After seeing the NFL.com post on starting defensive starters, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment and maybe have some insight into the new Broncos defense. I predict a base 4-2-5 defense with some variations sprinkled in below. Some snippets are below for discussion:
- We will shift to a 4 man line, with a Strong DT (DJ) and a quick DT (DreMont). I am thinking DJ will 2-gap, while the quick DT is a one-gap penetrating role.
- The two 4-3 DE's will be Chubb and Gregory. Gregory is a little light, but think is OK for Weak-side DE. One again, I see a LOT of flipping for Strong vs Weak sides of the formation. One gap attacking roles for both sides.
- We will have one 'anchor' ILB and that is Jewell. He will always be the off-ball LB and will anchor the middle of the field in base defense. Singleton seems like an obvious backup here.
- The last spot is a front 7 Joker or Wildcard role. I think this position will flex between ILB and OLB to try and gain favorable matchups on the defense. So, this role is a new hybrid, and why Browning is working at OLB this off-season. I think Bonitto, along with Griffith, will be the primary backups in this new Joker role.
- I believe we will have a base nickel set with Surtain, Darby, and Williams as key CB's.
- Finally, I think we will liberally 'exchange' Safeties for ILB's as offensive formations dictate. This is why I think we are 'heavy' on Safeties and 'light' on traditional ILB's.
- Lastly, I think our Defensive front will 'match' man for man with the offensive inline players. 5 OL's will match with 5 'box' defensive players (i.e. no inline TE's). Same for six and seven man O-line fronts. This is where Purcell adds value. I do not believe they will cut him, and hold him on the roster in case offenses counter with run-heavy sets. The front of Purcell, Jones, and Jones should shut off any running game ideas for offenses, even with a matched or even front. I am expecting less than 25% usage of this front though.
Existing players where this change does not help are lighter OLB's like Reed, Strand, and other legacy players who are quick more than strong for their position. I have no idea how the DL will turn out, but do expect to see some reductions there as well. This is going from 3 DL spots to two, similar to the OLB room.
If this comes to be, would you like this type of change? Hit up the Pro's and Con's in the comments below.