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dragondawg
12-04-2009, 02:30 AM
By Jeff Legwold
The Denver Post

I'm not sure you could go so far as to say 30 is the new 20 or anything, but the Broncos have certainly made the most thus far of their decision to go with experience over youth in the secondary this season.

The Broncos opened the season believed to be the only team in the league with four starters in their defensive backfield who were at least 30 years old. While that prospect would give hives to some personnel folks around the league, the Broncos liked the idea of experience, savvy and proven track records as they assembled that part of their defense.

Safety Brian Dawkins and cornerback André Goodman were even among their first signings in free agency.

And so far so good, as the four have started all 11 games heading into Sunday's affair in Kansas City. That streak could be in jeopardy this week if Dawkins' ankle injury continues to flare up.

Dawkins was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday.

In Champ Bailey's time with the Broncos, he has seen the team struggle to find the right combination in the secondary and has seen the revolving door at safety last season — and even the troubles at cornerback at times.

And he says in today's league, in which the offensive numbers seem to grow each year as more teams throw more passes, the market for experience may actually improve.

He may be on to something with so many receivers in the pattern running short and intermediate routes in offenses now trying to handle ball-control duties with the passing game. So missed assignments, rather than receivers simply sprinting deep, may be the biggest fear for any secondary in the current landscape.

A lot of the action now takes place in a confined space on the field where three- and four-wide-receiver offenses are running pick plays or just trying to get a defensive back to pick the wrong guy to cover with an overload to one side of the field. And the secondary that can limit those blown coverages will have a better chance to succeed.

Because of all that, Bailey said he likes the idea of playing alongside the 31-year-old Goodman, who is in his eighth year in the league.

"When I played with young corners, I was always concerned about how they're doing, how they're reacting to things and how they're holding up," Bailey said. "But (Goodman) is very professional, very experienced, I don't have to worry about it. He's even-keel, and I like that about him."

In the last seven games, the Broncos haven't surrendered a pass longer than 36 yards, and they have allowed just three touchdown passes of 20 yards or longer all season — a 20-yarder to Baltimore's Derrick Mason, a 25-yarder to Steelers rookie receiver Mike Wallace and a 35-yarder to Redskins running back Mike Sellers on a fake field goal.

"You have to limit those big plays," Bailey said. "And (against) offenses that throw it quick, anticipation is the difference. If you can study and anticipate, you can always play faster than you are."

http://www.denverpost.com/premium/broncos/ci_13920408

ColoradoDarin
12-04-2009, 05:56 AM
I really think dawkins could be in the hospital on Friday and in the starting lineup on Sunday. You got to bury that guy to keep him off the field. Best F/A signing.