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View Full Version : Developing defensive players: Will the new staff make the difference?


montrose
05-18-2009, 01:58 PM
I started this thread as a branch from another thread because I thought it merited more discussion. Concerning our old staff, and hope for the new one - who was the last defensive player (especially since Mike Shanahan foolishly fired Larry Coyer) that we can say undoubtedly got better? Obviously Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder haven't. Has Marcus Thomas really improved since his rookie season? Even Elvis Dumervil, can we say he's gotten better since his rookie season? Sure he had more sacks in 2007, but we could chalk that up to increased playing time - and those numbers dipped tremendously in 2008 despite being platooned more often than he was in 2007. Looking back at 2005, Karl Paymah never seemed to get better and Domonique Foxworth actually looked progressively worse each season until (despite reports he was looking great at camp) he looked so bad in the preseason we traded him for a 7th round pick and he played so well for Atlanta he earned a major contract from arguably this era's best defensive franchise in Baltimore. Has DJ Williams progressed a great deal from his rookie season? Again, this isn't to call out these players - I still think DJ's a very good LB but if I put film of him in 2008 against film from 2004 - will I see a vast difference? I have to think there is some type of correlation here, I'm not even going onto the Roderick Rogers' and Hamza Abdullah's of the world who spent extensive time on the bench or practice squad never to develop into steady players. Meanwhile, teams like the Ravens and Steelers develop not only their draft picks but projects as well. Is anyone here optimistically thinking this new assistant coaching staff, apparently of strong teaching skill, can not only help develop our new talent but possibly improve our existing players?

Hercules Rockefeller
05-18-2009, 02:11 PM
Hopefully, but any player development would be an improvement over the last set of defensive coaches.

broncosteven
05-18-2009, 02:15 PM
I tought Bates would make a huge impression on the front 7 and the overall attitude of the players.

I was WRONG

Coaches 1st responsiblity should be to teach fundamentals and get players in position to execute fundamentals, i.e. Make plays.

I don't expect any of our D vets to spring to life and become all pro's over night.

It takes talent and execution of fundamentals. If they players don't have/do either they will suck ass.

I hope the new guys make the D better but am not holding my breath.

Liquid Courage
05-18-2009, 02:16 PM
I'm not in the business of predicting the future, but what I do know is that the best instruction is worthless when given to those who don't want to learn. The theme from our draft this year was that it was loaded with kids who have a strong desire to be coached; I'm not certain that has always been the case. I recall last year the D-line had some martial arts expert teaching them hand techniques to improve their pursuit of the QB - that didn't seem to work out so well.

So anyway, hear is to hoping that the teachers will be better teachers and the learners better learners . . :pray:

dbfan21
05-18-2009, 02:19 PM
Good post, Montrose. I agree. We have not seen Denver's free agents get targeted since the likes of Bert Berry and Reggie Hayward. It seems as if no one has interest in our guys. Look at guys like Bly, Webster, Engleberger and Winborn...nobody has signed any of them...and there's a reason for that...they aren't even at a backup level or training camp fodder.

McD knew when to take the garbage out. That's why I am optimistic that the new coaching staff will attract and groom studs for our defense. :thumbsup:

The Joker
05-18-2009, 02:28 PM
I'm excited about the new LB coach, he did some good things with that group in Oakland.

Odds are it'll take a year or two to see any results though, so even if the new coaches are a massive upgrade it'll take a while in becoming apparent. We'll still improve on defense by virtue of Bob Slowik not calling the plays anymore, but I don't expect any heroics from the likes of Moss, Crowder and Thomas this season.

Kaylore
05-18-2009, 02:30 PM
Well losing Slowick getting axed made this defense immediately better. Nolan is no scrub, either. He's a great coordinator. Coordinators that fail as head coaches often do very well when they take their next demoted job. I'd take Ed Donatell over Slow any day of the week as a secondary coach too. I like Nunnely and Martindale a lot. They're hard asses that will speak their mind and not be soft on the players. We have a lot of hard-nosed good coaches on the staff. You need good players or it won't matter a whole lot, but Slowick was so awful I think you'll see a significant improvement this year. If our offense wasn't racking up yardage all year I have no doubt we would have fielded the worst defense in the history of the NFL last year.

The Joker
05-18-2009, 02:35 PM
Well losing Slowick getting axed made this defensive immediately better.

Shocking sentence for one so interested in grammar. :thumbsup:

cmhargrove
05-18-2009, 03:06 PM
I think seeing pro-bowl players to the door (like Bly) served notice that everyone has too earn their job. We got rid of a lot of starters, and the competition is wide open.

Was Nate Webster ever a good starting option, ever.....? Who here would have rather seen Spencer Larsen get more of a shot after proving himself with "rookie of the week" honors?

Some of the coaching decisions were just horrible, and we couldn't find a safety anywhere that would make a difference.

We are a better team, not doubt. We will still have plenty of growing pains, but we are more talented, with better coaching.

Florida_Bronco
05-18-2009, 03:13 PM
I tought Bates would make a huge impression on the front 7 and the overall attitude of the players.

I was WRONG

He probably would have, had Shanahan not cut him off at the knees less than midway through the season and effectively turn over the defense to the same moron who ran it last year...Slowik.

BroncoBuff
05-18-2009, 03:17 PM
He probably would have, had Shanahan not cut him off at the knees less than midway through the season and effectively turn over the defense to the same moron who ran it last year...Slowik.
Damn right ... firing Coyer was a huge mistake, but in hindsight, firing Jim Bates was a mistake too.

OOPS! Mike didn't fire Bates, he just reassigned him to LB coach :~ohyah!:


I'm just not bullish on new coaches being a panacea for disapopointing players, but the stories of Adelius Thomas and James Harrison sound a lot like what we might see with Dumervil ... we can hope.

SoDak Bronco
05-18-2009, 03:30 PM
we've had an epic run on defensive coordinators. let's hope Nolan and the crew will get more out of the players we have and develope the younger guys. I think one thing with Shanny is he was always trying to win with offense and didn't give much attention care to the defense. With McD he has coached on the defensive side of the ball and will hold the players more accountable and I think in return we will see better results.

gyldenlove
05-18-2009, 04:05 PM
Over the last 3 years we have had a lot of issues on defense. We have had little if any player continuity, no system continuity and the position coaches haven't been able to even get the fundamentals right.

I look at DJ as a good example, he came in and played well as a rookie, he used his athleticism and he does have a lot of that, he played to his strengths and his weaknesses were masked. Then he switches position and suddenly his weaknesses become more glaring because the new position doesn't fit his style as well. Another switch to the worst position for him and then a 4th switch back to his original position. I wouldn't say he has looked worse every year, but he never played at the level he did as a rookie, now clearly the rest of the defense is a lot less talented than it was back then, but it seems that he has spend so much time learning new positions and new systems that he never improved his fundamentals and he never improved his mental game.

I hope that especially at the defensive line we can get someone who can use our talent.

BroncoMan4ever
05-18-2009, 04:47 PM
i truly think Nolan will have these guys giving all they have, on every play this year. he isn't the guy to sit back and just let the players do what they want, he is going to get in the players facemasks and get his point through, plus his assistants are all pretty good as well.

our defense will be a lot better prepared and play a lot harder and meaner than in recent years.

Tombstone RJ
05-18-2009, 05:57 PM
I started this thread as a branch from another thread because I thought it merited more discussion. Concerning our old staff, and hope for the new one - who was the last defensive player (especially since Mike Shanahan foolishly fired Larry Coyer) that we can say undoubtedly got better? Obviously Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder haven't. Has Marcus Thomas really improved since his rookie season? Even Elvis Dumervil, can we say he's gotten better since his rookie season? Sure he had more sacks in 2007, but we could chalk that up to increased playing time - and those numbers dipped tremendously in 2008 despite being platooned more often than he was in 2007. Looking back at 2005, Karl Paymah never seemed to get better and Domonique Foxworth actually looked progressively worse each season until (despite reports he was looking great at camp) he looked so bad in the preseason we traded him for a 7th round pick and he played so well for Atlanta he earned a major contract from arguably this era's best defensive franchise in Baltimore. Has DJ Williams progressed a great deal from his rookie season? Again, this isn't to call out these players - I still think DJ's a very good LB but if I put film of him in 2008 against film from 2004 - will I see a vast difference? I have to think there is some type of correlation here, I'm not even going onto the Roderick Rogers' and Hamza Abdullah's of the world who spent extensive time on the bench or practice squad never to develop into steady players. Meanwhile, teams like the Ravens and Steelers develop not only their draft picks but projects as well. Is anyone here optimistically thinking this new assistant coaching staff, apparently of strong teaching skill, can not only help develop our new talent but possibly improve our existing players?

God, I hope so.

Really, I'm banking on the fact that the defense is gonna get better simply because Shanny and his defensive minions are gone.

Take Monte Reagor as an example. He pretty much did a whole lotta nothing when he was a Bronco. Since he left the Broncos he's been a solid starter for the Colts (nothing super fantastic, but he's been a consistent starter). Why didn't the Broncos develop this guy into a consistent starter for them? I don't get it.

For a long time, I've thought that the talent Denver had on defense wasn't all that bad. Sure, the Broncos had some glaring weaknesses (like the safety position) but overall, their defensive talent was on par with much of the league.

All I know is that under Shanny (the last 10 years or so) the defense has been inconsistent and lacking an identity. When Al Wilson left the team, the defense really went to hell. DJ Williams may be a solid LBer but he's been jerked around so much that he's probably forgotten how much he once enjoyed playing the game. DJ is a prime example of a talented player being wasted under a Mike Shanahan defense.

The other thing about Shanny is he always expected the players to conform to his defenses. In other words, he was always hammering square pegs into round holes and expecting results. THAT AIN'T THE WAY YOU BUILD A DEFENSE!! IMHO, it's just the opposite. You build a defense that accentuates it's strengths, and minimizes it's weaknesses. If that means switching to a fricken 3-4 defense because you have players that fit a 3-4 scheme more than a 4-3 scheme than you do it.

However, it all comes down to an identity. You have to have a basic philosophy and a basic identity on defense. Shanny always wanted a base 4-3 but he could never find the players to maximize the 4-3 schemes he was running (DE anybody?). Why he failed so miserable at building a good 4-3 defense is beyond me. All I know is that the defense never really had an identity the way The Orange Crush had, or any good defense has.

Why is the Ravens defense so good? They have an identity and a leader in Ray Lewis. Like him or hate him, he sets the tone for not just the defense, but the entire team. Shanahan never understood this, or he simply never cared about it. Well, now he's gone...

montrose
05-18-2009, 06:51 PM
I think the thread is slightly going away from my original point which wasn't so much the coordination or scheme of the defense but rather the teachings and development of individuals on the defense. Tombstone made a good point with Reagor. Another example is Mr. AWOL Nick Eason who is presently a key rotational member of Pittsburgh's 3-man DL.

I have no doubt Nolan will be an upgrade over Slowik as a DC, but Coyer was a fantastic DC. Bates has a fine reputation as a DC as well. It's my belief that while the scheme has been an issue, a greater issue have been the assistant coaches and their ability to develop the skills of young players. I look at a guy like Moss, and wonder if he had been drafted by the Giants - how good we he be right now? Even a solid defender like DJ - had he been drafted by Chicago, would he have improved?

As big of a problem as Slowik's scheme was - I'm beginning to think our porous position coaches on defense were an even greater issue.

Florida_Bronco
05-18-2009, 07:23 PM
I think the thread is slightly going away from my original point which wasn't so much the coordination or scheme of the defense but rather the teachings and development of individuals on the defense. Tombstone made a good point with Reagor. Another example is Mr. AWOL Nick Eason who is presently a key rotational member of Pittsburgh's 3-man DL.

I have no doubt Nolan will be an upgrade over Slowik as a DC, but Coyer was a fantastic DC. Bates has a fine reputation as a DC as well. It's my belief that while the scheme has been an issue, a greater issue have been the assistant coaches and their ability to develop the skills of young players. I look at a guy like Moss, and wonder if he had been drafted by the Giants - how good we he be right now? Even a solid defender like DJ - had he been drafted by Chicago, would he have improved?

As big of a problem as Slowik's scheme was - I'm beginning to think our porous position coaches on defense were an even greater issue.

It's no coincidence that we've failed to develop any solid defensive linemen since Jacob Burney was hired. At least bringing in Bill Johnson made the DTs respectable last year.

Now we have a bunch of proven position coaches instead of a bunch of Shanny's friends and I expect that the play on the field will represent that.

Tombstone RJ
05-18-2009, 07:55 PM
I think the thread is slightly going away from my original point which wasn't so much the coordination or scheme of the defense but rather the teachings and development of individuals on the defense. Tombstone made a good point with Reagor. Another example is Mr. AWOL Nick Eason who is presently a key rotational member of Pittsburgh's 3-man DL.

I have no doubt Nolan will be an upgrade over Slowik as a DC, but Coyer was a fantastic DC. Bates has a fine reputation as a DC as well. It's my belief that while the scheme has been an issue, a greater issue have been the assistant coaches and their ability to develop the skills of young players. I look at a guy like Moss, and wonder if he had been drafted by the Giants - how good we he be right now? Even a solid defender like DJ - had he been drafted by Chicago, would he have improved?

As big of a problem as Slowik's scheme was - I'm beginning to think our porous position coaches on defense were an even greater issue.

It's really hard to know if the position coaches just weren't doing their jobs, or the talent they were working with was not up to the task. It's probably a combo of both.

I really think that Nolans defenses will be better because he has a specific type of defense in mind, and with that, he and McD can get the right players to fit that system. The new position coaches--hopefully--are better teachers and motivators than the last guys. Everybody has to be on the same page, everyone has to buy into an "identity." This is who we are, this is what we do, and this is how we do it! The whole defense has to understand this philosophy.

lookin' glass
05-18-2009, 09:30 PM
Between McDaniels hiring the defensive coaches he did and his ideas of what he wants from the defense I don't mind having Nolan as DC. When Donatell was in Denver before the DBs played very well. San Diego's DL/LB had a number of later round, UDFA guys that contributed a lot more than any of the Broncos the last couple of years and the Raiders LBs were the same way. So I think Montrose's teaching defense points are spot on. I think this defense will get better as the season goes on because the players will learn how they can use their skills to contribute to the overall scheme.

Taco John
05-18-2009, 09:43 PM
Having any continuity at all would be an improvement.

Florida_Bronco
05-18-2009, 09:49 PM
It's really hard to know if the position coaches just weren't doing their jobs, or the talent they were working with was not up to the task. It's probably a combo of both.

It's well documented, both by our training camp "reporters" and player testimony that the defensive was not given much instruction in the way of pass rushing.

footstepsfrom#27
05-18-2009, 11:23 PM
I think we've had the worst set of defensive coaches in the league for several years. McD & his henchmen ought to be able to improve on this mess if they do nothing but hand out towels for the showers.

ZONA
05-18-2009, 11:59 PM
I actually did go into some details about this exact thing. I also noticed that we were not seeing much if any improvement of defensive players once they were drafted by the Broncos for the past 5 or 6 years. Not only were many of the schemes bad on defense, we were not giving our drafted defensive players a stepping stone to improve their game. Sure, they could get on a more serious lifting schedule to become a more physical and athletic player, but I haven't seen any good development from any new defensive players. And when you looked at the offense in comparison, we were seeing late rounders pan out and improving all the time.

Yes, part of it does have to do with such a terrible scheme. If you have improved, it's hard to show it when you are either out of position or confused at what's exactly going on.

I do think we will improve just on the fact that Nolan knows more then his previous coaches. Hopefully that will translate into better individual performances and unit performances on the field.

BroncoMan4ever
05-19-2009, 12:00 AM
Damn right ... firing Coyer was a huge mistake, but in hindsight, firing Jim Bates was a mistake too.

OOPS! Mike didn't fire Bates, he just reassigned him to LB coach :~ohyah!:


I'm just not bullish on new coaches being a panacea for disapopointing players, but the stories of Adelius Thomas and James Harrison sound a lot like what we might see with Dumervil ... we can hope.

i tell you, Doom is the one guy changing positions that i think is going to hit the ground running. i think he is going to become an elite 3-4 pass rushing OLB.

Kaylore
05-19-2009, 12:12 AM
As big of a problem as Slowik's scheme was - I'm beginning to think our porous position coaches on defense were an even greater issue.
Med has been screaming for them to get rid of Jacob Burney for years. I know Pryce didn't like him and he certainly didn't ever seem to have a unit he could hang his hat on. At this point anything else is better.

Bronco Yoda
05-19-2009, 02:56 AM
I'm not sure we could get much worse. The one good thing about hitting rock bottom is that there's only one way to go... and that's up.