Vic Fangio loves his defensive backs, and he’s been employing the “dime” formation quite a bit in his disguise-laden scheme.
And now with some great depth at cornerback and a very talented safety tandem, you can bet Fangio will play to his strengths and employ the “six-DB look” as much as possible.
Given the the AFC West teams Broncos face six times a year, more defensive backs to account for all the receivers in pass-heavy offenses is necessary much of the time.
“In this day and age in the NFL, you’re playing a lot of nickel with five and six DBs,” Fangio said in response to questions about whether he’ll use Bryce Callahan at inside or outside. “All of the above. We’ll see how it goes ... I have a lot of confidence in him to play corner. He’ll be out there somehow, some way.”
But as Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright discussed on Broncos Country Tonight, with the addition of Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby, plus the growth of Michael Ojemudia and the already-mature rookie Patrick Surtain II, Fangio has a lot of options at corner. And since he generally prefers to make the “dime-backer” a corner rather than safety, the corner depth is going to come in very handy.
“Yeah. When I’ve played dime in the past...it’s more of the corner-type player than a safety-type player,” Fangio said. “The way teams are lining up on offense and running plays, they are putting guys all over the place. Receivers are ending up in the traditional tight end spot. Tight ends are ending up in the traditional wide receiver spots. I think it’s more imperative that your dime position is more of a corner type than a safety type.”
And Allbright noted that the Broncos do want to go with more five- and six-DB looks.
“Vic Fangio has made no secret of that for several years and says it’s the future of the NFL,” Allbright said, adding that “that’s cool” but it also requires athletic, big, fast defensive backs. “Big enough to get inside the box and make tackles when the offense audibles to run, and fast enough to cover hybrid tight end-like players like Darren Waller when [offenses] run that out there too.”
With Patrick Surtain’s size and athleticism, and Michael Ojemudia’s size, Allbright could envision Fangio putting Surtain and Ojemudia on the inside and running Callahan and Fuller on the outside.
“So now you’re a little heavier around the box area, and theoretically you’re able to block power-run against you when they check out of the pass play and into the run play because they see a lighter box,” Allbright added.
In fact, Fangio hinted at doing just that when he noted they’ve been working Ojemudia on the inside position.
“I think he learned a lot last year. He got thrown to the fire probably earlier than we would have wanted to, but we had no choice,” Fangio said of Ojemudia. “We’re teaching him some of the inside positions at the nickel and dime position. He has a lot on his plate, but I’ve liked his focus and his attitude.”