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View Full Version : NFL.com: Broncos Achilles' Heel (Defensive Line)


Bronco Rob
07-10-2012, 08:35 AM
4. Denver Broncos defensive line: How do you beat the Broncos? Keep Peyton Manning off the field. Tall order, but teams have to grind out yardage and chew up the clock. That's made easier thanks to Denver's suspect defensive line. The Broncos allowed 155 rushing yards per game in 2010 and 126.3 last season (22nd in the league). Switching to the 4-3 could help against the run, but outside of Elvis Dumervil , Denver's front four -- especially on the inside -- lacks consistency. Teams will key on this all day long.




http://m.nfl.com/news/09000d5d82a6d22c/achilles-heels/

Beantown Bronco
07-10-2012, 08:36 AM
"Switching" to the 4-3? Nice research by that writer.

Bronco Rob
07-10-2012, 08:45 AM
"Switching" to the 4-3? Nice research by that writer.



http://twitter.com/marcsesslernfl


:thumbs:

Rabb
07-10-2012, 08:50 AM
"Switching" to the 4-3? Nice research by that writer.

Yeah I stopped reading there myself

TheElusiveKyleOrton
07-10-2012, 09:31 AM
Naming Elvis "consistent" when it comes to the run game is laughable as well.

SoCalBronco
07-10-2012, 09:33 AM
Let the defensive line loose

orinjkrush
07-10-2012, 11:22 AM
not like the mane hasn't been calling for round 1 DT picks, like forever.

R-Mac
07-10-2012, 12:58 PM
The biggest weakness of the Broncos is the inside triangle. Two DTs and the MLB. I believe the projected starters are Warren, Bannan and Mays.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/19195136/inside-triangle-key-to-every-teams-1st-and-2nddown-success-on-d

DENVERDUI55
07-10-2012, 01:15 PM
The key is pile enough trash and retreads in the middle to stop the run. LB is suspect too.

jutang
07-10-2012, 01:33 PM
Denver's Achilles heel is the middle o line. D Line has fewer question marks entering training camp this year than last year.

Bronco Rob
07-10-2012, 10:59 PM
The biggest weakness of the Broncos is the inside triangle. Two DTs and the MLB. I believe the projected starters are Warren, Bannan and Mays.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/19195136/inside-triangle-key-to-every-teams-1st-and-2nddown-success-on-d

Thanks for the link. I see don't see why the staff is so enamored with Mays. I read somewhere that if we didn't re-sign him the Colts and Saints were going to offer him similar money to start.


Might as well throw the entire middle unless Carter/Harris can play at a serviceable level to help Adams out.

sgbfan
07-10-2012, 11:30 PM
I read the title and I thought that D Thomas was hurt again!

Stagger Lee
07-11-2012, 06:38 AM
Denvers front four lacks consistency? Shocking.

MagicHef
07-11-2012, 08:11 AM
Thanks for the link. I see don't see why the staff is so enamored with Mays. I read somewhere that if we didn't re-sign him the Colts and Saints were going to offer him similar money to start.


Might as well throw the entire middle unless Carter/Harris can play at a serviceable level to help Adams out.

Mays is pretty solid against the run. He was PFF's 12th best ILB against the run last year. Unfortunately, our best (by FAR) run defender last year will be wearing black and gold this year.

barryr
07-11-2012, 09:09 AM
That is going to be the game plan against the Broncos. Run the ball, short passes to try to keep the ball and make a series of 1st downs, win the field position battle, and limit Manning and the offense from possessions. That was pretty much the plan against the Colts when Manning was there, so we'll see if the Broncos have the defense to counter that plan.

Mountain Bronco
07-11-2012, 09:27 AM
The defensive line is a question mark, no doubt about it. We don't know how Warren will be after years off, we don't know how much Bannan has in the tank, we don't know how Wolfe will perform. That said, I wish these writers did a little work, because damn, switching to 4-3??? Dumervile as consistent in run game???

Dude knew that Denver's Dline is a question (um yeah the whole world does) and did no research as to why it is a question and tossed in the one name he remembered on the line.

maher_tyler
07-11-2012, 09:45 AM
That is going to be the game plan against the Broncos. Run the ball, short passes to try to keep the ball and make a series of 1st downs, win the field position battle, and limit Manning and the offense from possessions. That was pretty much the plan against the Colts when Manning was there, so we'll see if the Broncos have the defense to counter that plan.

Hopefully JDR can coach these guys up a little better...Week 1 can't come fast enough! And hope Wolfe can have an impact...

Smiling Assassin27
07-11-2012, 09:47 AM
I really hope Ayers can justify his draft position this year.

Drek
07-11-2012, 10:17 AM
I really hope Ayers can justify his draft position this year.

He didn't last year when he was our best front seven run defender and a key part to letting Miller play unmolested?

Ayers has spent one season as a 4-3 DE and was already at "solid starter" level there last year. That's better than most first rounders ever become.

Bronco Rob
07-11-2012, 10:19 AM
Mays is pretty solid against the run. He was PFF's 12th best ILB against the run last year. Unfortunately, our best (by FAR) run defender last year will be wearing black and gold this year.


The Saints overpaid to get Bunkley with good reason (bountygate) along with Hawthorne and Chamberlain. He is a great one gap run defender along with the drafting of Miller and Dumervil's return from a torn pec were the biggest reason for the defensive turnaround in 2011.

Smiling Assassin27
07-11-2012, 10:32 AM
He didn't last year when he was our best front seven run defender and a key part to letting Miller play unmolested?

Ayers has spent one season as a 4-3 DE and was already at "solid starter" level there last year. That's better than most first rounders ever become.


18th overall. No, he did not, IMO. Particularly when you read some of the press/hype coming out of the draft. I'm not in the 'Ayers=bust' camp, but don't consider his production on par with 18th overall.

MagicHef
07-11-2012, 11:26 AM
He didn't last year when he was our best front seven run defender and a key part to letting Miller play unmolested?

Ayers has spent one season as a 4-3 DE and was already at "solid starter" level there last year. That's better than most first rounders ever become.

Do you really think he was a better run defender than Bunkley?

Drek
07-11-2012, 11:29 AM
18th overall. No, he did not, IMO. Particularly when you read some of the press/hype coming out of the draft. I'm not in the 'Ayers=bust' camp, but don't consider his production on par with 18th overall.

If you want to ignore reality and come up with an out of your ass "what is on par with the 18th overall pick" scale then sure.

Fact is that about half of all first rounders are outright busts and only a handful are any kind of long term impact player. Ayers has already been more productive than about 10 of the 17 guys taken above him and at least 3 of the remaining 7 are at best "tied" with Ayers (talking about Mark Sanchez, Crabtree, and our own Knowshon here). Clay Matthews and Alex Mack are the only guys to go in the 14 spots behind him in the first round who have been definitively better players.

I don't know how much more you can realistically ask for. Expecting every first rounder to be an all-pro makes about as much sense as thinking that every lottery ticket you buy should pay out.

Drek
07-11-2012, 11:39 AM
Do you really think he was a better run defender than Bunkley?

Yes. I think Bunkley was very overrated last season. I believe a lot of his productivity in the running game was built on a very simplified role for him that put more onus on Mays. I think this for two reasons:

1. our run defense would have very bad days with RBs basically coasting through a massive gap between Bunkley and Thomas, yet Bunkley somehow didn't miss an assignment according to the staff and our "football outsiders" types. To me that says Bunkley wasn't asked to do a lot of read and react run defense and instead was just given a lane to crush, expecting Joe Mays to pick up his left overs, which leads us to #2.

2. Joe Mays got a $4M/yr. deal to stay here. Bunkley left because clearly the Broncos weren't willing to beat $5M/yr. on a younger player at a more valuable and greater need position. To me that says the FO didn't really believe Bunkley was anything irreplaceable, while also believing that if given better DT play Mays can improve significantly from last year.

I'm just going by what I saw in games (Bunkley rarely blowing up plays behind the line, our run game still being weak as hell up the middle) and the FO's implicit statements with their signings/non-signings.

Smiling Assassin27
07-11-2012, 12:14 PM
If you want to ignore reality and come up with an out of your ass "what is on par with the 18th overall pick" scale then sure.

Fact is that about half of all first rounders are outright busts and only a handful are any kind of long term impact player. Ayers has already been more productive than about 10 of the 17 guys taken above him and at least 3 of the remaining 7 are at best "tied" with Ayers (talking about Mark Sanchez, Crabtree, and our own Knowshon here). Clay Matthews and Alex Mack are the only guys to go in the 14 spots behind him in the first round who have been definitively better players.

I don't know how much more you can realistically ask for. Expecting every first rounder to be an all-pro makes about as much sense as thinking that every lottery ticket you buy should pay out.

Out of curiosity, what measure of 'production' are you using? The only ones picked before him that you can even make a case he's been better than in terms of starts and/or stats are Heyward bey, knowshon, maybin and curry. sanchez has FAR outperformed ayers, which is why i'm asking about your definition of 'production'. as far as those picked after him, oher, maclin, harvin, matthew, nicks, and britt are definitively more productive at their rspective positions in this league.

if you say that half of all first rounders are busts, take a look at the 2009 draft and tell me who are the 15-16 definitive busts. i don't see it. call me stupid again if you want but i'm just asking the question.

as for ayers, given his college production, where he was picked, and those who came after him in the draft, i still don't see #18 production.

MagicHef
07-11-2012, 01:08 PM
Yes. I think Bunkley was very overrated last season. I believe a lot of his productivity in the running game was built on a very simplified role for him that put more onus on Mays. I think this for two reasons:

1. our run defense would have very bad days with RBs basically coasting through a massive gap between Bunkley and Thomas, yet Bunkley somehow didn't miss an assignment according to the staff and our "football outsiders" types. To me that says Bunkley wasn't asked to do a lot of read and react run defense and instead was just given a lane to crush, expecting Joe Mays to pick up his left overs, which leads us to #2.

2. Joe Mays got a $4M/yr. deal to stay here. Bunkley left because clearly the Broncos weren't willing to beat $5M/yr. on a younger player at a more valuable and greater need position. To me that says the FO didn't really believe Bunkley was anything irreplaceable, while also believing that if given better DT play Mays can improve significantly from last year.

I'm just going by what I saw in games (Bunkley rarely blowing up plays behind the line, our run game still being weak as hell up the middle) and the FO's implicit statements with their signings/non-signings.

I don't know if you pay attention to other teams the way you do the Broncos, but did Warren/Bannan or Del Rio's DTs play in styles similar to Bunkley? Do you think the expectations of our DTs will change?

Agamemnon
07-11-2012, 01:08 PM
He didn't last year when he was our best front seven run defender and a key part to letting Miller play unmolested?

Ayers has spent one season as a 4-3 DE and was already at "solid starter" level there last year. That's better than most first rounders ever become.

Yet it looks like he's on his way out with the talk of making Wolfe a DE...

Drek
07-11-2012, 03:19 PM
Out of curiosity, what measure of 'production' are you using? The only ones picked before him that you can even make a case he's been better than in terms of starts and/or stats are Heyward bey, knowshon, maybin and curry. sanchez has FAR outperformed ayers, which is why i'm asking about your definition of 'production'. as far as those picked after him, oher, maclin, harvin, matthew, nicks, and britt are definitively more productive at their rspective positions in this league.

if you say that half of all first rounders are busts, take a look at the 2009 draft and tell me who are the 15-16 definitive busts. i don't see it. call me stupid again if you want but i'm just asking the question.

as for ayers, given his college production, where he was picked, and those who came after him in the draft, i still don't see #18 production.

If starts are your measure of success then Curry started quite a bit early on and sucked. Moreno has quite a few starts himself under his belt.

As for 2009 busts to date:
#2 - Jason Smith - isn't even a LT anymore, can't stay healthy, is now fighting to even keep his job. Massive bust.
#3 - Tyson Jackson - poor productivity despite a lot of starts. Ayers was better as a 3-4 OLB than Jackson is as a 3-4 DE, and Ayers is much better as a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 OLB.
#4 - Aaron Curry - already changed teams, on the verge of washing out of the league.
#7 - Darius Heyward-Bey - mediocre speed only WR who's best season would make Ashley Lelie disappointed.
#10 - Michael Crabtree - massive underachiever, as a #1 WR was actually less productive than the guy directly above him on this last last year.
#11 - Aaron Maybin - easy one. Already cut by two teams if I recall now.
#12 - Knowshon Moreno - I actually think Moreno still has a future in the league, but Ayers has passed him up and I think any Broncos fan would agree on that.
#16 - Larry English - has done almost nothing in the league.

That's 8 out of 17 before him that are obviously inferior players. (I'd personally put Andre Smith in this pile as he was worthless until last year, but he's turning it around)

Non-busts that I would rank as toss ups:
#5 - Mark Sanchez - underproducing QB who lived off a dominant defense and run game early on, but is now being exposed. Is already on the hot seat as the Jets starting QB.
#6 - Andre Smith - only became a starter last year, one year behind Ayers despite Ayers changing positions. Was downgraded from a LT to RT. Was solid at RT last year in much the same way that Ayers was solid at DE. Both have good futures, but Ayers first three years were better than Smith's.
#17 - Josh Freeman - same boat as Sanchez, needs to put up or shut up pretty soon.
#30 - Kenny Britt - Can't stay healthy.
#31 - Beanie Wells - has failed to outproduce Moreno, a guy most would agree Ayers has played better than.
#32 - Ziggy Hood - fewer starts than Ayers, Ayers was a bigger part of our D last year than Hood was for Pittsburgh.


People after Ayers who are obvious busts:
#24 - Peria Jerry - unhealthy his first year, unproductive his last two.
#27 - Donald Brown - very unproductive first round RB. Makes Moreno look like a good pick.

The guys I see as better than Ayers:
#1 - Stafford
#8 - Monroe
#9 - Raji
#13 - Orakpo
#14 - Jenkins
#15 - Cushing
#19 - Maclin
#20 - Pettigrew
#21 - Mack
#22 - Harvin
#23 - Oher
#25 - Davis
#29 - Nicks

Now if you consider what the Broncos had at the time. We didn't think WR was a need (Marshall and Royal on the roster) so 3 of the 13 first round high production guys are off the board. We had two solid TEs, so there was no need for Pettigrew. Monroe, Mack, and Oher are OLs and we had a good OL still in place. Stafford and Raji were never in reach.

What makes Ayers look bad is that we passed on Orakpo and Cushing to take Moreno, then passed on Clay Matthews, arguably the best player from that entire draft class, twice. All fill the same role we were drafting Ayers for.

That doesn't mean Ayers is a wash out himself, or has even under produced. He has under produced his one year peer group at a specific position we now see he wasn't ideally suited for. He's already taken a step forward once he got moved to his more natural position.

Also, I never called you stupid. I just can't stand the mentality that first round picks are somehow supposed to all be impact players. That is simply not true. First round picks bust quite a bit. Of the "toss-ups" I've listed above you can basically assume half of them have peaked or will never peak and will wash out of the league.

If we could draft a solid starter type like Ayers year after year and once in every 10 years land on a Von Miller type I'd be more than happy with that kind of draft production. No team does that, it would be an absurd level of success. What Ayers was in 2011 and what he now has the potential to be in 2012 and going forward is quite a bit better than the average mid-first round pick ever gives you. A lot of them outright bust and then another whole chunk go the way of Moreno, giving a few years of ok production when handed playing time but not being able to take the next step.

Yet it looks like he's on his way out with the talk of making Wolfe a DE...
I'd say that is assumption run amok. Del Rio said that right now he's got the body of a base package DE, nickel package DT. At the same time he pretty heavily implied that the long term goal for Wolfe is to grow into a full time DT. Even to that end, do you think the Giants viewed drafting Jason Pierre Paul as sending one of Umenyiora and Tuck on their way out?

You can never have too many versatile DLs who can play inside or out and attack the QB. The lack of DE depth has been almost as much a problem as our poor DT play the last several years. Having enough quality DEs to actually rotate them effectively (such as getting Doom off the field on obvious running downs) will only help.

Drek
07-11-2012, 03:24 PM
I don't know if you pay attention to other teams the way you do the Broncos, but did Warren/Bannan or Del Rio's DTs play in styles similar to Bunkley? Do you think the expectations of our DTs will change?

1. not really. I'm a Broncos fan first, NFL fan second. I freely admit that.

2. Del Rio has never had anything nearly as bad as the DT play Denver has experienced for nearly a decade now. Its hard to tell just how big an impact he could have.

3. I don't blame the problems with our DTs entirely on Bunkley, Benedict Allen, etc.. I think it was a perfectly formed **** storm where we had our top two starters in camp land on IR and as a result the team was forced to make due with square pegs in round holes. Bunkley and Thomas were never supposed to see that much playing time. Thomas has no clear cut role in any kind of defensive front. Maybe because he's a 'tweener, maybe because he's just not very good. McBean played significant snaps at DT, he's worthless as an inside run defender.

My only point is that Bunkley gets way too much praise for not sucking against the run last year. People act like we just lost Pat Williams in his prime. We didn't. He didn't suck, which is WAY better than any Broncos DT has done in a long time, but that doesn't mean he was actually really good either.

I'd take our current DT crop with an emerging Siliga and Bannan over Bunkley and Thomas, for what that's worth.

Broncos_OTM
07-11-2012, 03:25 PM
Thanks for the link. I see don't see why the staff is so enamored with Mays. I read somewhere that if we didn't re-sign him the Colts and Saints were going to offer him similar money to start.


Might as well throw the entire middle unless Carter/Harris can play at a serviceable level to help Adams out.
Indianapolis is switching to a 3-4 where he is a better fit. and NO signed two good mlbs this off season