PDA

View Full Version : Denver Post: Nolan needs time, talent


Bronco Rob
08-05-2009, 06:49 AM
Even Mike Nolan doesn't know if the Broncos' defense will be any good this year. And he's the guy in charge of it, so if he doesn't know, your neighbor probably doesn't either.

When I asked the Broncos' fourth defensive coordinator in four years if the talent among his obscure defensive linemen is adequate to the NFL task, his answer was both honest and a little disconcerting:

"I think it is, but you'll find out, obviously, in competition, because when a guy hasn't been on film, you really don't know what you're going to get until you get out there and play," he said. "So it's a hard one to answer until we play some games."

Now, let's face it, NFL defensive coordinators seldom decline comment on whether their players are good enough to get the job done. Nolan literally doesn't know. He has never seen most of these guys before. He couldn't find game tape on some of them.

"The reality is we don't have a lot of starting experience, but that doesn't mean we don't have players," he said of the linemen. "The guys are working hard. We're finding out a lot about them. There wasn't a lot of film on them to try to evaluate them, so we're doing a lot of evaluations."

If the season started today, the Broncos would likely start a strongside end who has appeared in one NFL game (Ryan McBean), a nose tackle who has not started a game since 2006 (Ronald Fields) and a weakside end who was a member of last year's much- maligned unit (Kenny Peterson).

Among the alternatives are two more members of last year's crew (Marcus Thomas and Nic Clemons), a player who last appeared in an NFL game four years ago (Matthias Askew) and a second-year nose tackle who missed his rookie season with a torn Achilles tendon (Carlton Powell).

Any of these guys could be supplanted by a waiver-wire refugee when teams make their final cuts.

By comparison, the linebacking corps is well-known. The challenge there is half of them are learning a new position former defensive linemen now playing outside linebacker.

"It's easier for some than others," Nolan said. "Some guys are better space players than others."

Somebody asked him what the strength of his defense is likely to be.

"Boy, we'll have to wait and see on that one," Nolan said.

So that's encouraging.

The conventional wisdom points to the secondary, which Josh McDaniels stocked with veteran NFL starters. But it's worth remembering that Mike Shanahan, his predecessor, also invested heavily in the secondary, assembling what he considered an elite cornerback tandem of Champ Bailey and Dre Bly. For the same reasons that McDaniels signed veteran safety Brian Dawkins this year, Shanahan signed John Lynch five years ago.

But the defensive line's chronic failure to put pressure on the opposing quarterback doomed Shanahan's defenses. Even the best defensive backs can cover for only so long.

Without a proven pass rusher on his interior line, Nolan will try to pressure the quarterback with his outside linebackers, former pass-rushing defensive ends such as Elvis Dumervil and rookie Robert Ayers. Opponents will no doubt try to force them to play pass coverage.

What has to stop is blaming the coordinator for a lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball. That's what Shanahan did in his final years as head coach, going through defensive coordinators like golf shirts. Unwilling to acknowledge his own personnel mistakes, he insisted the defensive failings were all about scheme and coaching.

One defensive coordinator after another tried to make this delusion come true. One after another failed.

Other organizations don't blame them for failing in Denver, which tells you how they diagnosed the problem. Jim Bates, author of the 2007 disaster, takes over this year for Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator at Tampa Bay. Larry Coyer, fired to make room for Bates, has the job in Indianapolis. Bob Slowik, author of the 2008 disaster, will likely have the job wherever Shanahan lands.

The lesson isn't complicated. With good players, experienced coordinators such as these can succeed. Without them, they can't.

McDaniels began rebuilding last year's 30th-ranked scoring defense by replacing eight of 11 starters. But Ayers is this year's only high-profile investment in the front seven. If Nolan is to succeed, McDaniels will have to give him time and talent.

On the bright side, it can't get much worse than last year. Whether this year will be much better is anybody's guess. Even the guy in charge says so.




http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_12993800?source=rss




:afro:

Mediator12
08-05-2009, 07:06 AM
Wow, that is the first time anyone in the media asked about the talent on the front seven and got honest answers! That is a perfect recap of the failings of those defenses. You need talent along the DL to play any scheme in the NFL, we saw what happens when you do not have it.....

lex
08-05-2009, 07:27 AM
Let me guess. This is another Klis piece.

no-pseudo-fan
08-05-2009, 07:33 AM
I am concerned about the front 7, at least some of them. I am not worried at all about WILB(DJ) or SILB(Davis). I am confident that the other 2 OLB will be successful in what they are asked to do. Now the 3 DL are another story. If they can just keep the OL off the LB's that would be great, if one of them can become somewhat of a playmaker that is gravy. We will see what it looks like very soon.

521 1N5
08-05-2009, 07:34 AM
This may be a rough couple seasons. Keep this coaching staff in tact and let's rebuild this thing.

Gcver2ver3
08-05-2009, 07:40 AM
eh...his answers are fair, but that sounds like "job security" type answers to me...

he wants to still have a job in case the D sucks this year...

quite frankly, i can't blame him for it...but i'd like to hear more confidence from our DC than that...

Mediator12
08-05-2009, 07:56 AM
The thing is, any DC in the league with the unknown talent level on the front seven DEN has, should say the same thing. Practice film is not the same as game film, and this Front is woefully inexperienced and could be totally devoid of any playmakers. The preseason will give you some indication, but really it will be weeks 3-4 that tell the tale about how decent this DL will be.

None of the players on this DL are a given NFL starter. Sure, some may be, but not one of them has proven it yet. The total chaos that is DEN's DL acquisitions over the last 7 years will show you just how miserably variable the talent they have acquired has fared. To expect anyhting at this point would be clueless homerism.

outdoor_miner
08-05-2009, 07:58 AM
eh...his answers are fair, but that sounds like "job security" type answers to me...

he wants to still have a job in case the D sucks this year...

quite frankly, i can't blame him for it...but i'd like to hear more confidence from our DC than that...

FYI - The actual interview where these quotes were pulled from is available at the Broncos website under the Audio/Video section (it's a pretty long interview - over 10 minutes):

http://www.denverbroncos.com/page.php?id=609

I actually liked the interview when I watched it yesterday... Krieger sort of picked out the quotes that reflect the uncertainty... In the actual interview, I thought Nolan sounded confident that they would be able to get the job done; but he did acknowledge the inexperience in the DL.

Gcver2ver3
08-05-2009, 08:03 AM
FYI - The actual interview where these quotes were pulled from is available at the Broncos website under the Audio/Video section (it's a pretty long interview - over 10 minutes):

http://www.denverbroncos.com/page.php?id=609

I actually liked the interview when I watched it yesterday... Krieger sort of picked out the quotes that reflect the uncertainty... In the actual interview, I thought Nolan sounded confident that they would be able to get the job done; but he did acknowledge the inexperience in the DL.

fair enough...

i'm not going to listen to it, but i'll take your for it...

Gcver2ver3
08-05-2009, 08:11 AM
The thing is, any DC in the league with the unknown talent level on the front seven DEN has, should say the same thing.

To expect anyhting at this point would be clueless homerism.

i wouldn't go that far...

if we expect the players to come in confident then we should set the same standard for the coaches...

if he doesn't believe that with his scheme/coaching that he can put a competitive product on the field then he doesn't need to be here...

the talent level is unproven no doubt, but he has to show confidence (esp publicly) in his guys that they can compete right away...nothing wrong with the "we have a long way to go" cliches...but don't leave out the "i wouldn't be here if i didn't believe my guys could get it done" comments as well...

in all fairness, some other poster says that Nolan's positive comments were mostly left out...

i have faith in Nolan...i think he'll get it done, and i believe he'll have a competitive defense on the field, maybe not dominant, but competitive...

Tombstone RJ
08-05-2009, 08:16 AM
Eh, this basically confirms what we all have been saying since Nolan was hired: we just don't know how good or bad the defensive line will be and we won't know until they play a few games.

My hope is that a guy like Powell will rise to the top and be an impact player.

broncofan2438
08-05-2009, 08:19 AM
Well, this is really encouraging for the fans. Thanks Nolan and the denver post for again making us feel like this defense is crap again!

colonelbeef
08-05-2009, 08:21 AM
eh...his answers are fair, but that sounds like "job security" type answers to me...

he wants to still have a job in case the D sucks this year...

quite frankly, i can't blame him for it...but i'd like to hear more confidence from our DC than that...

That is exactly what we are going to get with a rook HC and new coordinators and position coaches all over the place... with a HOF HC brimming with job security, the long term plans were confidently put into place without fear of immediate repercussions. With this new crew, they will constantly be angling to protect themselves first, just like in most NFL cities.

outdoor_miner
08-05-2009, 08:30 AM
That is exactly what we are going to get with a rook HC and new coordinators and position coaches all over the place... with a HOF HC brimming with job security, the long term plans were confidently put into place without fear of immediate repercussions. With this new crew, they will constantly be angling to protect themselves first, just like in most NFL cities.

Man - I don't know about that. Every single quote I've heard from McDaniels speaks to his desire (and expectation) to win now. He has not offerred a single quote to my knowledge stating that it will "take time", or that anyone should have lowered expectations. He has cited Atlanta and Miami numerous times as to teams that were expected to do poorly and still made the playoffs.

Furthermore, I would argue that many of his moves have been made with the expectation of winning sooner rather than later; the Alphonso Smith trade being at the top of the list. I would also say the veteran acquisitions in the secondary and not drafting a QB to "groom" for the future indicate that McDaniels is not trying to spin a rebuild.

Just my 2 cents.

Gcver2ver3
08-05-2009, 08:30 AM
That is exactly what we are going to get with a rook HC and new coordinators and position coaches all over the place... with a HOF HC brimming with job security, the long term plans were confidently put into place without fear of immediate repercussions. With this new crew, they will constantly be angling to protect themselves first, just like in most NFL cities.

actually McD has been quite confident about his team's chances and his offense in interviews/press conferences...

he says he expects his offense to score a lot of points...he says he's never lost at any level and doesn't look to do so now....McD is very confident and i think he's spreading that throughout his players and coaches...

Gcver2ver3
08-05-2009, 08:31 AM
Man - I don't know about that. Every single quote I've heard from McDaniels speaks to his desire (and expectation) to win now. He has not offerred a single quote to my knowledge stating that it will "take time", or that anyone should have lowered expectations. He has cited Atlanta and Miami numerous times as to teams that were expected to do poorly and still made the playoffs.


Just my 2 cents.

you beat me to it by mere seconds on the clock...:thumbsup:...

outdoor_miner
08-05-2009, 08:36 AM
you beat me to it by mere seconds on the clock...:thumbsup:...

haha - I'm glad I finally won one. I've been making similar posts just after others all week. ;)

Kaylore
08-05-2009, 08:43 AM
I think it will take a few seasons to get this thing where Nolan wants it.

TonyR
08-05-2009, 08:58 AM
... with a HOF HC brimming with job security, the long term plans were confidently put into place without fear of immediate repercussions. With this new crew, they will constantly be angling to protect themselves first, just like in most NFL cities.

Maybe, but how did those "long term plans" work out? Weren't the Bates and Slowik debacles enough to show you that perhaps Shanny didn't know what he was doing on D?

As for the "new crew" protecting themselves, isn't that what Shanny did by firing Robinson, Rhodes, Coyer, and Bates? It was all their faults, right?

gyldenlove
08-05-2009, 09:19 AM
Well, this is really encouraging for the fans. Thanks Nolan and the denver post for again making us feel like this defense is crap again!

Don't look now, but I think they expected that most fans had enough brain cells to figure out that a defense that sucked epicly last year and hasn't upgraded much is probably going to not be very good this year.

My advice to you is take 4 valium, wash them down with some johnny red lable and you will forget all about this little incident and you can go back to imagining that we are super bowl contenders again.

Mediator12
08-05-2009, 09:21 AM
I think it will take a few seasons to get this thing where Nolan wants it.

Absolutely. This defense is not going to scare or stop anyone routinely if the DL is inconsistent or average. They might be another version of Coyer's bend but do not break in the 30 front scheme at best. In fact, that is exactly what I think they will do. Do just enought to keep the offense from not getting behind early.

In order to win, you must be able to rush the passer and contain the run. That all starts up front. This group could be average if they can grasp the concepts and execute them. That is the most you can hope for at this point. If they can do that, the defense should be average at worst. If they can be better, then they could be above average right away, but i think the chances of that are very slim.

LonghornBronco
08-05-2009, 09:31 AM
In my opinion, if he shows marginal improvement the job is his to keep. I like Nolen and think he will do a good job. The talent is hard too find, but it's there and raw.

I think we could be avg but the following players have to play up to or above expectations.
Alphonso Smith
Robert Ayers
Markus Thomas

Gcver2ver3
08-05-2009, 09:33 AM
In my opinion, if he shows marginal improvement the job is his to keep. I like Nolen and think he will do a good job. The talent is hard too find, but it's there and raw.

I think we could be avg but the following players have to play up to or above expectations.
Alphonso Smith
Robert Ayers
Markus Thomas

we may be able to throw Tim Crowder into that pool of names...

NFLBRONCO
08-05-2009, 09:33 AM
FINALLY HONESTY AND REALITY on the talent on this team it has alot of work ahead how refreshing. Unless Nolan gets HC job I would hope he stays to rebuild this thing I don't think McD is that dumb to blame Nolan in 1 yr.

Tombstone RJ
08-05-2009, 09:39 AM
This is the season where Nolan proves he's a superior coach. Everyone knows the defensive line is (for all intents and purposes) a liability.

When you don't have talent, you have to win by superior execution.

NFLBRONCO
08-05-2009, 09:39 AM
I think it will take a few seasons to get this thing where Nolan wants it.


Maybe it will wake up a few more fans that it will take this regime a few years to get it the way they want it. Not be blind and expect unrealistic things with limited resources. Even if I hated McD like alot here do I wouldn't let my hatred mask the reality of the lack of talent that is here in tons of spots and not expect major improvements overnight.

azbroncfan
08-05-2009, 09:55 AM
Wow, that is the first time anyone in the media asked about the talent on the front seven and got honest answers! That is a perfect recap of the failings of those defenses. You need talent along the DL to play any scheme in the NFL, we saw what happens when you do not have it.....

I thought it was a coaching issue Med. JK There have been a lot of people here claiming it was just coaching and not a talent issue. I think it was both though. Players make coaches and coaches can elevate the talent in my opinion.

DarkHorse30
08-05-2009, 10:03 AM
Why would Nolan predict anything? There is no point in raising hopes after last year, because they are automatically raised by themselves......just by changing coaches.

Houshyamama
08-05-2009, 10:06 AM
Please, please, please, please, please, pleeeeeaaaase can we draft a nose tackle next year? I know it's a bad idea to draft for a certain position in a certain spot, but I hope the gods of the draft shine down upon us and we are gifted with a real nose tackle.

please

BroncoMan4ever
08-05-2009, 10:12 AM
The thing is, any DC in the league with the unknown talent level on the front seven DEN has, should say the same thing. Practice film is not the same as game film, and this Front is woefully inexperienced and could be totally devoid of any playmakers. The preseason will give you some indication, but really it will be weeks 3-4 that tell the tale about how decent this DL will be.

None of the players on this DL are a given NFL starter. Sure, some may be, but not one of them has proven it yet. The total chaos that is DEN's DL acquisitions over the last 7 years will show you just how miserably variable the talent they have acquired has fared. To expect anyhting at this point would be clueless homerism.

i agree, i just have it set in my mind, that even with a complete overhaul, as many as 8 new starters on defense, that we can't be as bad as last season. The coaching staff has been majorly upgraded, and that alone should be capable of making the defense at least a little better

meangene
08-05-2009, 10:14 AM
The coaching staff has been consistent in saying that we have some young, big talented guys up front but they lack NFL game experience. So, while they like the talent, there are alot of unknowns. With the linebackers, we have a number of guys transitioning from the DL to OLB so you never know how well, or if, they can make that transition. That's just being honest - doesn't mean that we will suck on D, or even that we won't show vast improvement over last year. It all depends on how these young guys develop. I kind of like an OLB group of Doom, Crowder and Ayers based on the early returns. The secondary looks solid and deep. Who knows? I think better coaching alone improves the defense to some extent. I am cautiously optimistic that this will be a respectable defense this year.