Good morning, Broncos Country!
In all the talk about big-time playmakers on this Broncos defense, it has been the sack artists on the edges and line plus the ballhawks in the secondary getting much of the glory.
But two beasts who have been quietly (or not so quietly) taking care of business are inside linebackers - and soul brothers - Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall.
As the team's leading tacklers the last two years - Trevathan in 2013 and Marshall in 2014 - both are among the best ILBs in the league right now, with Marshall at No. 1 and Trevathan at No. 12.
So far this season, Marshall has already logged 34 solo tackles and 1 sack while Trevathan has put up 22 solo tackles.
"Yeah, if there is any group inside in this league that's played better, it would probably be hard to find," Kubiak said of the two who spent the offseason pushing each other through injury rehab to get back on the field healthy and stronger than ever. "These two guys have played extremely well. I'm going to go back to what they went through in the offseason to get ready to play. You've got to give them a lot of credit [for] taking care of their business."
And Kubiak and the Broncos defense are definitely going to be counting on the tackling duo this Sunday against the prolific Browns offense.
With receiving weapons in Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge, the Broncos' secondary is going to have its hands full down the field while outside linebackers Von Miller, Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray will be busy chasing down quarterback Josh McCown.
Stopping running back Duke Johnson as well as Barnidge, who catches passes all over the field, will largely fall to Marshall and Trevathan.
"That's the hard part," Kubiak said about the Browns' offensive scheme, and with Barnidge in particular. "They do a lot of empty stuff, spread him around. There are going to be times Danny and Brandon are on him. There are going to be time that safeties are on him."
Kubiak gives a lot of credit to the Browns offense for finding good match ups with their smaller but fast receivers.
"They know what they're doing," Kubiak said. "They find match ups, so we'll have to do a good job across the board. The best thing we can do is make [McCown] get rid of the ball."
Among the unsung heroes through these first five games has been the defensive coordinator himself, but Wade Phillips refuses to take any credit. Instead he shines it toward his position coaches and especially the players.
"It's not about me. It's about these guys," Phillips said. "It's those guys that work with them every day and get them better as a player ... and it's the players themselves. We try to put them in position, yes, to make plays, but they're the guys making the plays."
And they are going to need to do it again on Sunday. So will the Orange Surge again?
Phillips thinks this question is starting to get a little old.
"I do think in preseason we were playing really, really well, got a lot of sacks, made a lot of plays and everybody said, 'Well, it's only preseason,'" Phillips pointed out. "Now it's five games in and, 'Well, it's only five games in.' We'll see. I think it's an exceptional group that way. We've got a lot of games to play."
Including Game 6 on Sunday.
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