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Popps
07-12-2009, 05:37 PM
Pretty nice breakdown.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/216435-inside-the-denver-broncos-roster-the-defensive-ends/page/2

At long last, this series has finally reached the defensive side of the ball, where we will begin by dissecting the Denver Broncos' defensive line.

The defensive lines Denver has put out in recent years have been absolutely horrendous, and have been a real Achille's Heel for the defensive unit.

The Broncos were constantly changing personnel, coaches, and alignments to rectify their problems up front, but absolutely nothing was working.

The team even devoted 75 percent of its 2007 draft class to the defensive line, and the results have been less than impressive, to say the least.

New head coach Josh McDaniels has been absolutely hammered by fans, media, and critics alike for seemingly avoiding upgrading the Broncos' defensive line via free agency and the NFL Draft, but I would contend that the new regime in Denver has significantly upgraded this area of the team, particularly at defensive end.

In 2008, the average size for a Broncos' defensive end was 6'3" and 268 pounds, which includes the 6'6", 298-pound Nic Clemons.

For 2009, the average size for a defensive end in Denver heading to training camp is 6'4" and a whopping 298 pounds. That is a difference of 30 pounds for those keeping track at home.

I know, it does not necessarily mean that the talent has been significantly upgraded, but it cannot get much worse than the 2008 unit, and the Broncos have beefed up their frontline significantly. The run defense will be improved, and this crop of defensive ends will be a huge reason why.

According to McDaniels, there are no clear cut starters along the defensive line, which would explain why the Broncos will likely go into camp with eight players vying for a job.

One has to imagine that third year player Marcus Thomas will have a roster spot locked in thanks to his consistent play over the last two seasons.

Thomas has been one of the very few bright spots along the Denver defensive line, and may be the most versatile lineman the Broncos currently boast.

He started five games in his rookie campaign of 2007, and was penciled in as the starter for all 16 regular season contests in 2008. In that time frame, Thomas has 53 tackles and two interceptions.

Coming out of Florida three years ago, Thomas had his share of off-field issues, but scouts felt that the Broncos had nabbed a first round talent with their fourth round pick acquired from the Minnesota Vikings.

Thomas has yet to live up to that lofty potential, but he is steadily growing as a player, both figuratively and literally.

He had been checking in at around 290 pounds over the last couple of seasons before growing to 300 at the end of the 2008 campaign, and now he is all the way up to 305 pounds. Some feel the reason for this is that the Broncos would like to use his versatility at nose tackle, which is definitely a possibility if he can get up to 310 or 315 pounds by the time training camp begins.

Thomas will compete for a starting spot with Ryan McBean, a fourth round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft who was taken 11 picks after the Broncos selected Thomas.

McBean began his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers who were absolutely loaded at the defensive end position, and he was placed on their practice squad.

He had a couple of stints on Pittsburgh's active roster, but has only seen game action once in his short career. The Broncos feel he has potential to make an impact at defensive end, but the jury is still out.

One of the more intriguing players at the defensive end position for the Broncos is 26 year old undrafted rookie free agent and Iraq veteran Rulon Davis.

Davis, formerly of the Cal Golden Bears, joins the Broncos with a decorated background, one that includes being named after former Denver defensive lineman Rulon Jones.

Many fans are pushing hard for Davis to make the final roster, and for good reason. He has displayed great athleticism and versatility in his days at Cal, and the Broncos feel he can play at defensive end or possibly even outside linebacker in their new 3-4 defensive scheme.

Another rookie defensive lineman fans are excited about is former Northern Iowa star Everette Pedescleaux.

Pedescleaux is a giant of a man at 6'6" 305 pounds, and he has proven to be a very valuable asset throughout his football career in college, racking up 112 tackles, 11 sacks and six blocked kicks. He was also a part of the UNI basketball team early in his college days.

One familiar face along the defensive line and at defensive end will be seven year veteran Kenny Peterson, the eldest of the Broncos' defensive bigs.

Peterson, often referred to as "Patterson", was the only notable defensive free agent retained by the Broncos' new staff, and he appears to be an ideal fit for a 3-4 defensive end.

He has played both end and tackle in his three seasons with the Broncos, and last season played in all 16 games while recording 24 tackles, three sacks, and one fumble forced.

Peterson could very easily be one of the opening day starters at defensive end for Denver.

One player Broncos fans are most excited to get the chance to see play is second year pro Carlton Powell, a fifth round pick last season out of Virginia Tech.

Powell stands at 6'3" 300 pounds, and the former Hokie is regarded as a run-stopping specialist by scouts, so one can imagine why Broncos fans are eager to get this kid on the field.

He was placed last season on the physically unable to perform list, and never made it to the Broncos' active roster.

Another former mid-round draft pick that will compete for a defensive line spot is Matthias Askew, a fourth round pick of the Bengals in 2004.

Askew has spent two seasons out of football, and seems like a long-shot to make the Broncos' final roster.

Rounding out the list of defensive ends is the third-year pro Clemons, who saw his most significant playing time last season for the Broncos, recording 13 total tackles.

The enormous Clemons was signed to a future contract in 2008 by the Broncos after spending 2006 and 2007 out of football altogether.

He played in a career-high 10 games last season, and hopes to make the Broncos' final roster for the second straight year.

The defensive end position for the Denver Broncos is by no means flashy, but there is no doubt this unit is a significant upgrade over last season, especially when considering the hiring of former San Diego Chargers defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely, which cannot be overlooked.

Popps
07-12-2009, 05:41 PM
Added to this breakdown should probably be the fact that Ayers will do some lining up at DE, as well... which is intriguing.

I also love the scheme change as a way to get two play-makers like Ayers and Dumervil on the field at the same time at OLB.

Remember, we're not looking for D-line help in the way we were looking in the past. (4-3 dominant pass-rushing DEs.) Our pressure will come from the OLBs, primarily.

Check out the Steelers' linemen's stats if you want to know how drastically different the roles of the DL v. the LBs will be for us from here on out.

That's another reason I share this writer's optimism for the front seven, going forward.

azbroncfan
07-12-2009, 05:48 PM
All I know is the DE's were upgraded immensly when Engelberger was cut. You knew the past two years the D was going to suck once he was trotted out as a starter.

24champ
07-12-2009, 05:59 PM
I thought the only threads Popps makes are Anti-Cutler threads.

Anyway, we don't have much experience up front. I would have liked to pick up some stop-gap guys while the lesser experienced guys learn the system. A lot of these guys are cast offs (Askew /McBean) from other teams. Some are real projects (Pedescleaux/Rulon Davis). Seems that the rest are Shanny holdovers. In other words, no real upgrades on DL. Same ol shiat.

Let's just call the DL what it is...junk. There was no real effort to upgrade the DL. Maybe we will get it right next offseason....or we can just ship off another QB for some draft picks we can waste away.:thumbs:

Popps
07-12-2009, 06:07 PM
I thought the only threads Popps makes are Anti-Cutler threads.:

That's weird, considering only 1 of the last 20 threads I've posted dating back to the draft even mention Cutler. (And that was simply a contractual poll.)

So, I guess you thought wrong... again. But, that shouldn't surprise anyone.

Here's a better idea: try to go 3 posts without mentioning him, yourself. Or, does that mean you'd have to release your johnson for 5 minutes?

Popps
07-12-2009, 06:12 PM
All I know is the DE's were upgraded immensly when Engelberger was cut. You knew the past two years the D was going to suck once he was trotted out as a starter.

Yep, there was a massive addition by subtraction improvement there, but I also believe the scheme change will provide boost, provided Elvis can make the move over, which I believe he will.

Thomas is going to be a real key for us. If he can continue to improve, that's a major boost. I love the idea of him at DE in a 3-4, but word is the staff might be looking at him as a NT, as well.

Can't wait for camp to see how this starts to shake out.

24champ
07-12-2009, 06:16 PM
That's weird, considering only 1 of the last 20 threads I've posted dating back to the draft even mention Cutler. (And that was simply a contractual poll.)


After the draft, sure. If you want to be picky about the timeline.

Certainly none were about the defense.

Florida_Bronco
07-12-2009, 06:23 PM
I would have liked to pick up some stop-gap guys Like who?

while the lesser experienced guys learn the system. A lot of these guys are cast offs (Askew /McBean) from other teams. So was Bertrand Berry. We turned him into a really good player for a couple years. Courtney Brown, Ekuban and Kenard Lang were all cast offs as well and we pulled decent production from them.

Popps
07-12-2009, 06:30 PM
After the draft, sure. If you want to be picky about the timeline.

Certainly none were about the defense.

I spent the last decade posting about the defense, only to have folks like you tell me that all we needed to do was swap QBs and we'd be in the Superbowl.

We swapped QBs... and the organization went to ****.

I'll allow the new staff some time to build the defense up before I make any definitive judgments, thanks. I know that's a crazy concept.

Beyond that... 5 of those 20 threads involved either defensive players directly, or team wrap-ups/news which covered defensive issues.

You just ain't that bright, are ya, son?

24champ
07-12-2009, 06:33 PM
Like who?


Canty, Olshansky, Holliday, Grady Jackson. etc. Again these guys would be stop gap guys. They have some experience.

Florida_Bronco
07-12-2009, 06:43 PM
Canty Got a pretty good pay day from a 4-3 team. No 3-4 teams showed much interest in him.

Olshansky We showed no interest in him with his former DL coach on staff. Think there might have been a reason for that?

Holliday Would like to have him, but he still wants too much money and remains unsigned.

Grady Jackson The only one I would have liked to have signed besides Holliday and the Lions threw $8 million at him.

Popps
07-12-2009, 06:46 PM
Canty, Olshansky, Holliday, Grady Jackson. etc. Again these guys would be stop gap guys. They have some experience.

Are you kidding?

Canty broke the bank. He was the best 3-4 DE in free agency. I would have been all for it, but it's hardly "stop-gap."

Igor was also overpaid.

Jackson is 100 years old... Holiday is old, but I wouldn't have minded him.

We signed a couple of DEs, drafted some and have some holdovers who may work out well at varying roles.

The staff was unlikely to go bust the bank on a guy like Igor before we knew what we had already.

The more legitimate argument is that we don't have a pure 3-4 NT, at this point, though... Baker is intriguing. I actually expect that we'll be fine at DE, again... understanding the difference between our old system and our new one. A guy like Peterson is custom-made to work as a 3-4 DE. I thought he was one of the few productive linemen we had last year.

We've got 3 defensive line spots to worry about and a ton of guys with potential upside. Let's save the panic until we know what we have. If our line is **** by the end of this season, I'll be the loudest voice out there calling for more help.

But, I'm intrigued to see what this group we have looks like, first.

24champ
07-12-2009, 06:47 PM
Got a pretty good pay day from a 4-3 team. No 3-4 teams showed much interest in him.

We showed no interest in him with his former DL coach on staff. Think there might have been a reason for that?

Would like to have him, but he still wants too much money and remains unsigned.

The only one I would have liked to have signed besides Holliday and the Lions threw $8 million at him.

Would have been an upgrade over...
PETERSON: 1 start in 6 years, this past season for an injured Ekuban
FIELDS: 9 starts in 4 years ... all 9 as an injury fill-in in 2006
McBEAN: Has played in just 1 game ever, and was out of the league last year

and you know it.

Florida_Bronco
07-12-2009, 06:50 PM
Would have been an upgrade over...and you know it.

That's debatable. Peterson has been hanging around our roster for sometime now and always looked good when we finally let him play. Fields is a young talent that still has unrealized potential. He's someone we can groom for the future.

Rabb
07-12-2009, 06:59 PM
good read, for the optimists it is exciting

of course, some people can't help but **** on it

BroncoBuff
07-12-2009, 07:38 PM
Fields is a young talent that still has unrealized potential. He's someone we can groom for the future.
I disagree with just this one thumbnail of yours: Fields has played four years and never started a game on merit. He's closer to journeyman status than he is to "grooming" potential.


(Grady Jackson) is the only one I would have liked to have sign, and the Lions threw $8 million at him.Wow. I admit I wanted Grady here badly, but at that price - for a two year rental - no spank you.

And that signing is the perfect example of poor roster management (by the Lions, go figure): Last year they let All-Pro Shaun Rogers leave, and early this off-season they traded Cory Redding to Seattle. So they left themselves a gaping roster hole they were forced to fill by overpaying a cantankerous graybeard :clown:



You just ain't that bright, are ya, son?
Wtf is wrong with you?! Must be some personal problem, all you do is ooze anger and insults constantly. You start threads and take dumb positions on purpose, just so you can pick fights :oyvey:



I'm glad the article talked up MT, imo he's our best D-lineman now. It wasn't a professional article of course, but I still wish they'd said something about Chris Baker ... anybody hear anything lately?

Popps
07-12-2009, 07:52 PM
That's debatable. Peterson has been hanging around our roster for sometime now and always looked good when we finally let him play. Fields is a young talent that still has unrealized potential. He's someone we can groom for the future.

Peterson is a DT/DE tweener, which was even more surprising that he was effective for us last year. I thought he and Ekuban were the only ones that showed flashes last year.

Peterson won't go to any Pro Bowls, but I've been high on him since we brought him in. He could be 1/3rd of a productive 3-4 DL, imo.

In theory, that would leave two positions... and....

-Thomas
-Fields
-Powell
-Baker
-Jones
-Ayers (split)
-Reid
-McBean
-And a few others...

... to fight for those two jobs.

I'm optimistic that we'd be able to fill those two spots respectably if Peterson takes one.

Again, the potential lack of a true NT could be an issue, but you can't always address everything in one off-season. I also believe the staff when they say we'll see a hybrid, at times.

For instance, I wouldn't be surprised to see a guy like Reid bounce from LB to DE on running downs... with a front four of something like Thomas-Peterson-Fields-Reid. (Short yardage, etc.)

Should be fun to watch it play out.

BroncoBuff
07-12-2009, 07:53 PM
Let's just call the DL what it is...junk. There was no real effort to upgrade the DL. Maybe we will get it right next offseason....or we can just ship off another QB for some draft picks we can waste away.:thumbs:"Junk" is a strong word, but sad to say it's not that far off when you look closely at the personnel.

At least the article suggests they're paying attention to MT, and that he will "battle" McBean to start (and by "battle," I think they're comparing it to U.S.A. vs. Grenada :~ohyah!:)

And if you're offended by the word "junk," here's a fun fact for you: Marcus Thomas has about twice as many career starts than ALL our other D-linemen put together.


Peterson has been hanging around our roster for sometime now and always looked good when we finally let him play.Agreed ... I've been really high on Peterson since the start ... great swim move, decent pass rush and good bulk. Just like MT, he seems well-suited to the 3-4 DE position.

Malcontent
07-12-2009, 07:54 PM
Man..I actually liked that story...but the wolves had to attack everything and screw up what would have been a pretty decent thread. Getting old I suppose.

BroncoBuff
07-12-2009, 07:56 PM
Man..I actually liked that story...but the wolves had to attack everything and screw up what would have been a pretty decent thread. Getting old I suppose.

Dude ... other than MT, every one of those guys was a free agent, a castoff. Every single one.

You're optimistic, fine. But an objective appraisal indicates otherwise.

TheReverend
07-12-2009, 07:57 PM
In 2008, the average size for a Broncos' defensive end was 6'3" and 268 pounds, which includes the 6'6", 298-pound Nic Clemons.

For 2009, the average size for a defensive end in Denver heading to training camp is 6'4" and a whopping 298 pounds. That is a difference of 30 pounds for those keeping track at home.

That is a difference of 3-4 and 4-3 for those keeping track at home, actually. ROFL!

Malcontent
07-12-2009, 08:01 PM
Dude ... other than MT, every one of those guys was a free agent, a castoff. Every single one.

You're optimistic, fine. But an objective appraisal indicates otherwise.

Where did I give my opinion? I just was commenting on the overall anger in the thread...

BroncoBuff
07-12-2009, 08:08 PM
Where did I give my opinion? I just was commenting on the overall anger in the thread...Well, you're not really saying that by "wolves" you meant somebody other than me, Rev, Florida, Champ and DB4L?

And regarding your "overall anger" observation, maybe. But just like MT's starts, Popps has more anger in this thread than the rest of the posters combined ;D

JCMElway
07-12-2009, 08:12 PM
Great article Popps. I'd love to see the rest of the D sized up when they publish it.

Malcontent
07-12-2009, 08:13 PM
Well, you're not really saying that by "wolves" you meant somebody other than me, Rev, Florida, Champ and DB4L?

And regarding your "overall anger" observation, maybe. But just like MT's starts, Popps has more anger in this thread than the rest of the posters combined ;D

I guess the DL issues the past..oh...decade have us all in a chokehold, so I can see why it drives us to verbal fistfighting...Nothing to see here..move along.

Popps
07-12-2009, 08:14 PM
Man..I actually liked that story...but the wolves had to attack everything and screw up what would have been a pretty decent thread. Getting old I suppose.

Yea, it's pretty funny... there are really only like 5-10 widows out there, but they poop on every football-related thread they can. I haven't checked the American Idol thread, but I imagine the widows will turn that into some kind of Cutler eulogy.

It's basically a handful of sad people who just can't move on.

---

With regards to the article, I agree. It's somewhat encouraging. I do think the writer should have talked more about Ayers, though. He'll be part of the DL rotation, at times.... and potentially an important part.

One problem with breaking down what we have on defense is that we all really just don't know what we're looking at, yet. Tough to know exactly what we "need" until we see what we have.

DBroncos4life
07-12-2009, 08:15 PM
Well, you're not really saying that by "wolves" you meant somebody other than me, Rev, Florida, Champ and DB4L?

And regarding your "overall anger" observation, maybe. But just like MT's starts, Popps has more anger in this thread than the rest of the posters combined ;D

nobody pisses more vinegar then me nobody!!!

Popps
07-12-2009, 08:17 PM
Oh, and Nolan over Slowick alone should be good for at least one win.

Probably our biggest defensive upgrade, right there.

FireFly
07-12-2009, 08:19 PM
I actually have a lot of optimisim regarding the potential of our D-line. I particularly hope that MT plays and end though, I think in the long term that's where he can be most effective.

Are people saying that Powell is more suited for end or NT?

Br0nc0Buster
07-12-2009, 08:27 PM
This is the part of the defense that worries me the most

I would imagine guys like Thomas, Powell(if he makes the team), Baker(if he makes it), and Fields will be spending time at both NT AND DE to compensate for our lack of pure 3-4 ends

oh well Rome wasnt built in a day, I didnt expect our defense to be built in one offseason

Popps
07-12-2009, 08:30 PM
This is the part of the defense that worries me the most

I would imagine guys like Thomas, Powell(if he makes the team), Baker(if he makes it), and Fields will be spending time at both NT AND DE to compensate for our lack of pure 3-4 ends

oh well Rome wasnt built in a day, I didnt expect our defense to be built in one offseason

Again, it's hard to know what we're talking about... but I sure think Thomas would make a nice 3-4 end, as would Peterson and potentially Powell.

But, we've got to get Powell on the field, first.

Br0nc0Buster
07-12-2009, 08:30 PM
I actually have a lot of optimisim regarding the potential of our D-line. I particularly hope that MT plays and end though, I think in the long term that's where he can be most effective.

Are people saying that Powell is more suited for end or NT?

I would think if he can gain more weight he would be a better fit at NT

He was dominant in run support in college, he has the potential to be an anchor for our line

24champ
07-12-2009, 08:38 PM
I'm glad the article talked up MT, imo he's our best D-lineman now. It wasn't a professional article of course, but I still wish they'd said something about Chris Baker ... anybody hear anything lately?

I agree about MT and the article. In fact this article reminds me of a Bob article for WPI.

footstepsfrom#27
07-12-2009, 10:03 PM
That's weird, considering only 1 of the last 20 threads I've posted dating back to the draft even mention Cutler.
Thread jack comes in handy huh?

Cito Pelon
07-13-2009, 10:26 AM
I thought the only threads Popps makes are Anti-Cutler threads.

Anyway, we don't have much experience up front. I would have liked to pick up some stop-gap guys while the lesser experienced guys learn the system. A lot of these guys are cast offs (Askew /McBean) from other teams. Some are real projects (Pedescleaux/Rulon Davis). Seems that the rest are Shanny holdovers. In other words, no real upgrades on DL. Same ol shiat.

Let's just call the DL what it is...junk. There was no real effort to upgrade the DL. Maybe we will get it right next offseason....or we can just ship off another QB for some draft picks we can waste away.:thumbs:

Dude, you are about as sourpuss as I've seen lately. The article didn't even mention Crowder and Moss, who I think can play at DE in the 3-4. They're both pretty good at holding the point of attack against the run. Denver will end up with a pretty good rotation at DE in 2009 after it's all sorted out in TC.

What people forget about is the DL was not the biggest problem last year against the run. The problem was LB's and safeties that couldn't fill the inevitable gaps that DL's sometimes produce.

Look at the stats from last year. Denver gave up a huge amount of 20+ yard runs. That's LB, safety, and even CB problems.

You show me a team that leads the league in 20+ rushes and getting gashed galore on screens and short passes to RB's, and I'll show you a team with LB and safety problems.

The team addressed the safety and LB shortcomings, I'm pretty sure this will be a stout run D, but obviously we have to wait and see.

Popps
07-13-2009, 10:40 AM
What people forget about is the DL was not the biggest problem last year against the run. The problem was LB's and safeties that couldn't fill the inevitable gaps that DL's sometimes produce.

Look at the stats from last year. Denver gave up a huge amount of 20+ yard runs. That's LB, safety, and even CB problems.

You show me a team that leads the league in 20+ rushes and getting gashed galore on screens and short passes to RB's, and I'll show you a team with LB and safety problems..

Great point... and enter Brian Dawkins. Andra Davis was also brought in to solidify the LBs against the run, as well.

I do think our front four was a huge issue against the pass last season, but we had a guy on one side who was high-school level talent, and a guy on the other side who was talented but extremely undersized.

It's also worth noting that Dawkins is a great blitzer and no stranger to making plays behind the LOS.

gyldenlove
07-13-2009, 10:41 AM
Oh, and Nolan over Slowick alone should be good for at least one win.

Probably our biggest defensive upgrade, right there.

You could argue that S is more upgraded than DC, but no other position has been upgraded as much as those two.

SonOfLe-loLang
07-13-2009, 10:42 AM
I think our size alone will help the run game. We are basically running a 5-2. It's just harder to push around bigger guys (sometimes its not that complicated).

gyldenlove
07-13-2009, 10:43 AM
Dude, you are about as sourpuss as I've seen lately. The article didn't even mention Crowder and Moss, who I think can play at DE in the 3-4. They're both pretty good at holding the point of attack against the run. Denver will end up with a pretty good rotation at DE in 2009 after it's all sorted out in TC.

What people forget about is the DL was not the biggest problem last year against the run. The problem was LB's and safeties that couldn't fill the inevitable gaps that DL's sometimes produce.

Look at the stats from last year. Denver gave up a huge amount of 20+ yard runs. That's LB, safety, and even CB problems.

You show me a team that leads the league in 20+ rushes and getting gashed galore on screens and short passes to RB's, and I'll show you a team with LB and safety problems.

The team addressed the safety and LB shortcomings, I'm pretty sure this will be a stout run D, but obviously we have to wait and see.

Quite a few of those big plays we gave up on the run was caused by linemen getting to the second level and taking out our linebackers (and the ever dangerous combination of Nate Webster and John Engelberger).

Popps
07-13-2009, 10:46 AM
You could argue that S is more upgraded than DC, but no other position has been upgraded as much as those two.

Just think about the effect a healthy John Lynch had for us. He made the entire defense better.

I hope we can get a couple seasons like that out of Dawkins while we rebuild this thing.

Cito Pelon
07-13-2009, 11:01 AM
Quite a few of those big plays we gave up on the run was caused by linemen getting to the second level and taking out our linebackers (and the ever dangerous combination of Nate Webster and John Engelberger).

Yah, there was some breakdowns on the interior. Dwayne Robertson was crap. Thomas got blown off the LOS quite a few times.

I'm hoping the interior DL has been upgraded, or at the least will be no worse, and I think the back 7 has been upgraded and as I pointed out above I thought that was one of the biggest problems last year.

Rock Chalk
07-13-2009, 12:02 PM
I agree about MT and the article. In fact this article reminds me of a Bob article for WPI.

Thats because it IS similar.

Its a bleacher report article. Written by a fan who didnt get paid but offered him his opinion and breakdown of it.

Its not a professional article, but its a damn sight better than anything you have posted since you got to this site.

It was a good attempt to breakdown the defensive line with limited information.