.

“He could slow the game down. He was the epitome of a zone corner,” Coyer noted. “Everyone talks about how great his man skills were - and they were - but he was a GREAT zone corner because he slowed the game down. He could see the whole field. He could make plays based on the [inaudible] scouting report from the other side of the field. I’ve never seen a guy who could do that - prior to or since - Champ Bailey.”

Coyer believes the most fundamental element a defender must have is speed, and when looking for players on his defense, that’s what he required.

“The No. 1 thing is speed. It overrides every other factor you would look at in choosing a player. Speed kills,” Coyer said, adding that a speedy defense encompasses two main things - coverage of the pass and rush of the quarterback. “Those two elements will produce a great defense.”

With an offensive game where the plays are spread all over the field, Coyer - a former linebackers coach for the Broncos before becoming defensive coordinator - believes linebackers must be able to both run and cover their man.

“One attribute that is really important - some ability to rush the quarterback.”

And the former Broncos DC believes Vic Fangio will bring a fast and aggressive defense to Denver - which was definitely on display Thursday night.

“Fangio is a hell of a coach. They’ll be aggressive. They’ll be all over the field,” he said. “They’re going to remind you of John Mobley, Ian Gold, Al Wilson. They’re going to be fast and tough and well-coached.”

Having worked with Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay, the guys asked Coyer whether the Broncos would beat the Raiders, where Gruden is now.

“As always, they’re going to kick their butts. It hasn’t changed. It will not change. It was always fun to kick their butts,” Coyer said. “That one was always special to Coach Shanahan as you know.”

Coyer had one more fabulous quote - and of course it would have to do with Peyton Manning - a quarterback he had to face every day in practice while coaching at the Colts.

“It was miserable. He’s an a-hole. He’d complete every pass and laugh,” Coyer laughed. “I place a blitz on him that we might have run on him and he would remember the damn thing. He would make it miserable for you, drive you up a tree.”