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baja
09-25-2009, 08:22 AM
Veteran group building bonds in Broncos secondary
(AP) 15 hours ago
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. Josh McDaniels' decision to blow up the Denver Broncos' porous secondary and rebuild it through an influx of free agents has benefited the team through tighter coverage and a tightening bond among its defensive backs.
The first-year Broncos coach brought in safeties Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill, along with cornerback Andre Goodman, leaving eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey, who was injured much of last season, as the lone holdover.
The foursome has a combined 42 years of NFL experience playing for 11 different teams but the group has come together to be at the center of Denver's defensive turnaround in the opening weeks of the season.
Going into Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders, the Broncos, who allowed 448 points last season and ranked at or near the bottom of virtually every major defensive category, lead the league in scoring defense (6.5 points per game). They also have the AFC's best turnover ratio, generating five takeaways (three interceptions and two fumbles) to one giveaway (fumbled kickoff).
Dawkins, who became one of the league's premier safeties during his first 13 seasons, all in Philadelphia, said the communication among the secondary, from practice to adjustments made in the heat of a game have been central to the unit's budding chemistry and solidified play.
<b>"The communication back there is some of the best that I have been a part of," Dawkins said. "The way that we talk in the back end makes the game that much easier. Each one of us, we each study film and we may pick up different things throughout the course of a week. If one of us sees something, we let everybody else know and correct things on the sideline.
"That is one of the things that people don't realize. They say that we are a veteran group, but we are a veteran group with talent. All of us can play ball. It is exciting to be able to line up and look to the left and right of me and see the playmaking potential we have back there."</b>
McDaniels said the foursome's level of experience and the players' willingness to engage one another and embrace the challenge of coming together to forge a viable secondary convinced him early on that the radical makeover carried low risks and the potential for major rewards.
The more forceful, together play by the secondary is grounded in a common thread, according to <b>Bailey.
"We have the attitude that we want to win and we're going to do whatever it takes," Bailey said. "Our chemistry has definitely come along faster than expected. We understand each other. We're veterans, so we don't expect anything else."</b>
The challenge now is to keep it going against the Raiders, who have two fleet-footed rookies starting at wide receiver in Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy, along with strong-armed if sometimes inaccurate quarterback in JaMarcus Russell.
"They've got speed, young, fresh legs and a quarterback who can really fling it," Bailey said. "We know he's capable of putting points on the board and getting the ball downfield."
Notes: Wide receiver Brandon Marshall returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's session because of illness. Wide receiver Brandon Stokley resumed practicing on a limited basis after missing Wednesday's practice because of a thigh injury.

BroncoInSkinland
09-25-2009, 08:53 AM
Good to hear they are communicating effectively. I had concerns that with that many stars there could be a one lion, one hill type problem, but I should have known these guys are consumate proffessionals. Love our DB's right now, I hope we get another year or two out of all of them, and that they teach the rookies (read Alphonso Smith) what excellence is all about.

Smiling Assassin27
09-25-2009, 09:04 AM
I'm anxious to see how well they lead when the team goes through some adversity. i don't doubt they'll come through. Hopefully, Bruton, McBath, Smith, and JMFW are following them around everywhere with a pad, paper, and video camera.

Popcorn Sutton
09-25-2009, 09:18 AM
I know everybody was hoping the Broncos would do more with the front 7 this offseason and were scratching their heads on why they focused so much on the secondary.

I kept quiet about it because I for one believed that an improved secondary could bring about changes up front. By adding some help at Safety and allowing for more single coverages the front 7 can afford to rush and blitz more.

I don't pretend to know exactly what the Broncos were thinking in the draft and free agency but I was willing to give Nolan and McDaniels the benefit of the doubt. It's yet to be seen how this defense holds up against Dallas, Pitt, SD etc. but it's hard to argue that there hasn't been improvement.

gyldenlove
09-25-2009, 09:53 AM
The secondary looks much improved, especially the S position which was rubbish last year. Dawkins brings a swagger and leadership and talentlevel that we haven't had since the first years of John Lynch or maybe even going all the way back to Atwater.

I have to say, the LB position to me is more improved than the secondary though. Last year Webster looked completely out of place and Boss Bailey never really fit in at that SLB position. This year our linebackers are tackling better, they are more aggressive at the line, they are moving much better and they are making plays instead of making dances. I am lowing the addition of Andra Davis who has really brought back images of Al Wilson being aggressive and leading, I think we can all agree that Dumervil has been a pleasant surprise and a mix of Ayers, Reid, Haggan have done well enough.

The big thing about this D is that they seem to be playing to their strengths. Nolan and Mcdaniels have really devised something that seems to work.

baja
09-25-2009, 10:34 AM
I know everybody was hoping the Broncos would do more with the front 7 this offseason and were scratching their heads on why they focused so much on the secondary.

I kept quiet about it because I for one believed that an improved secondary could bring about changes up front. By adding some help at Safety and allowing for more single coverages the front 7 can afford to rush and blitz more.

<b>I don't pretend to know exactly what the Broncos were thinking in the draft and free agency but I was willing to give Nolan and McDaniels the benefit of the doubt. </b> It's yet to be seen how this defense holds up against Dallas, Pitt, SD etc. but it's hard to argue that there hasn't been improvement.

I think the organization did an excellent job of cherry picking for value in free agency. We got players where we needed players. What I like is we did not try to fill our D line needs with just another name free agent but we made the priority of acquiring smart dedicated football players. I love the way McDaniels is building this team.

ScottXray
09-25-2009, 11:00 AM
i think the organization did an excellent job of cherry picking for value in free agency. We got players where we needed players. What i like is we did not try to fill our d line needs with just another name free agent but we made the priority of acquiring smart dedicated football players. I love the way mcdaniels is building this team.

+1

baja
09-25-2009, 11:03 AM
Broncos' 3-4 D makes strides
Defense among league leaders
by Pat Graham
AP Sports Writer
Article Last Updated; Friday, September 25, 2009 2:50AM
ENGLEWOOD - Inheriting a Denver Broncos defense in complete disarray, Josh McDaniels decided to junk it soon after taking over as head coach.

No patches, salvage jobs or quick fixes, just throw the scheme out and start over.

"We just said, 'All right, we're going in that direction regardless,'" McDaniels said Monday.

Now, the Broncos defense is back on the road to respectability. The unit is among the league leaders in points allowed (6.5) and yards per game (253.5).

"We've done some good things, but we've also made some mistakes we need to fix," McDaniels said. "There's a learning curve, certainly."

But it's already a far cry from years past. The defense under Mike Shanahan had become a detriment, ultimately costing him his job.

When McDaniels came in, the first thing he did was give that side of the ball a complete makeover. He hired Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator and - after studying the players he had on the roster - implemented a new 3-4 formation.

Then they brought in the pieces that could make the scheme work, players like linebacker Andra Davis and stout defensive linemen such as Ronald Fields, Le Kevin Smith and the recently signed Vonnie Holliday.

Davis has been an instant fit, keeping things under control in the middle. He leads the team with 19 tackles, including 10 in a win over his former team, the Cleveland Browns, on Sunday.

"He studies as much or more than anybody else on our team," McDaniels said. "He does a great job of showing our younger players how to practice, how to prepare."

Elvis Dumervil is certainly taking note. He's also starting to adapt to his new responsibilities - and to think he wasn't sure if he would.

A defensive lineman all his life, Dumervil initially balked at becoming an outside linebacker in this system.

Something clicked Sunday, as Dumervil tied a team record with four sacks.

"I still have a lot to learn," Dumervil said. "But I feel like I am going in the right direction."

With his leverage and long arms, Dumervil presents problems for offensive linemen. He blitzed by the Browns, pressuring Brady Quinn all afternoon. He also stripped the ball from Joshua Cribbs on a short pass.

"He's just a relentless pass rusher," Champ Bailey said. "He's one of the best I've seen, and I've played with some great ones. He never stops, his motor is always going.

"Boy, if they held the ball for one second too long, he was there."

The Broncos' revamped secondary certainly gave the defensive line plenty of time to pursue Quinn, keeping close tabs on Cleveland's receivers.

In Nolan's opinion, that experienced secondary is a big reason the Broncos are off to a 2-0 start.

But that's why the Broncos brought in the group of grizzled veterans. The 30-somethings include Brian Dawkins (35), Andre' Goodman (31) and Renaldo Hill (30), who join Bailey to form quite a defensive backfield.

Just don't bring up their ages.

"People say we're old guys," said Dawkins, who's in his 14th year. "No, we have talent. We trust one another ... One of the greatest things on this defense is accountability. We're very accountable for not making mistakes to cause a big play."

The defense also is producing takeaways, something they've struggled to do in the past.

Through two games, Denver already has recovered two fumbles and intercepted three passes.

"We have done a lot of great things," Dumervil said. "But to be great, you have got to know what you are doing wrong."

No worry, Nolan definitely will let them know.

So far, though, he likes what he sees.

"We've started to build some confidence," Nolan said. "When the players have confidence in it, then it starts to breed its own success."

Last season, the Broncos experimented with the 3-4 formation, flashing the look in several games, but the team never fully converted over from their four-man front.

"The 3-4 they played last year was more of a hybrid, gimmicky type of deal," McDaniels said. "I don't really think it created much success when they played it anyway."

That's why McDaniels decided to overhaul the defensive structure this season, resisting the temptation to gradually phase in a new look.

"We are far from perfect, but we are playing good enough defense right now to give ourselves a chance," McDaniels said.

Houshyamama
09-25-2009, 11:35 AM
What a difference two wins makes in the attitude around here

baja
09-25-2009, 11:39 AM
What a difference two wins makes in the attitude around here

Wait till we are 5 and 0 even Mock will let go of Bevus.

Houshyamama
09-25-2009, 11:45 AM
Wait till we are 5 and 0 even Mock will let go of Bevus.

If we go 5-0 this board will be collectively crapping its pants in happiness. Everyone will have thought it was a great idea to dump Shanahan and that Cutler Pro-bowler/Loser. I love the NFL.

baja
09-25-2009, 11:57 AM
If we go 5-0 this board will be collectively crapping its pants in happiness. Everyone will have thought it was a great idea to dump Shanahan and that Cutler Pro-bowler/Loser. I love the NFL.

Yep it'll be Kyle this and Josh that..... LOL

Beantown Bronco
09-25-2009, 12:20 PM
If the Broncos were to start off 5-0, I'd stop everything I was doing and grab 5 or 6 of my closest friends, a video camera, and the loneliest looking ottoman I could find and start going to town on that thing.

baja
09-25-2009, 12:25 PM
If the Broncos were to start off 5-0, I'd stop everything I was doing and grab 5 or 6 of my closest friends, a video camera, and the loneliest looking ottoman I could find and start going to town on that thing.

We'll expect pictures than.

tsiguy96
09-25-2009, 12:27 PM
If we go 5-0 this board will be collectively crapping its pants in happiness. Everyone will have thought it was a great idea to dump Shanahan and that Cutler Pro-bowler/Loser. I love the NFL.

yep. media will act like nothing in the past happened and that the entire time they praised mcdaniels. guaranteed.

Los Broncos
09-25-2009, 12:45 PM
5-0 would cure everything around here, but for some reason I still think people would find something to bitch about.

gunns
09-25-2009, 01:03 PM
The secondary looks much improved, especially the S position which was rubbish last year. Dawkins brings a swagger and leadership and talentlevel that we haven't had since the first years of John Lynch or maybe even going all the way back to Atwater.



Agree with your post. I will say that the safety position has been rubbish since Atwater. Lynch beefed it up a little, did bring leadership, and we got more contribution with Lynch but it still wasn't a position that seemed to have "swagger" to it. It was the secondary as a whole, except when Champ was excelling. While I'll agree the DL, primarily the pass rush, needs to be in place to help out the secondary, I've always said we'd see improvement with a good, consistent safety also. I hope it is what it seems to be.

errand
09-25-2009, 04:40 PM
What a difference two wins makes in the attitude around here

..except with certains "fans" who actually seem like they're pissed we're 2-0

baja
09-25-2009, 04:43 PM
..except with certains "fans" who actually seem like they're pissed we're 2-0

I see widows not posting but I can't say I've seen anyone dissapointed we are undefeated.

cutthemdown
09-25-2009, 08:10 PM
one thing is curious IMO. Not one media person has dared to say Maybe Pats offense not that great because Mcdaneils not calling plays anymore.

I haven't even heard Brady asked if he misses Mcdaniels being in his ear.

Is it me or is that strange. Those are like the first questions usually asked when a coordinater leaves and the team struggles.

baja
09-25-2009, 08:14 PM
one thing is curious IMO. Not one media person has dared to say Maybe Pats offense not that great because Mcdaneils not calling plays anymore.

I haven't even heard Brady asked if he misses Mcdaniels being in his ear.

Is it me or is that strange. Those are like the first questions usually asked when a coordinater leaves and the team struggles.

They only ask when they know it's not true They are not asking because they are scared to death it IS true.

baja
09-25-2009, 08:16 PM
Oh and I think it's true. We scored big when we got McD Thanks Pat, you fearless darling.

errand
09-26-2009, 05:55 AM
5-0 would cure everything around here, but for some reason I still think people would find something to b**** about.

....exactly. People like Rastaman, and the others will most certainly find something, if not anything to bitch about. amazing how the Broncos winning football games brings out the worst of some fans.

Majik
09-26-2009, 08:46 AM
one thing is curious IMO. Not one media person has dared to say Maybe Pats offense not that great because Mcdaneils not calling plays anymore.

I haven't even heard Brady asked if he misses Mcdaniels being in his ear.

Is it me or is that strange. Those are like the first questions usually asked when a coordinater leaves and the team struggles.

I've been thinking that too.

elsid13
09-26-2009, 09:08 AM
one thing is curious IMO. Not one media person has dared to say Maybe Pats offense not that great because Mcdaneils not calling plays anymore.

I haven't even heard Brady asked if he misses Mcdaniels being in his ear.

Is it me or is that strange. Those are like the first questions usually asked when a coordinater leaves and the team struggles.

It has more to do with crappy line play and a still recovering Brady, then does with McDaniels not being there.

Cito Pelon
09-26-2009, 09:17 AM
I know everybody was hoping the Broncos would do more with the front 7 this offseason and were scratching their heads on why they focused so much on the secondary.

I kept quiet about it because I for one believed that an improved secondary could bring about changes up front. By adding some help at Safety and allowing for more single coverages the front 7 can afford to rush and blitz more.

I don't pretend to know exactly what the Broncos were thinking in the draft and free agency but I was willing to give Nolan and McDaniels the benefit of the doubt. It's yet to be seen how this defense holds up against Dallas, Pitt, SD etc. but it's hard to argue that there hasn't been improvement.

Ya, people kept saying the front 7 had to be the focus or bust, but the secondary was bad last year and in fact that was why Denver led the NFL in 20+ plays, 30+ plays, 40+ plays. Sometimes guys are gonna get through the front 7 and the back 4 have to get to them to keep the long gains down.

And that's what we're seeing now - the back four get to the ballcarrier fast if the front 7 are taken out. They get to the ball fast, period, with good angles and sure tackles.

I thought it was a smart move and I think it's paying dividends. Not to mention the 3 rookie DB's get to learn from a good solid group of vets.

Also, it's not like the front 7 was not addressed. Andra Davis was a solid pickup and we got bigger/younger/quicker on the front 4. All considered, those saying the D was not addressed in a positive way were not thinking clearly. But you knew that.

Cito Pelon
09-26-2009, 09:34 AM
I think the organization did an excellent job of cherry picking for value in free agency. We got players where we needed players. What I like is we did not try to fill our D line needs with just another name free agent but we made the priority of acquiring smart dedicated football players. I love the way McDaniels is building this team.

Agreed.

fdf
09-26-2009, 11:05 AM
Agree with your post. I will say that the safety position has been rubbish since Atwater. Lynch beefed it up a little, did bring leadership, and we got more contribution with Lynch but it still wasn't a position that seemed to have "swagger" to it. It was the secondary as a whole, except when Champ was excelling. While I'll agree the DL, primarily the pass rush, needs to be in place to help out the secondary, I've always said we'd see improvement with a good, consistent safety also. I hope it is what it seems to be.

Well, there was the great Eric Brown.

BroncoInSkinland
09-26-2009, 12:13 PM
Ya, people kept saying the front 7 had to be the focus or bust, but the secondary was bad last year and in fact that was why Denver led the NFL in 20+ plays, 30+ plays, 40+ plays. Sometimes guys are gonna get through the front 7 and the back 4 have to get to them to keep the long gains down.

And that's what we're seeing now - the back four get to the ballcarrier fast if the front 7 are taken out. They get to the ball fast, period, with good angles and sure tackles.

I thought it was a smart move and I think it's paying dividends. Not to mention the 3 rookie DB's get to learn from a good solid group of vets.

Also, it's not like the front 7 was not addressed. Andra Davis was a solid pickup and we got bigger/younger/quicker on the front 4. All considered, those saying the D was not addressed in a positive way were not thinking clearly. But you knew that.

I was one of those saying the D was not addressed properly, and I maintain that is still the case. I love the DB's and what Nolan is doing with them, but would still like to see some focus up front. Doom is doing a great job of getting pressure on the QB from the outside, and the line has done good enough thus far, but when we hit a good O-Line with an accurate QB we will see how the D does. I continue to maintain for the long term it is vital for us to get quality players on the line. It is possible they saw no one in the draft who they wanted this year, but if we really want to be a defense oriented team, the kind that wins playoff football games, we will need to get some star FA's on the front 3 or deal with it in the draft. I think that we will need to get pressure up the middle at some point, and I am still not convinced we can. All that being said, Nolan is working wonders with what he has, and very well make me look like an idiot at the end of the season (I know go ahead and spike it I set it up for you). It's ok, I have looked like an idiot before, and I am sure it will happen again, I just doubt it will be on this issue. Besides if I do look like an idiot it means we have a kick ass defense and that will make any sting from being wrong feel just fine. They look damned good so far, and if they keep it up against the meat of our schedule I will be happy to take my serving of crow.

d bronx42
09-26-2009, 01:06 PM
Why don't we worry about going 3-0 before we go 5-0...

Cito Pelon
09-26-2009, 01:14 PM
I was one of those saying the D was not addressed properly, and I maintain that is still the case. I love the DB's and what Nolan is doing with them, but would still like to see some focus up front. Doom is doing a great job of getting pressure on the QB from the outside, and the line has done good enough thus far, but when we hit a good O-Line with an accurate QB we will see how the D does. I continue to maintain for the long term it is vital for us to get quality players on the line. It is possible they saw no one in the draft who they wanted this year, but if we really want to be a defense oriented team, the kind that wins playoff football games, we will need to get some star FA's on the front 3 or deal with it in the draft. I think that we will need to get pressure up the middle at some point, and I am still not convinced we can. All that being said, Nolan is working wonders with what he has, and very well make me look like an idiot at the end of the season (I know go ahead and spike it I set it up for you). It's ok, I have looked like an idiot before, and I am sure it will happen again, I just doubt it will be on this issue. Besides if I do look like an idiot it means we have a kick ass defense and that will make any sting from being wrong feel just fine. They look damned good so far, and if they keep it up against the meat of our schedule I will be happy to take my serving of crow.

I'm saying bolstering the back 4 was the smart move in the offseason. I'm not gonna bag on the front 7. I thought there was good holdovers for the front 7, and they made some good acquisitions for the front 7. The front 7 have looked pretty good through preseason and the first two games against the run and the short passing game, and that's what they're supposed to do.

This is a good D. They swarm to the ballcarrier, get off blocks well, take good angles, fill lanes, make sure openfield tackles, put pressure on the passer, limit points, don't panic. That's the definition of a good D.

Beantown Bronco
10-11-2009, 09:34 PM
If the Broncos were to start off 5-0, I'd stop everything I was doing and grab 5 or 6 of my closest friends, a video camera, and the loneliest looking ottoman I could find and start going to town on that thing.

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Bronx33
10-11-2009, 09:36 PM
priceless...

BroncoInSkinland
10-12-2009, 04:46 AM
I'm saying bolstering the back 4 was the smart move in the offseason. I'm not gonna bag on the front 7. I thought there was good holdovers for the front 7, and they made some good acquisitions for the front 7. The front 7 have looked pretty good through preseason and the first two games against the run and the short passing game, and that's what they're supposed to do.

This is a good D. They swarm to the ballcarrier, get off blocks well, take good angles, fill lanes, make sure openfield tackles, put pressure on the passer, limit points, don't panic. That's the definition of a good D.

You were right, my concerns about the front 7 were way off base. Nolan is an absolute genius, and the players have the skill to make his vision happen in reality. It's good to be a Broncos fan. Best tasting crow EVER. ;D

cutthemdown
10-12-2009, 05:23 AM
It has more to do with crappy line play and a still recovering Brady, then does with McDaniels not being there.

The play calling just doesn't seem as timely anymore for pats.

Mcdaniels IMO just has the it factor.

I really think this is like getting a 30 yr old shanny all over again. Different personalities, but same in sense they are young, and coming from a really successful organization. Both already respected play callers by the time they get Broncos job.

Also though you are probably right that its not just that. Like most things its usually a combination that leads to success or failure. True in life, true in sports.

Go Broncos.