clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Atwater sees improvement at corner, OL to push Broncos to their first win

Now the Hall of Fame safety is looking for the same but more as the Broncos take on the Patriots in Week 5.

Denver Broncos v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Steve Atwater joined Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright for his weekly spot on Broncos Country Tonight Tuesday, and it was a grab bag of topics but included some interesting insight into the cornerback situation as Vic Fangio will decide whether to stick with De’Vante Bausby or go back to rookies Michael Ojemudia and/or Essang Bassey while A.J. Bouyé continues to heal.

As Atwater pointed out, even though Bassey was pulled, Bausby didn’t move to his spot covering the slot. Instead, Bryce Callahan moved over to cover the slot while Bausby took over as the outside corner.

“On the outside, you have to get up and jam the receiver or read the quarterback to see where the play is going,” the Hall of Fame safety noted. “In the slot, you have to know where all the other guys are - ‘Do I take the outside away or the inside away? Do I have help over the middle? Do I not have any help?’ Outside and inside corner are two totally different positions.”

That said, Atwater was pleased with Bausby’s performance there.

“De’Vante looked really nice on the outside corner, but we knew that last year,” he said, adding that he wasn’t sure what happened to make Fangio move him down the depth chart earlier in the season, “but I think they’re a better team with him on the football field right now.”

Edwards asked about Ojemudia’s growth at the position, and even though the analyst tried to argue with the former Super Bowl-winning Broncos’ safety that the rookie’s PI call was bogus, Atwater wasn’t concerned by the mistake one bit.

“Oh, it was PI and the crazy thing about it was he didn’t have to do it; he was in great position to knock the ball out of there,” Atwater said. “He’ll get there. He just panicked a little bit.”

But Atwater did have some advice for Ojemudia - “Stay on your feet when you tackle, man! You’re a big strong cornerback. You don’t have to go down low and tackle below the knees like some of the smaller guys.”

Atwater would prefer to see him drive through his tackles like Callahan, who is a smaller guy, but appears to have no fear.

“Yeah, Bryce makes some good solid tackles, man,” Atwater added.

Speaking of tackling, Edwards and Allbright asked which defensive player was most to blame for the Sam Darnold touchdown, but Atwater would not bite. He’s not about calling out his safeties.

“I’m not doing it because it happens sometimes,” Atwater said, adding that from Justin Simmons’ point of view, Darnold looked like he was going to slide so the defender has to let up to not hit him and get a penalty. “You just need to give Sam Darnold his props. He made a good run. I know they’re playmakers and they’ll make that play nine times out of 10.”

Atwater was also impressed with Brett Rypien overall against the Jets, making some good reads and getting the ball out quickly - even making a tackle for his running back to score.

“That was cool. Just shows he’s got heart,” Atwater said. “He’s doing everything he can to win, being scrappy. That’s what he has to do.”

In order to get another win, Atwater thinks it will have to start with the offensive line again. The unit played better overall against the Jets, which was arguably an easier defense than the Broncos’ three previous matchups, but Atwater is expecting still more from Dalton Risner and Lloyd Cushenberry in particular.

“I’d still like to see all those guys play all the way to the whistle to where they may not need to block their guy but they can block someone else’s,” he said. “They did better. Garett Bolles did a nice job. Cush played better. Dalton is struggling out there. I’d like to see him step up but I’m sure he will.”