There’s a lot of familiarity in Sunday’s game for the Denver Broncos.
Obviously Russell Wilson and the success he’s had against the San Francisco 49ers. In his last five starts against the team, Wilson is 4-1 with 13 total touchdowns and one interception. He also has 16 wins against the 49ers.
D.J. Jones signed as a free agent this offseason after spending the first six seasons of his career in the Bay Area. George Paton also signed former Niners cornerback K’Wuan Williams this past offseason, who played the first five seasons in San Francisco. The last connection to the 49ers is Jonas Griffith. The linebacker spent most of 2020 on the team's practice squad and then was traded to Denver last season.
On the other side, there are Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch.
But there’s also one that could directly impact Sunday night’s game — Ejiro Evero.
The first-year Broncos defensive coordinator spent the last five years with the Los Angeles Rams. So, Evero knows the 49ers well.
“I think over the last five years, we’ve played them 11 times,” he told the media on Thursday. “I’m pretty familiar with what they are doing, but they do such a good job schematically. They’re always going to be a challenge. They always have nice, new wrinkles for them, so we have to be ready.”
As for the help Jones, Williams and Griffith have been this week in terms of preparation for the Shanahan offense, Evero said they’ve been awesome.
“Obviously, they’ve practiced against these guys for a long time, and been in the building and all of that stuff,” he added. “I think not only the schematic stuff but also the mentality that’s needed to play in this type of game — the physicality, running to the ball and those types of things. They understand what it takes to stop this offense.”
The familiarity with San Francisco doesn't just come from the coaches and players. It also comes from the Broncos running a similar offense that the Denver defense faces every day in practice.
“It’s definitely very helpful seeing a lot of the same schemes — the jet motions, and, like you said, the outside zone,” Evero said. “It’s great that we got all of that work this camp and offseason. It’s going to be helpful.”
Just how helpful all of this familiarity is to Evero and the Broncos, we’ll find out on Sunday night.